Those are just some examples of how interviewers may phrase this question about describing yourself.
This job interview question is one of the top 10 most common job interview questions you’re going to hear. It's also one of the most relevant, revealing, and challenging. Tough to answer -- whether you're replying to your interviewer or writing your description on your resume. How do you describe yourself without sounding arrogant? Or sounding a little too cliché?
True, the widely cited research of psychologist Albert Mehrabian showed that spoken words only account for 7% of how others see you. But still, words matter when it comes to describing yourself in your interview or on your resume.
Why is that?
See, the words you use to describe yourself can be the deciding factor in getting hired for the position you're applying for. There are three main reasons for learning the appropriate words to use here.
First: your answer will help employers gain insights into your abilities. For example, how your skills and experience match the job you're applying for.
Second: hiring managers will see your communication skills when they ask you this question face-to-face. Your words and way of answering will show them how confident you are in describing yourself. It may also show them how well you can organise your thoughts.
Third: recruitment managers often use this question to make you reveal your personality and your potential as an employee to them. That way, they can assess if you “fit” their organisation and work culture.
In this article, you'll find comprehensive lists of "best words" to describe yourself as a person and as an employee. You'll know how to describe yourself in certain workplace settings. You'll learn the most effective adjectives to use for job interviews, resumes, cover letters, and performance reviews. And even for your social media accounts!
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Yes, words do matter. It’s about knowing what to say and how to say it. This is especially true for job interviews, resumes, and the like.
Employers value people who can articulate who they are, their backgrounds, and their skills. Finding the right words is essential to showcasing the best of who you are and what you can add to the team.
As a job seeker, it's always vital that you leave a good first impression on your prospective employers. Using certain job interview tools, the words you use to describe yourself as an employee help employers effectively assess your job application and your overall would-be fit within the organisation.
In fact, with the increased hiring rate in the post-pandemic environment, job personality assessments and tests have become the tools utilized by many HR professionals in their process of vetting job applications.
For your part as a job seeker, here are some tips to help you find the most positive adjectives that you can use to tell something about yourself as an employee:
For instance, you may want to divide your areas of concern into 3 parts: the past, the present, and the future.
Zohrin, 28, a customer service representative (CSR) gunning for a promotion as a team leader, was asked by her deputy manager why she used the word “efficient” to describe herself as an employee.
Zohrin replied that she thought of herself as efficient because, as a CSR neophyte, she managed to pass the training without much supervision from her trainers. She explained that her time management skills are elite. For instance, she was named the top sales performer in their account. She did so while enrolling and completing a course as an assistant team leader.
Her past efficiency describes how she could perform in her future roles with the company.
When asked for one word to describe your personality, you should be ready with that one word that will “build your brand” as an employee. Use the word or set of words as the starting central point to “tailor your pitch.”
“I’m a communications professional with five years of experience in digital marketing and content creation. Passionate about anything digital, I took up a bachelor’s degree in Digital Marketing and an internship in content management. Throughout my work experiences, I have developed my skills in creative writing and project management. I believe these fit perfectly with what you are looking for.”
In this case, being passionate about anything digital seems like a pretty decent starting point for an interview.
In Malaysian culture, hierarchy is important. At work, Malaysians appreciate modesty, tenure-based respect, and adherence to rules and regulations. In finding the best adjectives to describe your personality, it's good practice to keep job interview etiquette in mind.
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Let’s say, a successful trainer for operations at a top BPO company in Malaysia is asked how he describes himself as an employee in one word. The trainer replies, “As an employee, I am a seed. You can put me anywhere in the organization and, for sure, I will grow.”
Certainly a good metaphor, right? Nevertheless, the adjective for this kind of attitude is adaptability or flexibility, which is illustrated by how a seed can grow with just the right conditions.
In our example, the way the trainer gave a great illustration of how adaptable he can be in different workplace settings or situations.
Here are some surefire tips you can use in job interviews:
The same study shows that in developing strengths in the workplace, employee engagement increased from 7% to 23%, performance increased from 8% to 18%, and the attrition rate became lower.
Related video: How to Answer the Question, “Tell Me About Yourself” by Christine Liu, Harvard Business Review
Yes, you need to write a resume summary. It should feature the words that best describe you as an employee. And it should be strategically placed on the resume. This creates a great first impression that will increase your chances of landing your dream job.
Here are some tips on how to make your resume summary sound better:
In the case of a cover letter, keep in mind that cover letters should show your communication style, your attitude, and your personality as an employee.
Here's one handy tip that will make your cover letter stand out. Research about the company you're applying to. Learn about their vision, mission, culture, and organisation. Knowing these things will help you craft your self-description better. It should help you create a list of self-descriptive words that are compatible with or complementary to the company’s vision, image, culture, and reputation.
For example, a top BPO company has branded itself as having a culture of teamwork. You can create a list of personality adjectives that best describe your collaborative skills or you as a team player.
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While business performance reviews are not required in Malaysia, they may still pop up when you least expect them to. You may want to make a dynamic list of words to best describe yourself just in case they do.
Here are some tips for you in creating a list of adjectives to use during your evaluations:
Practice networking etiquette. In Malaysia, it is common practice to have to follow local traditions even when it comes to networking. The networking etiquette in Malaysia gives importance, first and foremost, to people.
Here are a few tips that you can use for proper networking etiquette in your workplace:
These days, a social media profile is an integral part of creating your personal brand. As part of your digital footprint, your social media accounts will give the public a good introduction to who you are and the things that interest you.
According to the Digital 2023 Global Overview Report by Meltwater, the social media environment has become dynamic and diversified in Malaysia, with the country generating as much as 30% of positive media sentiment. Malaysians utilise social media to foster a sense of community and belongingness while encouraging personal growth and development through social media connections.
Read more about listing references on your resume and other job-related articles at JobStreet.com, the no.1 recruitment site in Malaysia.
This article provided you with a comprehensive listing of the best adjectives to describe personality, character, and competencies. Words that describe you as a person, employee, colleague, team player, and leader. But remember, you still have to assess yourself objectively. Reflect on your strengths and weaknesses. Recognize your passions and interests. Know your goals and highlight them using a few words.
Two important things to remember in your self-evaluation:
This article also offered other lists of the positive words for self-description in certain workplace settings and situations, such as job interviews, resumes and cover letters, performance reviews, and social media as well as part of your online profile.
Of course, you can always first simplify your self-description in one word as your central adjective, and then radiate from it other adjectives that would create a lasting impression on your prospective employers.
Understand that the words you use to describe yourself in the workplace serve the main purpose of landing your dream job. So make sure you do your research and know if the company you are applying with is offering the job you are looking for.
Also, always make sure you use self-descriptive words that give you an image of a person and an employee who observes proper local etiquette. Malaysians hold in high regard their local traditions and such local etiquette will make a great lasting impression on hiring managers.
Lack of confidence
Lack of focus on the job they are offering you
An unnecessarily long resume summary or resume objective
Failure to highlight your achievements and milestones
Coming off like an arrogant or unpleasant person in the interview
Research the company’s organisation and culture
Focus on your strengths
Be concise in describing yourself: offer particular events and experiences
Resources that improve your communication skills like those that develop your listening skills, and that let you practice your conversation skills regularly
Resources that let you develop basic organizational skills like online or face-to-face management seminars and workshops.
Use professional networking, whether conventional or unconventional
Create a social media profile
Describe yourself in simple terms
Use mind-mapping techniques such as having a central theme that contains related ideas of your self-description and the job description of the work you are applying for
Use your emotional intelligence to highlight your soft skills, particularly your collaborative skills that is a set of skills very much in demand by employers nowadays