6 Words You Should Never Use to Describe Yourself

Think about this word: “fascinating”. If someone described me as fascinating, I would be extremely flattered – and, admittedly, a little shocked! However, if I described myself as fascinating, you would think I was an idiot – and for good reason, too.

You should always be mindful of what words you actually use to describe yourself, and we’ve listed six of the worst you should always, always avoid!

See Also: How to Answer “How Would You Describe Yourself?”




1. Fearless

Come on, really? Everyone is afraid. Even soldiers and Navy SEALs, who are considered as fearless (and sometimes plain crazy), are sometimes afraid of scuttling cockroaches or speaking to a large audience. Never, ever describe yourself as fearless, especially during an interview as you will only portray yourself as cocky. You want to present yourself as confident and brave, showing that you are willing and ready to take up any and all challenges at work.

So, don’t say you’re fearless. You’re not. Brave? Maybe. But not fearless.

2. Generous

Adam Grant reminds us that “generosity is earned, not claimed” and to “leave it to other people to describe you as a giver – that’s the highest form of praise.”




Let me tell you a little secret. People who claim that they are honest, generous or trustworthy are anything but. Generous, honest or truly trustworthy people will never regard themselves as such – they are constantly under the impression that they could give or do more. Those who are actually generous always give without making a big deal out of it and never seek praise.

If you really are a big-hearted person, you should let others – not yourself – portray you as such.

3. Unique

Each person’s DNA is unique. Snowflakes are unique. You may consider yourself unique but your business or your education background probably are not, and that’s okay. Interviewers or customers sometimes don’t care so much about being unique; they want you to prove to them that you are just better than rest.

4. Passionate

I know many people have said this before me, but passion can never be claimed. Passion is displayed. To say that you are passionate about something makes you sound over-the-top. It’s better that you save your passion for your significant other. That person may truly deserve it and definitely won’t consider this an exaggeration.

Stating that you are passionate doesn’t add much value to your CV – it would be much better to talk about your achievements or experiences in the specific field you are passionate about.

5. Humble

“I’m a very humble person”. No, just no.

Calling yourself humble actually proves you are not. Bragging about your humbleness is very bizarre. So, I suggest you dump this crazy idea of trying to convince your interviewers that you are a very shy and modest human being – you will instantly lose your interviewer’s trust. Humble people never call themselves humble – they are simply too humble to even say it.

6. Guru / Legend / Ninja

Please, don’t ever try to be clever just for the sake of it – I’m pretty sure you are anything but. Don’t proclaim yourself as “guerrilla”, “ninja”, “egghead”, or “legend”. Stop trying way too hard to impress others – it never works. It’s unbelievable how much these are used, especially in social media. Do you even know what these words mean? Oh, you’re a “legend” now, are you?

See Also: How to Answer “Describe Yourself” in a Job Interview

There are always exceptions to these words above. Maybe you can manage to describe yourself as courageous, humble, or even a ninja without totally ruining your interview. But just be aware that there are other – safer – ways to show your skills, knowledge, and personality without making your interviewer roll their eyes.

Can you think of any other words that should never be used during an interview? Let us know in the comments section below!