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From cover letters and job interviews to personal essays and social media posts, there are tons of reasons you need good words to describe yourself. The best descriptive words for personality characteristics are positive ones. Explore a variety of positive descriptors to find the words that best describe you.
positive words to describe yourself
Ideal Words to Describe Yourself for Professional Purposes
If you are writing a cover letter, resume, or professional bio or you have a job interview, these words can help you describe yourself in a positive and professional way.
Awesome Words to Describe Yourself for School Assignments
For things related to school, such as personal essays or college applications, you can use more exciting words to describe who you are.
Great Words to Describe Yourself for Dating
Words for guys to use in dating profiles or messages and words for girls to use in dating are pretty much the same. Look for unique and playful ways to describe how you embody highly desirable mate qualities.
Brainstorm Your Best Qualities
If you think back to grade school you will find that whenever you had an essay to write, you were told to brainstorm. Think about yourself from every angle and ask yourself questions like these.
What are some of the positive personality traits that people have told you about time and again?
What are your strengths?
What makes you shine at what you do?
Do a Self-Assessment
There are plenty of ways to do self-assessments. There are quizzes online, some of which may also be available from your employer. Taking self-assessments will help you come up with the perfect descriptive phrases that describe you.
Interview Friends and Family
One of the best ways to get a great idea of the impressions people have of you is to ask them. Sometimes, people you know can tell you things that you do not know about yourself. They can give you good examples of what they see in you.
Describe Your Best Attributes
While it might feel awkward to think about yourself so much, describing yourself in positive ways is good for your mental health. Choose three to five words to describe yourself and try writing a personal statement that includes them all.
How To Describe Yourself: 180 Words For Your Positive Qualities
Describe Yourself for Dating, Job Interviews, Resumes & School Projects
Learning how to describe yourself accurately is something we usually have to put some effort into. This seems to be especially true in most western cultures, where being honest about our skills, qualities, and attributes can be confused with being arrogant, “blowing your own trumpet,” or being excessively self-indulgent.
Most of us have never taken the time to reflect on our positive qualities but it’s so important to do so. There are a lot of benefits to knowing the words that describe us. One of the biggest is that it can give us new layers of self awareness and confidence.
Who would want to go through life without this knowledge?
If we do learn to describe ourselves, we can become our own confidence guru and simply acknowledge and appreciate our own positive qualities.
Now you’re on board 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.
Are You Empathetic?
Words to Describe Yourself Professionally
If you’ve already been interviewed for a job, you know the 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 to 15 words that describe you most of the time, regardless of the situation. It might be helpful to think about who are you when you are on your own, doing your own thing. There will be very few other people who will identify the exact same combination, because we’re all different.
Once you’ve come up with a few words, think of situations from your life that demonstrate that quality.
Unique Adjectives to Use on a Resume
Are You Analytical?
Positive Descriptive Words to Use in a Job Interview
Why It’s Important to Know Your Strengths
From my experience delivering training programs and seminars about building confidence and self-esteem, people get very quiet when they’re are 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.
Are You Creative?
Positive Descriptions for College Applications
Are You Diplomatic?
How to 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.
Come up with a few words that you think describe your negative traits. Here are a few examples:
Ok, now with a little thinking and reflection these traits could 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.
Rudeness can easily be re-framed as bluntness and 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.
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
Ask Yourself Now: “What’s good about you?”
How many descriptive words can you come up with? Knowing how to describe yourself is something that comes in very useful especially on resumes, 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 only tools we have available to make an impression are words. So using them to create a good online perception and making the most of our online relationships is important.
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.
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 Do I Describe Myself?
Take This Quiz: Which Words Describe You?
For each question, choose the best answer for you.
For each answer you selected, add up the indicated number of points for each of the possible results. Your final result is the possibility with the greatest number of points at the end.
