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Whether you're wondering how to describe yourself in an interview or writing your resume profile, finding good words to describe yourself can be tricky. You want to be honest but not brutally so. You want to impress but without coming off as narcissistic.

Fortunately, following a few guidelines when choosing the best adjectives to describe yourself can create a great, long-lasting first impression.

Read on to see lists of: 

  • Positive words to describe yourself in any situation
  • The best words to describe yourself in an interview
  • Good adjectives to describe yourself on a resume

Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes? Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get ready-made content to add with one click. See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here.

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Sample resume made with our builder—See more resume examples here.

Looking for other word lists? Check out:

Best Words to Describe Yourself

Describing yourself in a few words to someone who doesn’t know you is tough. It’s worth figuring out how to make a great first impression, because, once formed, first impressions are hard to shake. Plus, some studies indicate that employers decide whether to hire someone within the first few minutes of a job interview.

Regardless of the situation, staying upbeat and positive is the key to describing yourself. Now is not the time for humility. The best words to describe yourself will be those that honestly capture your positive qualities. 

Here’s a list of positive words that can be used to describe yourself in any situation:

60+ Positive Words to Describe Yourself

  • Adaptable
  • Adventurous
  • Affectionate
  • Ambitious
  • Attentive
  • Bright
  • Cheerful
  • Chill
  • Clever
  • Considerate
  • Courageous
  • Determined
  • Disciplined
  • Dynamic
  • Easygoing
  • Easygoing
  • Emotional
  • Energetic
  • Energetic
  • Enthusiastic
  • Extroverted
  • Exuberant
  • Fearless
  • Flexible
  • Friendly
  • Funny
  • Generous
  • Gentle
  • Genuine
  • Happy
  • Hard-working
  • Helpful
  • Honest
  • Independent
  • Intelligent
  • Introverted
  • Intuitive
  • Joyful
  • Kind
  • Loving
  • Loyal
  • Modest
  • Motivated
  • Open-minded
  • Optimistic
  • Passionate
  • Patient
  • Persistent
  • Practical
  • Reliable
  • Resourceful
  • Romantic
  • Self-confident
  • Sensitive
  • Sincere
  • Sociable
  • Straightforward
  • Sympathetic
  • Tenacious
  • Thoughtful
  • Tough
  • Truthful
  • Understanding
  • Versatile
  • Warmhearted
  • Witty

positive words to describe yourself

Pro Tip: Not sure which words you should pick? Ask a few people who know you well for their opinion. It can feel awkward at first, but you might learn something about how others see you—plus get an idea of which professional words to describe yourself you should use in a business setting.

Good Words to Describe Yourself in an Interview 

One common interview question goes something like this: “Please describe yourself in 5 words”. The stakes are higher, but the same rules from above apply (stay positive and be honest). The only difference is: now you have to be more specific. 

When the hiring manager asks this question, they try to assess whether you have the personality and the skills needed to excel on the job. The key to nailing this job interview question is to stay relevant and provide evidence. 

If the adjectives you use to describe yourself are irrelevant to the job, chances are the HR manager won’t be impressed. Likewise, anyone can say they are creative and hardworking. You need to follow up the adjectives with examples demonstrating that quality. 

Let’s say a nurse is applying for a job at a hospital, and the interviewer asks, “What are three good words to describe yourself?” Let’s see an example that misses the mark.

WRONG

I’m reliable, cheerful, and …shy.

Cue the awkward pause when the HR manager is waiting for a follow-up that never comes. 

And of course, there’s nothing wrong with being shy, but shyness is irrelevant to the position at hand.

Okay, how can we improve the above response?

What Are Three Words to Describe Yourself: Sample Answer

GOOD

Let’s see. I’m reliable—I was so consistent in updating patient’s charts that I was promoted to a position responsible for training new hires. I’m very cheerful—Studies show that positivity can have a huge effect on patient recovery times, so I smile often and crack jokes whenever the time is right. And I’m energetic—In my last position at a long-term care facility, I was single-handedly caring for up to 15 patients per shift. That required me to move fast while still paying attention to small details.

