Whether you're describing yourself during an interview, writing a resume/CV, or talking about the personality of a subordinate or colleague being considered for promotion, you'll find it useful to familiarize yourself with the 20 common adjectives below. All these adjectives describe specific aspects of someone's personality, specifically the areas of someone's personality that determines their suitability for a particular job or type of work.

Some of the adjectives below have similar meanings. It's important, therefore, that you learn the minor differences in meaning if you are to use them accurately. If you are unclear about the differences, consult a good monolingual advanced learner's dictionary.


wanting to do something very much, and not letting anyone stop you


doing a job seriously and with a lot of effort


working hard with care and effort


describes someone who is good and honest and won't harm you


enthusiastic about doing something


able to be trusted or believed


always liking and supporting someone or something, sometimes when other people do not


listening or watching carefully and showing that you are interested


always doing your work with a lot of care


describes someone who keeps pushing for something and does not give up easily


having a lot of ideas and enthusiasm; energetic and forceful


having or involving a lot of energy


good at thinking of and doing new and difficult things, especially things that will make money


showing a great deal of interest in something and a willingness to get involved


determined to win or succeed and using forceful action to achieve victory or success


always behaving or happening in a similar, especially positive, way


describes someone who is able to plan things carefully and keep things tidy:


describes someone who takes action by causing change and not only reacting to change when it happens


describes people who do things in a very ordered, careful way


having very strong feelings or emotions

Note: When attending a job interview or writing a resume/CV, make sure you choose the adjectives that best suit your potential position. "Aggressive" might catch the eye of a law firm, but would likely scare an employer in the customer service field.

Useful Phrases:

Below are some useful phrases in which the above adjectives could be used:

Do you consider yourself to be .......?
How can you become more .......?
How is being ........... useful in your job?  
Who is the most ........... person that you know?
Would you describe yourself as being .........?
In your CV you describe yourself as being ........... Give me an example of how you showed this.
I would describe myself as being .........
I believe this position requires someone who is ..........
We are looking for someone who is .........
If you are not .........., please don't apply.
Paul has shown himself to be .............