This table shows the meaning of each possible result:
It’s easy to confuse sympathetic and empathetic. When you sympathize, you feel for the other person. When you empathize, you actually see the other person’s perspective from their own shoes without passing judgment. You are an empathetic person. When someone tells you that their heart is broken, you might put your hand over your heart and your eyes might well up. This response will probably make the other person feel a little better and builds a connection. Your empathy will help you bond with others!
You are an analytical person if you can work well on your own in a challenging situation. You want to get to the bottom of things. Curiosity drives you to sift and sort through facts and information. You don’t like to brag and prefer to just do your thing. You can visualize things when people describe them and can put things into words when others around you can’t. You make sensible decisions that you’ve thought through carefully.
Creative people are what some scientists call “wise children.” This means that they are deeply intelligent but also very open-minded about things. You are a creative person, so you approach the things that excite you with energy and enthusiasm. You don’t mind breaking rules and coloring outside the lines, literally and figuratively. You make connections between things that others might not notice. You might be alternate between being introverted and extroverted, and you can be both playful and focused.
Diplomats are good at bringing people together, even when there’s a fight or disagreement going on. They’re good listeners and they tend to see the good in people or at least don’t just others too harshly. You’re diplomatic and you keep the “big picture” in mind, meaning that you’d rather preserve a friendship than let a moment’s drama blow everything up. You’re essential to any team, job, or friend group!
Questions & Answers
Question: How can I describe myself in three words?
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
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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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250+ Words To Describe Yourself In Any Situation
One skill everyone should have, whether you’re applying to college or for a job, is how to describe yourself in a way that’s both accurate and unique. In other words, what are some interesting, eye-catching words to describe yourself with?
We list more than 250 describing words and give you tips for figuring out how to pick words that best suit you and your personality. But first, what are some situations in which you’d need to know describing words?
Why Might You Need to Describe Yourself?
Before we dive into our list of words to describe yourself, let’s answer an important question: why would you actually need to know any of these words? Put differently, in what situations would you need the following words to describe someone or yourself?
Here are some key instances you’ll want to use these words to describe yourself:
Cover letter: A cover letter is required for most job applications; it emphasizes the best and most impressive aspects of yourself as a job candidate. As a result, you’ll need to pick words that really make you stand out in a positive light.
Job interview: It’s common for an interviewer to ask you to describe yourself in a number of words; therefore, it’s important that you know some unique words you can use if you end up getting asked this basic interview question.
College application/personal essay: Most college applications require applicants to submit a personal statement (though not all do!). Your essay will stand out if you have some original and interesting words to describe yourself.
Online profile: Spice up your personal online profile, such as a dating profile or social media profile, by sprinkling in a few eye-catching adjectives.
Furthermore, if English is not your native language, this list of words to describe yourself can be a really great study resource you can use to learn some new vocabulary words!
List of 250+ Words to Describe Yourself
Most of these words are adjectives, but you’ll also come across some nouns, too. We’ve divided up our list of words to describe someone in the following categories:
All words are listed in alphabetical order.
Words to Describe Yourself in a Cover Letter/Job Interview
You can use these professional words to describe yourself on a cover letter or in a job interview.
Interviewers often ask candidates to describe themselves in one to three words, so familiarizing yourself with some particularly interesting (and, of course, truthful!) words you can use to describe yourself should give you a leg up in the interview process.
We’ll also give you a list of words you should not use to describe yourself on a cover letter and in a job interview.
Words to NOT Use to Describe Yourself in a Job Interview
All the words above are fair game for a cover letter and/or job interview, just as long as they’re true about you and you use them in a way that doesn’t make it come across like bragging.
Now, here are some words you should avoid using in a professional situation, as they can make you sound self-centered, pretentious, or simply unoriginal:
In addition to these words, you should avoid any words with a clearly negative connotation, such as “lazy,” “loud,” “moody,” and so on.
Words to Describe Yourself on a College Application
College applications are all about showcasing your biggest strengths, how you’ll fit with the school, and your authentic self.
Unlike job interviews and cover letters, you’re typically allowed (and encouraged) to get a little more personal on college applications, especially with the personal essay, which highlights your positive qualities and who you are as a person.