Wow—Now that’s an answer. Highly relevant, honest, solid work experience, and with evidence to back it all up. 

3 words to describe yourself

Here’s a list of professional adjectives you can use in case you’re asked “What are the 3 best words to describe yourself?” in an interview:

39 Adjectives to Describe Yourself in an Interview 

  • Ambitious
  • Analytical
  • Attentive
  • Calculated
  • Creative
  • Data-driven
  • Dedicated
  • Devoted
  • Diligent
  • Disciplined
  • Driven
  • Dynamic
  • Empathetic
  • Energetic
  • Engaged
  • Experienced
  • Focused
  • Honest
  • Insightful
  • Knowledgeable
  • Methodical
  • Meticulous
  • Motivated
  • Organized
  • Passionate
  • Patient
  • People-oriented
  • Persistent
  • Persuasive
  • Proactive
  • Professional
  • Reliable
  • Resourceful
  • Results-oriented
  • Self-starter
  • Skillful
  • Structured
  • Team player
  • Thorough

If you have an interview scheduled, consider the question: what are the best words that describe me? beforehand. Don’t wait till the last minute!

Read more: How to Answer the "Tell Me About Yourself" Interview Question

Good Adjectives to Describe Yourself on a Resume

A well-written resume is your golden ticket to getting the call. There are no two ways about it. No matter what type of resume you’re writing, a short resume profile at the top can be a great way to make an elevator pitch that you’re the right candidate for the job. After all, recruiters are pressed for time. According to hiring statistics, corporate job offers receive 250 applications on average.

The secret to describing yourself in a resume introduction is to use adjectives relevant to the job and mention achievements that will wow the recruiter. You also want to tailor your resume introduction to the job posting, as sending generic resumes is one of the worst mistakes you can make when looking for a job. But please, don’t copy the job ad word for word! 

Here’s a list of positive words to describe yourself on a resume:

30+ Words to Describe Yourself on a Resume

  • Accomplished
  • Ambitious
  • Artistic
  • Attentive
  • Caring
  • Conscientious
  • Cooperative
  • Creative
  • Data-driven
  • Detail oriented
  • Experienced
  • Expert
  • Extroverted
  • Gregarious
  • Innovative
  • Methodical
  • Meticulous
  • Passionate
  • Patient
  • People-person
  • Persevering
  • Personable
  • Problem solver
  • Professional
  • Proficient
  • Resourceful
  • Skilled
  • Skillful
  • Sociable
  • Strategic
  • Systematic
  • Team player
  • Thorough
  • Tireless
  • Unconventional
  • Unique

30+ Words to Describe Yourself on a Resume

Read more: "What's Your Greatest Weakness" Interview Question: How to Answer

Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:

See more cover letter templates and start writing.

That’s a wrap! Do you have any questions regarding these words to describe yourself? How do you describe yourself in interviews or on a resume? I’d love to hear from you. Let’s chat in the comment section!

About Zety’s Editorial Process

This article has been reviewed by our editorial team to make sure it follows Zety's editorial guidelines. We’re committed to sharing our expertise and giving you trustworthy career advice tailored to your needs. High-quality content is what brings over 40 million readers to our site every year. But we don't stop there. Our team conducts original research to understand the job market better, and we pride ourselves on being quoted by top universities and prime media outlets from around the world.

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Danuta Detyna, CPRW
Danuta Detyna is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and career advisor writer who specializes in everything related to crafting resumes and cover letters. She has extensive experience in the field and is dedicated to providing practical and effective advice to help you advance your career. Drawing on her legal background, she places great emphasis on thorough research and accuracy when creating career guidance articles. Her ultimate goal is to equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to achieve greater professional satisfaction.
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