Talking about yourself is never easy. Especially, when you are a bit nervous before an interview. All the fine adjectives seem to disappear from your brain, am I right? If that’s your case, here your aid for the next interview — a big list of words to describe yourself. Jot down some and save them as a note on your phone to use as a memo!
List of Words to Describe Yourself
Here’s a common interview dilemma:
- On one hand, you don’t want to appear too boastful and self-absorbed.
- But the interviewer expects you to put your best side forward and “market” them your core competencies.
If you want to sound more professional and well-spoken during your next interview, here’s our jumbo-sized list of words to describe yourself, grouped by different categories.
Good Words to Describe Yourself: Soft Skills
Never underestimate the importance of soft skills. Because 81% of recruiters seek out strong communication skills among prospective hires. Yet, only 40% of applicants demonstrate strong interpersonal and communication skills during the job application process.
Be among those top 40% and incorporate the following lingo:
- Emotionally intelligent
- Good listener
- Experienced with asynchronous communication
- Strong writer
- Friendly personality
- Good presenter
- Public speaker
- Cross-cultural communication
Need more ideas? Check our list of interpersonal skills.
Adjectives to Describe a Person
Most employers don’t just hire for a skill — they also look for a cultural fit.
A job interview offers both parties an opportunity to provide a preview of what it would be like to work together. For that reason, many employers pose behavioral interview questions. When you answer them, don’t just focus on explaining your actions. Provide a glimpse of your personality.
And if you are short for words, use the following adjectives to better articulate who you are:
For an even better effect, pair these with power verbs when describing what you do during the interview and detailing your duties on a resume.
Word to Describe Your Expertise: Hard Skills
Hard (technical skills) are more difficult to generalize since these vary a lot depending on your professional background.
Still, there are some universally in-demand hard skills. These include:
- Digital literacy
- Management skills
- Analytics skills
- Critical thinking skills
- Office software
- Asynchronous communication tools
- Video conferencing
- Remote work
- Online information research
- Project management software
- Conceptual skills (planning, brainstorming, etc)
- Online presentation skills
Also, check our separate list of interview buzzwords to adopt (and drop) during your next meeting.
How to Pick Three Words to Describe Yourself to an Interviewer
Alright, you now have a huge list of fancy words to present yourself during an interview.
But the average interview length is about an hour. You can’t possibly (and shouldn’t) try to fire all those up at an interviewer.
Typically, you’ll have several strategic opportunities to present yourself. When asked:
- Please tell me about yourself (as an interview opener)
- Is there anything else you’d like to tell us? (at the end of the interview)
- How can you describe yourself in three words?
Let’s dwell on the latter. The goal of this common interview question is to get a succinct self-assessment from you. In other words, the interviewer expects to hear an elevator pitch, summarizing your specific skills, rather than the breadth of your experience.
Here’s how to nail thigs question — use a formula:
- Mention your main technical skill
- Back it up with a soft skill
- Round up a personal attribute.
This type of selection provides the other party with an understanding of both your abilities and personality.
Now let’s put the above to practice.
Here are several sample answers to “describe yourself in three words” interview question.
Sample answer for a recent graduate:
“I’m a self-learner [personal attribute]. When I was 14, I learned Adobe Photoshop, typography, and branding basics [hard skills]. This prompted me towards pursuing a degree in UX design [hard skill]. Since I’m also very empathetic [soft skill], this career path looked like the best match for me”.
Sample answer for a sales manager:
“If you ask my team, they’d say I am assertive, but candid when it comes to giving feedback [soft skills]. My accounts will tell that I’m very knowledgeable in the cloud computing market and cloud cost optimization [hard skills]. My friends, on the other hand, tell that I’m very easy-going and reliable [personal qualities]. They can always count on me.”
Sample answer for a teacher:
“I chose the education field because I’m very passionate about sociable [personal attributes]. I love breaking down complex concepts into digestible sound-bites and use video storytelling in classes as an aid [hard skills]. Colleagues often frequent my office for tips and I love listening to them, providing feedback, and sharing my knowledge [soft skills].
The English language has many fancy words for describing human beings. Yet, when you prepare for a job interview, don’t head for a Thesaurus. Using eloquent synonyms or rarely-used words won’t make you appear as a better job candidate.
Instead, head to the employers’ website and do some research. Check the language they are using to describe what they do. Make some notes and try to mirror the tone in your conversation. Also, the LinkedIn Skills section is another goldmine of in-demand skills among employers. Mine it for even more words to add up to your personal list!