Picking a few choice words to describe yourself on a resume, cover letter or in a job interview is harder than it sounds.
Get too generous on the self-praise and those well-intentioned adjectives could leave people thinking you’re full of it, but be too vague and you’ll sell yourself short.
Luckily, we can help narrow the field. Here are seven words that are great for someone else to say about you, but which you should never use to describe yourself.
1 – Passionate
Passionate people don’t tell other people they’re passionate, they show them they are. It’s pretty clear when someone loves what they do or sincerely believes in a cause or a project, and ultimately actions speak louder than words.
So don’t use it. It’ll come across as insincere and clichéd.
2 – Funny
Humour is subjective, so it’s usually a big mistake to pitch yourself as funny.
As a self-confessed comedian, there’s an expectation you’ll be getting LOLs left right and centre. But again, people will soon realise just how funny you are (or aren’t) without any prompts, so just continue being your usual entertaining and hilarious self and let them figure it out.
3 – Adaptable
The human race evolved out of the sea a couple of hundred thousand years ago and has managed to survive and thrive against all the odds since then. Yep, we’re a pretty adaptable bunch.
Your ability to ‘adapt’ to a new work environment is, therefore, fairly standard. And 100% expected.
4 – Dynamic
Dynamic is one of those corporate buzzwords that has been so overused it now means absolutely nothing.
For the last decade, millions of dynamic individuals have applied for jobs in dynamic organisations and have sweated through awkward interviews trying to articulate examples of their incredible dynamism.
So god help you if you’re not dynamic; everyone else is.
5 – Creative
Some people are much more creative than others, it’s true.
But to save themselves having to shout that fact from the rooftops, they’ll generally have a great portfolio of work that showcases concrete examples of their talent.
On the other hand, confidently asserting that you specialise in ‘developing creative business solutions’ sounds like you’re an expert at fudging numbers, sweeping things under the carpet or stabbing your co-workers in the back.
6 – Bubbly
Sure, getting a new job is exciting and you want to show just how excited and happy you’ll be in a new workplace. But describing yourself as bubbly can come across as ditzy.
So don’t spell it out. Being friendly and easy to get along with comes through naturally when you interact with interviewers and others.
7 – Generous
The most generous people don’t claim to be or seek accolades from other people for their philanthropy.
So steer clear of this one, and instead showcase your caring nature through your actions.
Image: Tim Greenfield, via Flickr