As a personal development trainer Susana has helped many people learn how to describe themselves
How to Describe Yourself for Dating, Job Interviews, Résumés & School Projects
As a personal development trainer, I have helped many people answer the question of how to describe yourself positively and one thing that I have learned is that describing yourself accurately is something you have to put some effort into. This is especially true since being honest about your skills, qualities, and attributes can be confused with being arrogant or "blowing your own horn."
Most of us have never taken the time to reflect on our positive qualities, but it's so important to do so. There are many benefits to knowing the words that describe you personally, and one of the biggest is that it can give you self awareness and confidence. Who wants to go through life without self knowledge? If we can describe ourselves accurately, we acknowledge and appreciate our own positive qualities. You become your own confidence guru.
Now that you're onboard with why it's helpful to know how to describe ourselves, we'll move onto how.
Ready? Scroll down for list of 180 adjectives to help you describe yourself.
Words to Describe Yourself Professionally
If you've ever been interviewed for a job, you know they'll ask this question: What would you say is your best quality? It can be an uncomfortable question to answer, especially since you're already nervous about the interview. What do they want to hear?
The good news is that it's possible to be completely honest. Because we can all identify with 90% of these adjectives in some situation or other, I suggest picking 10 words that describe you most of the time, regardless of the situation. It might be helpful to think about who you are when you are on your own, doing your own thing. There will be very few other people who will identify the exact same combination of adjectives, because we're all different.
Once you've narrowed it down to ten or so words, think of situations in the past when you demonstrated each of those qualities.
(For more ideas, read Positive Words to Describe Yourself in an Interview.)
Unique Adjectives to Use on a Résumé
Positive Descriptive Words to Use in a Job Interview
Why It's Important to Know Your Strengths
During my experience delivering training programs and seminars about building confidence and self esteem, I discovered that people get very quiet when they're asked to describe five of their best qualities. "I don't know" is the most common response.
Conversely, we're all pretty good at listing our faults and failings. It's as if people don't dare to ask the question, "What's good about me?"
If this describes you, then it's even more important for you to do this exercise.
Words are powerful! If you come up with a list of your best traits, even if it feels awkward to do so, you'll start believing them. This new confidence will help you out in both your career and your personal life.
Positive Descriptions for College Applications
Turn a "Negative" Into a Positive
What would you say if you were asked, "What's your biggest weakness?"
Not sure? You might even wonder why employers even ask such a weird question. The objective with a question like this is to see how a person responds when they're thrown off base a little. It's also a way to force an applicant to reflect on how they've grown or want to grow. The key to answering this question successfully is to show that you've reflected on your personality and have identified ways to improve.
How to answer the question "What is your biggest weakness"?
- First, come up with a few words that you think describe your negative traits. For example, let's say a person was a bit controlling, shy, or maybe even rude.
- Next, use these traits to provide insights into your best qualities. For example, a controlling person might have a hard time asking for help. Have you ever wished you'd accepted an offer of help from a friend or co-worker? Are you aware of the benefits of not always being in charge? If so, you're looking for opportunities to let go and work with others for better results.
- Next, re-frame your negative qualities. Rudeness can easily be re-framed as bluntness or honesty. But you may feel that you can be a bit too honest at times. Describe a situation when you said something that may have been true, but that you wished you'd kept to yourself. Then explain that you're working on making your feedback more constructive.
Another example: There's nothing wrong with shyness, but you may feel that it holds you back from participating fully. Maybe there have been times when you wished you'd been more assertive. Explain that you're working on speaking up more and overcome your fear of offending others.
Words to Describe Yourself on Online Dating Sites
Unique Adjectives to Describe Your Personality
What's Good About You? Ask Yourself Now
How many descriptive words can you come up with? Knowing how to describe yourself is something that comes in very useful especially on résumés, on job applications, and when meeting new people.
On top of that, many of us use dating websites or forums and have profile pages on various websites that ask us to describe ourselves or provide a bio. In the online world, the main tools we have to make an impression are words. So using words to create a good online perception and make the most of our online relationships is important.
An added bonus to knowing how to describe our positive qualities is that it helps us combat all the negative talk that goes on in our heads—the voices that continually tell us what and where we're going wrong.
What to Do With Your List of Positive Qualities
So, how did you get on? How does it feel to identify your positive qualities? Good, I hope!
You may have undertaken this exercise because your teacher asked you to. Perhaps you're about to interview for a job or are making an online profile. In any case, here are some "next steps" to make the best use of the list you've made:
- Look over your list of adjectives. Say them out loud to yourself with "I am . . ." before each one.
- If you are interviewing for a job, look back at the job description and circle all the adjectives and phrases on your list that best relate to the position. Pick two or three words that relate to both you and to the job.
- Be prepared to give examples of specific times when you've demonstrated the adjectives that you've chosen. For example, if you tell the interviewer that you're "reliable," describe projects you have completed on deadline or times when an employer or teacher have commented that they can count on you. Tell a short, vivid story about a time when you demonstrated that quality.
- If you're applying to a school or university, read over the school's website and look for clues about the kind of student they are looking for. All schools want students that are "hard-working," "inquisitive," and "persistent." Show them your unique qualities. Are you particularly creative and imaginative? Are you exceptionally focused and determined? Do you have a big heart for social justice? Toot your own horn!
How to Describe Yourself in One Word
Oftentimes, you'll be asked to describe yourself with one word. . . sometimes, they'll ask for three. It's smart to brainstorm ahead of time and to have a list of one or three words planned ahead of time. Choose the words for which you have the best examples and stories. Yes, you should have a script planned for this inevitable question. Don't be caught off guard!
Why Do You Want to Describe Yourself?
How Do I Describe Myself?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: How can I describe myself in three words?
Answer: Go through the list of adjectives in the main article and find the words that most resonate with you. In the article, I advise you to think about who you are when you're on your own and free from outside influences. If you're still struggling to describe yourself think about what's important to you. Are you a tidy person? Are you someone who likes to socialize? What interests you? If a loved one was in trouble how would you react? How have other people complimented you?
To me, the most impressive 3 words to describe someone would be compassionate, generous, warmhearted. With qualities like that, a person can go really far in life.
Question: How would you describe yourself as an engineer or for an engineering job?
Answer: Words that would be appropriate for engineers to describe themselves would include ones such as: research skills, intelligence, mathematical, detail-oriented, precise, perfectionist, exacting, methodological, excellent planning skills, technically minded, ability to critically analyze own work, open to feedback, manually dexterous, technical drawing skills, creative thinking, conceptualization, good communication skills, IT skills, scientific.
All of these words are helpful to describe an engineer but the type of engineering you do or want to do may require additional descriptive words specific to the role.
© 2009 Susana Smith
mitchie on August 30, 2020:
its nice i learnt about myself more than i know
Anyonmus on August 27, 2020:
Susana Smith (author) from UK on August 15, 2020:
Nope. None of us are. But that doesn't mean we should ignore the positive qualities that we all have.
veronica on August 13, 2020:
honestly i am not perfect
Muxuba on July 30, 2020:
I'm very perseverant,loveable person . Positive person and kind to other people. Love forgive other people
Anupam Mitu from MUMBAI on July 24, 2020:
Wonderful well organized hub filled with such important illustrations. It's helpful for many.
Thank you for this and lots of love and blessings.
Liliane on July 06, 2020:
A good list of adjectives to use especially that I recently lost my job and am into a job search period.
Susana Smith (author) from UK on June 16, 2020:
Not really. Splendid is a great describing word for events or things e.g. a splendid day out or a splendid meal, it's not usually used to describe a person.
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is it correct to say " I am a splendid girl"?
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