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What Jobs Require Attention to Detail?

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While all jobs require some degree of attention to detail, some careers require more attentiveness to the small specifics than others. Forgetting to add ketchup to a customer’s hamburger doesn’t carry the same weight as operating on the wrong body part -- or body. In some professions, failing to pay attention to detail may result in errors that are viewed by millions of people and cost millions of dollars to rectify. In other instances, it can pose safety hazards and may result in legal action.

Health Care Professionals

Health care professionals, such as doctors, nurses and pharmacists, need precision and meticulousness when dealing with patients. In these professions, attention to detail can mean the difference between life and death. Medical errors can range from giving patients the wrong medication to performing the wrong medical procedure. According to a 2011 report by PBS NewsHour, the number of dangerous hospital errors has increased at a rapid pace. In 1999, almost 98,000 Americans were susceptible to being killed each year, and another million injured, as a result of hospital errors. However, by 2011, one out of every three people admitted to a hospital experienced some type of adverse effect, but this number may be low, because Utah researchers revealed that 90 percent of hospital errors are actually not reported.

Writers and Editors

Writer and editors are responsible for books, newspapers, magazines and Internet articles, in addition to other types of material. When they use the wrong words, the results are awkward communication and misconstrued meanings. For example, there’s a difference between being a “detective” on the police force and being “defective” on the police force. There’s also a difference between a police “force,” and a police “farce.” The American Copy Editors Society reports the results of a 2013 study by Fred Vultee of Wayne State University, which discovers that print and Internet news readers don’t care if the word “road” is abbreviated or if a sentence begins with a number. However, they notice -- and don’t like to see – misspelled and misused words. They also notice consistency errors, such as spelling a person’s name different ways throughout the article.

Accountants and Auditors

Accountants, auditors and other financial workers handle an organization’s financial records, which include budgets, tax returns and balance sheets, in addition to recommending ways to reduce costs and operate more efficiently. These jobs require a high level of detail, since one misplaced zero can mean the difference between $100,000 and $1 million dollars. In addition to dollar discrepancies, misapplying accounting principles can also cause a company to be out of compliance with financial regulations, which may result in steep fines.

Film and Video Editors

Film and video footage is often shot out of sequence, and editors must sort through anywhere from dozens of hours to hundreds of hours of footage, choosing the right camera shots and ensuring they are placed in logical order. Film and video editors also need a discerning eye to check for such inconsistencies as cellphone or laptop usage in a movie that is set in the 1960s, since all of these errors can undermine a film's credibility. According to Movie Mistakes, some of the "best" movie mistakes include a Porsche wrecked on the left side in the movie, “Commando”; however, when the star later drives off, the car is unwrecked. In “Spider Man,” two men attempting to mug Mary Jane are thrown through two windows, but when the camera shot goes back to Mary Jane, the two windows are intact.

Carpenters and Construction Workers

“Measure twice, cut once” is a mantra of many carpenters and construction workers, which underscores the importance of verifying the accuracy of measurements before taking action. Whether they’re constructing a cabinet or a building, applying crown molding to a living room or installing windows, even small mistakes can create problems. For example, erroneous measurements can result in gaps around windows and doors, unevenness, and not enough room for kitchen appliances to fit in designated places. On a larger scale, installing walls or building concrete forms in the wrong location can create serious and expensive repair problems in shopping malls, hospital, schools, bridges and tunnels.


Terri Williams began writing professionally in 1997, working with a large nonprofit organization. Her articles have appeared in various online publications including Yahoo, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report University Directory, and the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago. Williams has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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