"How would you describe yourself" is one of the most common questions asked in a job interview. You're pressed to come up with unique and suitable words to describe yourself and paint yourself in the best light in a matter of seconds.
What is the best way to describe yourself as a job applicant?
The best way to describe yourself during a job interview is the way that give concrete examples of what you have done in the last roles or bring your accomplishments to the table. The words you use to describe yourself needs to allow you to show your personal traits and thus sets you apart from other candidates.
Actually, before you are interviewed for a job, you likely have already worked on how to describe yourself. When you write your resume, you carefully select words on it to describe yourself to attract the HR's attention.
Describing yourself, or self-introduction, is never an easy task. To do it well when you're applying for a job, whether it is to describe yourself to the interviewer or to come up with the best words to describe yourself on a resume, is even harder. You may accidentally choose adjectives or phrases that are not positive or professional or talk too much when you're asked to describe yourself in just a few words.
But, worry no more - we’ve got you covered.
In this article, we will cover:
To determine what words to use to describe yourself, whether on a resume or during a social gathering, consider where you're are and who you're talking with. Are you describing yourself to get a job or are you introducing yourself on your socials? Each scenario features a specific audience and therefore different words should be used while you describe yourself.
To describe yourself on resumes or in cover letters, pick descriptive words that emphasize your skills and achievement.
How about describing yourself in a job interview? You might be asked to tell the interviewer about yourself. Or, sometimes, you might be asked to describe yourself in a word, three words or five words. In an interview, you are allowed to elaborate on your answers.
First, pay attention to the question and answer exactly what is asked. Before you start speaking, think of what is the most desired skill or trait for this role. Pick a word or start a short sentence that showcases that you have that skill.
Lastly, if you're writing a professional bio on your social media to attract recruiters. The words you choose can be more casual but still best define yourself and the career path you're taking. Tailor the words in the description about yourself to demonstrate professionalism and abilities by thinking about the general skills and personal traits that are deemed necessary for your career.
Next, once you have a clear audience in mind, decide how you’d like yourself to appear to them and attract them effectively.
For example, if you are being interviewed for an engineering role for which debugging is important, you can choose words that put emphasis on your analytical or problem-solving skills to describe yourself. Then provide a real-life example to elaborate.
Or, if you want to demonstrate your leadership skills effectually in a job interview. Thus, you can choose words to describe yourself like, encouraging, mentoring, and strategic thinking, to directly answer the describe yourself question.
If you expect the audience to be impressed by your communication skills, give them an answer that contains such adjectives as: confident, approachable, and persuasive.
To present yourself as a creative thinker, try to include these phrases in your answer for describing yourself:
📚 Further reading: 10 Leadership Skills & Communication Skills for Your Resume
Be careful when choosing adjectives to describe yourself because many words can have the same meaning but create different impressions. For example, “ambitious” and “aggressive” can both be used to describe someone who wants to achieve a lot. But the word “aggressive” can sometimes give off a wrong impression in certain situations.
Thus, it's particularly important to focus more on the impression that the word creates, not just the meaning. Also, if possible, do research on the company you’re applying to or interviewing at to know their company culture and decide what words are safe to use when you describe yourself—-either on a resume or in an interview.
Just like “doing the right thing at the right time and in the right way”, you need to choose the best way to describe yourself in a particular situation.
Check out the list of words to describe yourself for the 4 different scenarios, as shown below.
|Accomplished||Attention to detail|
While writing your resume, carefully choose words to describe yourself. The words used on a resume to describe you should be effective and shouldn't take up much space as the space on a resume is limited and the recruiter generally doesn't linger too long on a single resume.
Simple adjectives would suffice. The other best words you can describe yourself on a resume are actually statistics. Numbers speak volumes, and they can help the recruiter measure your ability and accomplishment.
Although the whole resume is technically a document that describe you professionally, there are sections that where you can fit in one or two words that help you stand out among a group of candidates. These sections are:
A resume profile is a short bio. You can describe yourself with words that demonstrate the most wanted personal traits in your resume profile, for example, analytical data analyst or passionate leadership.
