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Between resumes, dating sites, and platforms like LinkedIn… we’re often pressured to present a quickly painted picture of ourselves. It's just a snapshot of who we are, but it's so important.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” And if you’re like me, you've had times when you wished you had the perfect words to describe yourself. Or maybe felt like you blew it.
Being prepared for these situations can help. In this post, I'll give you words to describe yourself in a variety of situations.
The Elevator Pitch is in Demand
Back in the day, the way to “quickly, but accurately describe your best qualities, was referred to as an elevator pitch”. Its a few short, succinct sentences you would say to someone if you only had about 30 seconds of an elevator ride with them. This elevator pitch was traditionally prepared to be used in a job-related situation.
Nowadays, whether it’s a site to meet dates or friends, or to entrepreneurially promote a product or service, there are so many situations where you need to give someone a window into who you are.
Depending on the situation or the social media platform, it’s not necessarily a few complete sentences or less that are expected. Its a few words or less. But whether it's a few descriptive words or complete sentences, you'll want to use powerful and compelling adjectives or nouns to describe yourself.
Today, almost everyone has a brand — something they’re trying to market or promote. And usually, that brand is themselves.
Your audience, or the type of site you're describing yourself on, will determine which adjectives work best.
A job interview or resume may not be the place to describe yourself in the same way as an online dating site or other social media profile. And, although it may be perfectly fine to introduce yourself to a new person as the wild and crazy life of the party, you probably don't want to put that in your cover letter.
Some words are good for any situation. But there will be specific adjectives that are optimal in a situation, and some descriptive words that are counterproductive or less effective in that same situation.
I'll break down different situations and the best words for each. Of course, use your best judgment. Each section below could be broken down further.
For example, a job interview for a sales position may be a good place to use words like, gregarious and persuasive. However, if you're interviewing to be a librarian or work on an assembly line, you may want to choose different adjectives.
257 Good Words to Describe Yourself in EVERY Situation
58 Words to Describe Yourself in a Job Interview, Resume, or Cover Letter
The interviewer will more than likely ask you to tell them about you. You have a short window of time to communicate your best self in a way relevant to the job.
Whether it's the paper introduction or the actual interview, your goal is to describe yourself in a professional and impressive way that will persuade your reader or listener that it's you they should add to their team.
You want to be confident, thorough, and honest. But you want to balance that against sounding overly confident, arrogant, and self-absorbed. You don't want the interviewer to think that you're a know-it-all who can't be easily trained to do things their company's way.
Your goal is to highlight your best qualities and skills. You also want to present experience and talents that may not be related to the position, as if they are all examples of how you are the person who can best do the job.
Since the general purpose is the same for a cover letter, resume, and job interview — to sell yourself — these descriptions are ideal for all three.
- Emotionally Intelligent
52 Words to Describe Yourself in an Online Dating Profile
No doubt you want to include words that make you look desirable to a mate. You don't want to be so revealing or transparent that there's nothing left to the imagination, or even worse, you scare people away.
Similarly to when you're describing yourself professionally, you want to appear confident and positive, without sounding cocky, arrogant, or self-absorbed. You want to use words that present you as who you want to be seen as. You may even want to describe yourself with words that describe what you want in a mate.
For example, say you work-out and want others to see you as someone who values staying in shape. And, you want someone who will enjoy a good sweat with you.
It makes sense to describe yourself as physically fit or athletic. You may also like to sit around the house and watch TV, but calling yourself a couch potato may not convey that fitness and being active are some of your key values.
On the other hand, if you're not much into going out and socializing, and you want to make sure your mate is okay staying home most of the time, homebody is an ideal description.
Now, this part is a little daring. But if you're trying to meet someone who accepts you for you — the good and the bad — it's actually okay to make lemons out of lemonade.
If you have some funny flaws that can be presented playfully, go ahead and include them, especially if you have a good sense of humor and want someone else equally good-humored. It may help you attract that ideal person you've been looking for that truly “gets” and accepts you for you.
I've tacked these daring, quirky, yet adorable words that make you “you”, onto the end of the list in this section.
I've separated some of the adjectives into male vs. female. This article lists the top words that eHarmony found to be more effective at attracting a mate than others, based on whether you're a man or woman.
Most words were equally effective or close to equally effective when used by either males or females. I list these, and other good descriptors, in the “Both” section.
What's Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander (Both)
- Physically fit
- Social butterfly
- Health conscious
51 Words to Describe Yourself in a Social Media Profile
As with any other self-presentation, you want to use words that make you look attractive and interesting. You want to present a positive picture of who you want others to see you as. You also want to take into consideration the type of social media, and your purpose for having a profile on the platform.
So, a LinkedIn profile would use different words than Facebook. And, if your purpose is to be playful, you would use different adjectives than if your intentions are more serious and strategic, like branding yourself so that you can be an influencer.
Of course, this can get even more complicated. Someone who wants to be known for making others laugh may use different words than someone who wants to be known for helping others lose weight or promoting a healthier way of living. But here are some good words to use.
- Health conscious
- Movie buff
- (Noun) geek (e.g., comic book geek, IT geek)
- A boss
42 Words to Describe Yourself When Meeting New People
Besides your name, what else can you tell people when you first meet? You probably want to keep it short and sweet since this is a time when you're equally trying to learn one another. You can work descriptive words in as the conversation flows.
- Social Butterfly
54 Fun, Random Words to Describe Yourself
Sometimes you just wanna have fun! Just posted your wild night on Instagram? Maybe you're trying to lighten the mood or cheer someone else up. Maybe you're trying to cheer yourself up.
These choices are playful, and some may be painfully, but humorously, honest. We can't take ourselves too seriously all the time. There's definitely a time and place for everything.
Check this list out. Just as long as it's not a resume or job interview, I'm sure you can find a place to put these descriptors to good use. But then again, if you're trying to get a job as a comedian or reality show character, these words might be perfect.
- PK (preacher's kid)
- Teacher's pet
Final Thoughts on Words to Describe Yourself
People usually post images that make their lives look perfect, or talk a good game. It’s tempting to try and describe yourself the same way.
But keep in mind that we don't see what's not posted, or what’s left unsaid. People aren't as quick to post their flaws and skeletons. So, while it’s okay to accentuate the best parts of you – your strengths – remember to be both flattering and honest. This will work across most situations.