Introducing yourself in a dozen words can be quite a struggle, especially when you need to do so on a resume or during a job interview. All of a sudden, you may find yourself at a loss for words to describe yourself, no matter how prepared you are.
However, action speaks louder than words, and so does your CV. You need to impress a recruiter or hiring manager and make them believe you’re the right fit for the company. Naturally, job interviews are a perfect opportunity to do this, on condition that you don’t get tongue-tied.
Still, presenting yourself in the best light possible doesn’t need to be a struggle. With our list of 100+ words to describe yourself, you won’t be bereft of speech ever again!
- Once you acquire the best words and phrases, describing yourself will never be tricky again.
- Your resume is crucial for getting a recruiter’s attention. Hence, you should be cautious of words and phrases you use to present your personal traits, skills, and experience.
- Job interviews are a perfect chance to impress a recruiter, provided that you use the right words to answer their questions adequately.
- Regardless of how humorous you are and have no problem making jokes, there are certain words you should never use to present yourself.
37 Best Words to Describe Yourself
“Tell me something about yourself”—a task so simple yet so difficult.
No matter if you’re an extrovert who loves talking about yourself or a shy introvert looking for a perfect job, describing yourself can be tricky. Sometimes, it may seem as if all those perfect words you want to use have fled from your vocabulary.
Surely, you can always say that you’re friendly and easy-going, hard-working, responsible, funny yet serious, ambitious, etc.
The thing here is, though, that all these words are a bit overused. What you seek to do is leave a strong impression on your interlocutor, and to do so, you need expressions that are a bit ‘fancier,’ so to speak.
However, you need to be very careful here. There’s a thin line between using original or unique words to describe your personality and being unrealistic. If you praise or compliment yourself too much, chances are that everyone will feel something is off with you.
So, what are you supposed to do in such situations? To save you from the struggle of figuring this out on your own, we’ve compiled a list of words you can use to describe yourself in everyday situations.
- Socially conscious
31 Words to Describe Yourself on a Resume
According to statistics, an average of 118 candidates apply for the same position. Out of that number, only 20% are invited for an interview. Thankfully, crafting a stellar resume can make you stand out from the other candidates and land the job.
You may think you have more freedom to express and describe yourself when creating a resume. However, this is only partially true. Although you’re not restricted by time, and no one will jump in to interrupt and distract you, you still shouldn’t spill out everything that comes to mind.
Keep in mind that your resume’s length also speaks for you, so you need it to be polished with carefully chosen words to describe yourself.
Here’s a list of the words you can include in your resume:
- Team player
Always have in mind the position you are applying for, as you need to plug in the adjectives that are relevant to it. Also, remember to support what you say with examples whenever possible.
Suppose that you’re applying for the position of Data Entry Specialist. You would want to avoid including statements such as I am motivated, responsible, and cautious. Of course, there is nothing wrong with these expressions. But in this case, they are 1) not relevant, and 2) they don’t show the expertise essential to the position.
A much better way to describe yourself would be as follows:
Motivated and task-driven professional with a strong background in data entry and reception duties, proficient in various data entry software. Fairly meticulous and capable of performing accurate and efficient data entry into the software.
32 Words to Describe Yourself in a Job Interview
“What three words would you use to describe yourself?” or “How would you describe yourself?” are typical questions you can expect to hear during a job interview. Though seemingly pointless, recruiters know very well what they are seeking to discover—whether your skills match the position requirements and if you’re sincere with your answers.
Similarly to a resume, you should mention only the words suitable for the position and back them up with examples of your skills. This way, you will convince the recruiter that you’re telling the truth.
After all, given the fact that only 2% of applicants for an open job position end up being invited for an interview, this should certainly be used as an opportunity to pitch yourself.
Let’s say that you are applying for a teaching position, and you’re asked to use three words to describe yourself. The wrong way to do so is to say: ‘’I am creative, helpful, and tenacious.’’
Instead, it’s more appropriate to go with: ‘’I am creative—in my previous work, I devised an exam preparation technique that drove the students’ success rate by 40%. I am also fairly helpful. I don’t mind filling in for my colleagues whenever necessary or staying after class to answer my students’ questions. Lastly, I’m persistent and passionate about my job. I’ve been working as a teacher for 15 years, and a career change is not something I’m seeking.’’