The Resume summary, or objective, presents you professionally in a couple of sentences, in which a few descriptive words can give the recruiter a clear picture of your ability and accomplishments. You can, for instance, include words like "proven track record" in it and explain the level and scope of your professional achievement.
The work experience is an excellent place to squeeze words to describe yourself to make your resume more appealing as you can detail your work achievement with sentences in it. For example, while describing your success, you can add words like "undertake thorough reviews" or "wisely manage".
In the skills section on your resume, words to describe yourself should allow the recruiter to measure your skills. Simply listing down various skills can be insignificant if you don't describe how well you perform the skill. In this case, words like "advanced programming" can be helpful.
If you're going to have a job interview, be prepared for self-introduction and personal trait questions. Below are the 4 sample answers for the describe yourself question that will help you nail your job interview.
Answer: I would say I'm a great team player. I feel very comfortable working with people and always bring positive energy to the team. I also understand the dynamics of working in a group well to ensure productivity. As a digital marketing specialist, I frequently collaborate with people on both cross-team and inter-team projects. I believe that I have always been able to perform well and connect with every person in my team.
💭 Tip: When asked to define yourself in one word, you shouldn’t just say that word without giving reasons. Instead, make sure you demonstrate that characteristic through a clear explanation or specific examples.
Answer: The first word I would use to describe myself is curious. I love exploring the world out there and researching new things, especially technology. That’s why I decide to pursue a career in IT. I'm also quite flexible. I can multitask with ease and go with the flow even when a situation is out of my control. Lastly, I am very determined and don’t give up easily.
💭 Tip: Keep in mind not to describe yourself in 3 words that contradict each other. For instance, it doesn't make sense if you define yourself as an introvert and an extrovert. What's more, choose three attributes that are most suitable for the job you're applying for.
Answer: If I have to describe myself in 5 words, I would say I am detail-oriented, enthusiastic, self-motivated, creative, and reliable. I love fashion and beauty since I was a kid. So, I never mind putting in some extra effort and even money to make sure the makeup works by me turn out flawless, unique, and deliver a seamless customer experience.
💭 Tip: In this case, it's not necessary to explain all things that describe yourself since it may take a lot of time. However, interviewers would expect to hear words that best embody your personal brand.
Answer: I would say I am innovative, adaptable to change, and goal-driven - someone who is willing to take on difficult challenges and can be relied upon to help an organization achieve its goals.
💭 Tip: If the interviewer asks you this, it means he/she doesn't have a lot of time for this question. Hence, keep your answer for describing yourself as concise and impressive as possible. It's also fine if you mention either only one or a variety of qualities.
Answer: I would describe myself as a persistent person. I don't give up easily when I am faced with challenges. Quite the contrary, I love challenges as I see them as puzzles and solving puzzles is what I am passionate about.
💭 Tip: If asked this question, you can either choose a single word to describ
Using wrong phrases and inappropriate ways to describe yourself can hurt your chances of getting the job. Read on to learn about the sets of words you will need to avoid when talking about yourself.
The following words are commonly picked by most candidates:
You can derive lots of benefits from having such traits in daily life, not just at work. They are good adjectives to describe yourself but not a suitable answer for questions like “describing yourself” in the interview.
These traits are basic and general. They cannot help you provide unique character traits that will resonate with the interviewer and thus stand out from the competition.
It's always great to be honest and stay true to yourself. That being said, some of the words don't have a negative connotation but may give off a wrong impression during a job interview.
Check out the list of words to describe yourself that the audience may not want to hear:
As a job seeker, you need to select professional words to describe yourself so that hiring managers can see whether you will perform well and be a cultural fit in the workplace.
Below are some words that are not suitable for job applications and interviews:
🔑 Key Takeaways:
Now that you may see it is not too hard to find the right words to describe yourself. Let us recap the key points that help you stand out as the best candidate:
Good luck with your job hunting!
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--- Originally written by May Luong ---