Here are some words to describe yourself on a college application. (Note that many of these words overlap with those on the list above.) Afterward, we’ll give you some examples of words you should avoid in your college application.
Deserving [of something]
In addition, do not use any clearly negative describing words; here are some examples:
Words to Describe Yourself in an Online Profile
This last set of words to describe yourself can be used in more casual, relaxed spaces, such as an online dating profile or a social media account.
You could also use these words to describe someone else, such as a character in a work of fiction you’re writing.
Words to NOT Use to Describe Yourself in an Online Profile
How you talk about yourself in an online profile is really up to you and can be pretty casual, too (as long as it’s not a professional LinkedIn profile). You’ll want to stick to predominantly positive words, but sometimes words that describe your funny or entertaining flaws could be worth including.
That said, here are some words you should never put down in a profile as they can make you come across as highly self-centered, rude, and frankly unapproachable!
How to Describe Yourself: 4 Tips for Finding the Right Words
It’s not easy choosing the right words to describe yourself-but knowing exactly what you want to highlight about yourself can help you figure out the best describing words to use, whether they’re for a cover letter, personal essay, or online dating profile.
Here are four tips to help you brainstorm and find the right words to describe yourself with.
#1: Consider Your Audience
One of the most important things you’ll need to consider before writing down tons of adjectives to describe yourself is your audience, or the person/people who will be hearing or reading the words you choose to use.
Your audience will play a fairly significant role in the words you ultimately choose, as you’ll need to make sure you’re coming across to them the way you want to.
For example, if your audience is a potential employer, you should use describing words that make you sound like an ideal fit at the company and that help you stand apart from other candidates (if you’re not memorable, you likely won’t get the job!).
Here are the general types of describing words different audiences will want to hear when it comes to describing yourself:
For job interviews/cover letters: Positive describing words that emphasize your (relevant) skills, experience, professional interests, and company fit
For college applications: Positive words that express your authentic personality, academic accomplishments/skills, ambitions, and overall school fit
For online profiles: Positive words (though it might be worth throwing in some “flaws” for humorous effect or to stand out from others!) that stress your individual personality traits, skills, and interests-keep it casual, too!
Once you’ve got your audience down, it’s time to start thinking about your biggest strengths and most prominent personality traits.
#2: Think About Your Biggest Strengths
Whenever you’re describing yourself, you should always emphasize your biggest strengths, that is, your very best qualities!
These can be any describing words that you personally see as strengths (even if others don’t think the same-it’s OK to try to change their minds). More importantly, these should be words that you feel best encapsulate who you are.
For example, I was once asked to describe myself in three words during a job interview. One of the words I used was “introverted” because I’ve always felt a strong connection to this word.
Though the word tends to have a slightly negative connotation, I took a bit of time to explain to my interviewers exactly why I saw introversion as a strength and how this trait would actually help me effectively perform my job.
So what’s the lesson? Don’t be afraid to be yourself-use words that reflect what you value in life and what you like most about yourself.
#3: Ask Others How They Would Describe You
If you’re struggling to figure out how to describe yourself, it’s a great idea to ask others close to you how they would describe you if asked by somebody else. Doing this can give you a clearer, more objective view of your strengths (and weaknesses) and help you figure out what types of words are most applicable to you.
If possible, ask a range of people to describe you, from family and friends to former coworkers.
For example, if you’re applying to college, it’ll help to get describing words about you from those connected to the college application process, such as your teachers and recommendation letter writers.
Simply ask them to write down a few words (adjectives or nouns) that best describe you and your academic or personal strengths, based on what they know about you.
#4: Be Careful Not to Exaggerate
Finally, take care to avoid any describing words that exaggerate your strengths or make you seem different from who you really are.
Remember that the point of describing yourself is to paint an authentic, positive portrait of yourself to your audience, whoever they are. If you lie or exaggerate something about yourself, then you’re not accurately revealing who you are, which could confuse, anger, or disappoint your audience.