Some of the best words to use when describing yourself during a job interview are:
42+ Words Not to Use to Describe Yourself
As you might have expected, there are specific expressions that you should avoid using when presenting yourself in a job interview or on a resume. Using negative words to describe yourself is rarely a good idea, but it is an especially bad idea to do so in a professional environment. Even if a recruiter asks you what your greatest weakness is, you should be tactful and mince your words.
The words you shouldn’t use are listed below. Note that these are not necessarily negative in every situation, but they are a bad choice in a professional environment.
- Rock star
- Super funny
You may wonder what could possibly be a problem with those expressions. Some of them are a great choice for a, say, bio in a dating app. But could you imagine yourself saying to a recruiter that you’re a rock star?
The main issue with all these expressions is that they are all buzzwords that everyone is using nowadays. While they do sound cool, they mean very little in practice.
In addition to those buzzwords, here is a list of negative words you should refrain from mentioning as well:
Tips for Describing Yourself in a Professional Environment
Needless to say, describing yourself in a professional environment is vital for leaving a positive impression not only on potential employers but also on colleagues and supervisors. Certainly, sometimes it can be easier said than done, so we provide you with a few tips to help you effectively describe yourself.
#1. Start With an Elevator Pitch
Begin with an elevator pitch—a 30-60 self-introduction where you will highlight your core skills, experiences, and what sets you apart from other candidates. Don’t beat around the bush. Be straightforward and compelling, as your goal is to immediately engage your interlocutors.
#2. Be Concise and Clear
Conveying your skills, achievements, and qualities is more efficient if you stick to clear and concise language. Avoid using modern buzzwords, as they don’t convey much. In addition, refrain from using slang or overly formal and complex words. In the former, you may sound too unprofessional, while in the latter, you may give off a preposterous aura.
#3. Use Positive Language
Highlight your greatest strengths and positive qualities, but don’t forget to back them up with examples. Otherwise, you may give the impression that you’re just showing off.
#4. Emphasize Relevant Skills and Experience
You certainly have many skills, but are they all relevant to the position you are applying for? How are your music skills related to the job of a nurse? Always speak about the skills and experience that have to do with the position in question.
#5. Highlight Transferable Skills
Make sure that you have incorporated transferable skills such as leadership, problem-solving, communication, adaptability, etc. These skills are not only valuable in any professional environment; they also demonstrate your versatility.
#6. Use Action Verbs
Begin your description with action verbs that convey proactivity and accomplishment. The words to use include (but are not limited to) achieved, managed, implemented, led, etc.
#7. Include Your Unique Value Proposition
Identify what makes you unique compared to others. Do you have a specific approach to problem-solving or a genuine combination of skills? Don’t hesitate to bring it up.
#8. Adapt to the Audience
Keep in mind the audience you are addressing when crafting your self-description. Different situations may call for highlighting different aspects of your professional identity.
#9. Be Authentic
It’s essential to be genuine and honest when describing yourself. Making false claims or exaggerating may negatively affect your credibility. For this reason, you should back up your statements with examples whenever necessary.
#10. Be Mindful of Non-Verbal Cues
Don’t forget about non-verbal cues such as tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language. They play a vital role in how others perceive you. Remember to keep eye contact, a confident posture, and a friendly attitude.
#11. Practice Self-Awareness
Think about your strengths and weaknesses, virtues and flaws, and areas that could be improved. Being self-aware may be of great help in coming up with a well-rounded description of yourself.
#12. End with a Call to Action
Finish your self-description with a call to action. Don’t hesitate to express your interest in a prospective collaboration. Invite your audience to ask more questions about your skills, achievements, and expertise. This will encourage further engagement and conversation.
Many more situations require you to carefully consider the choice of words to describe yourself than you may think. A resume, job applications, and job interviews are just a few of them.
However, the quest of describing yourself could be way more challenging than you may have initially thought. The first response that might come to your mind is to go for words like hard-working, funny, flexible, innovative, visionary, creative, successful, etc.
Although there is inherently nothing wrong with these expressions, they don’t provide a lot of important information about you. For this reason, to impress your interlocutor, avoid generic words and phrases. Try to stick to more authentic expressions and back them up with examples. Actions speak louder than words, and so will your skills and expertise!