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Whether you’re preparing for the classic interview question “Tell me about yourself” or writing your resume profile, describing yourself can be tricky. You want to be honest, but not brutally so. You want to impress, but without coming off as narcissistic.
Fortunately, as long as you follow a few guidelines when choosing the right words to describe yourself, you can create a great, long-lasting first impression.
Read on to learn pick the best words to describe yourself and see lists of:
- Positive words to describe yourself in any situation
- Words to describe yourself in an interview
- Words to describe yourself on a resume
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Looking for other word lists? Check out:
- Resume Action Words, Power Verbs, and Adjectives
- Resume Keywords to use
- Skill Words for Resume
- Strengths for Resume
1. Positive Words to Describe Yourself
Describing yourself in a few words to someone who doesn’t know you is tough. It’s worth spending some time figuring out how you can make a great first impression, because once formed, first impressions are hard to shake.
Regardless of the situation, the key to describing yourself is to stay upbeat and positive. 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 for any situation:
Positive Words to Describe Yourself
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2. Words to Describe Yourself in an Interview
One common interview question goes something like this: “What are 5 words to describe yourself?”. 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 are trying 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 of how you demonstrate 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.
|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 3 Words to Describe Yourself
|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.
Here’s a list of professional words to use in case you’re asked “What are the three best words to describe yourself?” in an interview:
Words to Describe Yourself in an Interview
3. Words to Describe Yourself on a Resume
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, but don’t copy the job ad word for word! A survey found that 44% of hiring managers automatically reject resumes that appear to duplicate the job posting.
Here’s a list of positive words to describe yourself on a resume:
Words to Describe Yourself on a Resume
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:
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!