73% of job seekers say that the process of looking for a job is one of the most stressful events in life. There’s one question that probably plays a significant role. “How would you describe yourself?”, “What are the words to describe yourself?”, and “Tell me a little about yourself?”.
This interview question and its many variations remain one of the interviewer’s most beloved questions. You can see the anticipation in their eyes right before they ask it, and you’d be lucky to leave an interview room before hearing it.
However, you’ll soon notice that interviewers don’t share a similar enthusiasm for this noble inquiry. To them, it remains the mother of all tough interview questions. That said, any unprepared interviewee who’s been at the other end of this question owes you a story.
Gone wrong, you’re a few words away from coming out as a narcissist, proud, insecure, or apprehensive, and a few steps closer to fumbling the interview altogether.
Words to Describe Yourself Professionally
Did you know that 85% of people lie on their resumes? At an interview, or while writing that resume, you should be aiming to be the other 15% that don’t.
Your interviewer will probably ask this question, curious to know about your skills and their relevance to the profession or job you’re applying to.
With that in mind, relevance is the name of the game. Saying that you’re funny (even if you are) may be relevant for a comedy audition, but it won’t cut it for other professions you will be applying to.
Examples of words to describe yourself:
Words to Describe Your Personality
Companies want to know the kind of person they’re onboarding. More so, they’re curious if your personality traits will be perfect for their company culture.
Always have the company culture in mind when answering this question. You may learn a bit traditional, but that would be better left unsaid if you ever find yourself being interviewed for a progressive firm.
In describing your personality, you’re allowed to lie through omission; you’re under no obligation to mention that you’re shy or socially anxious unless asked. Mention positive words about yourself and leave your weaknesses for now.
A common mistake you may make when writing a resume without experience is self-depreciation. Many hope that by self-depreciation they may score a few points for honesty. Don’t.
By telling the interviewee that you’re shy, inexperienced, or insecure, you do them the honors of eliminating yourself.
Examples of words to describe yourself:
Words to Describe How You Relate With Others
Your interaction with the teams that form your company is of particular interest to your interviewers. That said, not all your traits deserve a mention, only those relevant to the company.
In your ten essential resume sections, there will always be a few sections where you will have to reveal the nature of your interaction with other team members. Remember, not mentioning anything about teamwork or team spirit in itself is a red flag.
Moreover, when describing your relationship with others, beware of coming out as a “pick me”.
These are people who believe in winning validation from people by being overly nice and letting everything pass.
With that in mind, ensure to punctuate that “loving, affectionate, empathetic” with mentions of values like “assertiveness, bold, honest.”
Words and adjectives to describe a person’s relation with others include:
- People person
- Team player
Words to Describe Yourself on a Resume
As a beginner writing a resume, you will probably be lost for words to describe yourself, the best of your qualities, without coming off as proud and egotistical. You are not alone.
If you’ve been writing resumes for a while now, you’re also looking for improvement and curious about any words you might add to your arsenal.
As you write your resume, the trick is to avoid overused words like “resource-driven,” which will have the panel rolling their eyes on the other end as they read.
Your definition, especially in a written resume, should also be balanced, touching on professionalism, leadership, character, and personality.
Some of the words you can consider adding to your resume include:
- People driven
Words to Describe Your Leadership
Have you ever auditioned for a leadership role?
Leadership roles also come with their own set of personality requirements that interviewers will be scouting for in their candidates. The only difference this time is that it’s much stricter.
Take a look at the following 3- word definitions from a leadership perspective:
“I am experienced, hardworking, and accomplished.”
“I am rational, accountable, and diplomatic.”
The second definition beats the first by simply showing that the writer views leadership as a service and not a privilege.
The art of describing leadership skills comes in handy in your structured resume writing. In a resume, you will have more freedom over the use of descriptive words.
How to Go About Describing Yourself?
Confidence goes a long way when it comes to self-description, especially in an interview. You’ve heard of people that go blank the moment they’re told to describe themselves; you don’t want to be one of them.
1. Consider Your Audience
Whenever you’re describing yourself, either in an interview or a resume, always have your audience in mind.
Remember that these “describe yourself in three words” questions have as much to do with the company as they have to do with yourself.
That said, there are probably hundreds of words to describe yourself. Well, only choose the ones that are relevant at the moment or to the people making an inquiry.
Don’t tell them you’re sexy unless you’re auditioning at the Gentleman’s club. A better approach is to write all your personality descriptions and select those that are relevant to that company and its culture.
2. Perform Self Analysis
The reason why many people struggle with self-descriptive questions is their self-awareness (or lack of). Most people are outward-looking and have never found time for self-reflection and analysis.
A better, reliable, and long-term solution to answering self-description questions will be to leverage self-analysis. While at it, discover your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, writing them down for reference.
With your strengths at your fingertips, you will find it easier to answer this question at an interview without going blank.
3. Get Inquiries from Close People
Another tested and tried method as far for self-awareness is getting inquiries from other people. One thing you should have in mind is that they should be close and people you’ve spent a lot of time with.
Take the phone, dial your mom and ask her to describe you. In between the cute and the lovely (which all mothers say), there will be some truths about your character that you can take to the bank.
If you feel that your mom is describing more of an angel and less of you, don’t be afraid to make inquiries from close colleagues and friends who will be more honest.
4. Go Easy On the Exaggeration
The temptation to overvalue yourself can be too much at times. Believing in yourself is great. However, there is a thin line between confidence, exaggeration, and borderline lying.
While writing a resume, be honest with your capabilities. Don’t describe yourself as “experienced “while you just came out of campus a year ago.
Also, avoid subjective terms that are not measurable in any way. However awesome or amazing you believe you are (you are), don’t use it as self-description on your resume.
What you read as “I am awesome,” your interviewer will read as “I am a Narcissist.” Better yet, they may take your word for it and ask you how?
Seasoned interviewers who have read thousands of resumes can tell a liar from a mile; it’s not worth the trouble.
5. Do Not Self-Depreciate
On the opposite end of exaggeration, and preferably worse, is self-depreciation. Remember, there is no such thing as a sympathy job.
Nobody ever wrote a resume so sad that the panel was like, “Poor thing, let’s give this guy the job.”
Don’t bother mentioning your weaknesses, insecurities, life struggles, or career mistakes. Even worse, don’t use words and adjectives or a tone that shows you look down on yourself.
Guard your frame, and if you don’t leave with the job, at least leave with your dignity.
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