For instance, you probably wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) use the word “artistic” to describe yourself if you only ever painted a few pictures for an art class years ago and didn’t enjoy the process.
Think of your interests and any personality traits or skills that come with these; this could help narrow down specific traits that are more relevant to you.
Applying to college? Then you’ll need to know what a personal statement is. Once you’ve got the gist of it, check out our guide to how to write a great college essay and look at our compilation of 100+ college essay examples.
Got an interview coming up for a job or for college? It’s important to be prepared. Aside from being asked to describe yourself, you might get asked any of these 14 questions.
Need to write a cover letter? You’ll definitely want to read our expert guides on how to write one for a job and how to write one for graduate school.
115+ Strong Words To Describe Yourself
Why It’s Important to Use Resume Adjectives
Good adjectives for your resume set the tone for your application, and emphasize important information about your experience and/or skills.
Not only that, but descriptive words grab attention and make your resume memorable. That’s why strong resume words and professional adjectives are crucial to the success of your resume.
To help you get started, here’s our list of the best adjectives to use on your resume.
List of Powerful Resume Adjectives
Here are 115+ adjectives you can use to highlight your resume skills and improve your application.
Each set of words is categorized according to the skill that they help describe.
Candidates with strong leadership skills are essential for any company. Use these adjectives for leadership to demonstrate your ability to manage teams and guide others to success:
Here’s an example of how a sales manager candidate used powerful leadership adjectives to strengthen their resume objective (the adjectives have been highlighted):
What makes this example outstanding is that the candidate quickly showcases their qualifications, and uses resume adjectives to emphasize the skills they can bring to the company. Used well, strong adjectives can reinforce your point and help you communicate more information with fewer words.
Work Ethic Adjectives
If you need some good resume adjectives to highlight your work ethic, look no further.
Here are 28 powerful work ethic adjectives to describe yourself and your work:
Employers are always looking for candidates who can think of creative solutions to problems. Demonstrate your talent for innovation with these strong resume adjectives:
Team Player Adjectives
Team players keep companies running smoothly and make work more enjoyable for everyone else. These words will help you demonstrate your teamwork credentials to the hiring manager:
If you’re emailing clients, closing deals, and helping customers, strong communication skills are a must. These resume adjectives can highlight your ability to communicate effectively and keep clients happy:
Organizational Skills Adjectives
Whether you’re in management or just an intern, keeping your work organized is vital.
Are you the kind of person who color codes your files and never misses an appointment? Then these strong organizational skills adjectives are for you:
Interpersonal Skills Adjectives
Offices composed of employees with strong interpersonal skills often perform better, and hiring managers are always on the look-out for candidates with a high degree of emotional intelligence.
Use these resume adjectives to highlight your interpersonal prowess and show that you’re a good fit for any office:
Interpersonal abilities are just one of the many soft skills employers value. These strengths are sometimes difficult to quantify, but hiring managers are always looking for them because they signal a strong employee.
The modern workplace is changing faster than ever. So how do businesses keep up? With highly adaptable employees.
Show you can cope when a sale doesn’t go through and adapt when a new, system-wide change is implemented with these powerful resume adjectives:
How to Use Resume Adjectives
As long as you avoid the generic clichés that are common on bad resumes, strong adjectives are an effective way to highlight and emphasize your experience throughout your job application.
But to make the best use of adjectives on your resume:
Avoid using bigger words just to sound impressive.
Your resume has limited space to showcase your accomplishments. State things succinctly and pack more substance into your application rather than filling your resume with stylish fluff.
Use adjectives to enhance your experience, not replace it.
Adjectives should be combined with actionable examples of accomplishments on your resume. All too often, job seekers simply describe themselves as “detail-oriented” or say something they did was “great” with no context. This doesn’t demonstrate how you’re detail-oriented, or what made your action great.
To make your resume adjectives effective, attach them to a larger point about your specific qualifications or accomplishments. Here’s an example:
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