How to Describe Yourself

How to Describe Yourself

Most of us aren’t comfortable with the idea of describing ourselves in any context. There’s lots of different reasons why you may need to be good at this. Online dating profiles are little more than self-descriptions with a few optional pictures and some emoticons. Even more serious–lots of job applications these days require you to describe yourself in a certain number of words. And what about meeting someone in public that you’ve never seen before? How would you tell them who to look for if you’re shy about describing yourself?

Here’s a guide to describing yourself. If you lack confidence or don’t really like yourself all that much, you may struggle with this at first, but I say “Fake it ’til you make it.”

1. Tailor Your Description to the VenueHow to Describe Yourself

The way you describe yourself to a prospective employer and the way you describe yourself to potential dates are two very different things. If you are describing yourself as part of a job application, you’ll want to tailor the adjectives to show off your compatibility with the company. Words like “hard-working”, “goal-oriented”, and “independent” are not words you’d want to use in an online dating profile, but they’d probably work great on a job app. Same goes for good adjectives to use for a dating profile–you wouldn’t want to tell an employer that you’re “looking for love” or that you have “a charming personality.”

2. Enlist the Help of Friends and Family

You may struggle with describing yourself, but you’d probably have no trouble at all describing your brother or your best friend. That’s why getting someone close to you to help you describe yourself is a great way to flesh out your description. Someone outside of yourself will help you see yourself from another person’s perspective. Don’t feel bad about getting help from someone else . . . the “describe yourself” box on your job application isn’t an essay question or a term paper. There’s nothing saying you can’t get a little assistance.

3. Tell the Truth

If describing yourself didn’t mean anything, you could fill your past with degrees from Ivy League schools, contracts with worldwide modeling companies, and daring adventures on the peak of Mt. Everest. Since your description is going to be read by someone, be it a future employer or your future wife, you want to tell the truth, rigorously. For a dating profile, you should admit to being fat (if you’re fat) or nerdy (if you’re nerdy) the same way you should admit to getting an online MBA from University of Phoenix if you’re applying for a job. The truth is always best, especially when it comes time to describe ourselves.

At some point in your life, you’re going to be asked to describe yourself. If you shy away from it, or don’t prepare for the possibility, you’ll probably flub it and look like a jerk. Take a long look in the mirror, read over your resume, and put together a brief self-description, leaving it as a mental note at the back of your mind. You never know when you might need it.