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Five Keywords to Describe Yourself for a Job Interview

by Sara Mahuron, studioD

Landing the interview is just the beginning. You still need to ace the interview itself. This means being prepared and ready to sell yourself on all counts. While you may not be a psychic -- you can prepare to answer some of the tough questions you might be asked. Turn your greatest assets and strengths into keywords that will make an impact so you are ready for anything, including describing yourself in five words.

Mind Dump

Give yourself some options by engaging in a "mind dump." Think freely, writing down all the words that describe you. Think of how others would or have described you. Jot down the words your coworkers use to describe you. Include the words your boss, neighbor, best friend or family would use to describe you. Ask others for input -- a colleague might think of words that you never would have. This "mind dump" will turn in to a list of your assets. These are what you have to offer the employer -- choose five.

Fish for Clues

Look closely at the job description and mark or write down all the words that describe what the employer is looking for. Ask yourself what kind of qualities, skills or accomplishments are needed to perform the job description. This list tells you the keywords the employer is looking for. Rank these in order of importance. Now that you have a cheat-sheet -- match your qualities, skills and assets up to the ones the employer is looking for and choose five. Voila, your stock just went up.

Top Skills Every Employer Needs

Face it, some skills are simply more desirable than others. In the article "What Do Employers Really Want," authors Randall and Katharine Hansen list the skills employers find most desirable. Skills in communication, listening, research, multi-tasking, leadership, diversity, creativity and collaboration made this list. Additionally, values such as honesty, dedication, work ethic, reliability, loyalty and passion are in high demand. Adopt some of these as keywords to describe yourself -- choose those that apply to you and the job you want.

Play a Wild Card

Use this otherwise mundane opportunity to show some personality. Add a bit of humor or wit into the mix, without spelling it out for the interviewer. If you have done your research and know you share a hobby, throw "weekend golf pro" or "world traveler" into the mix. Or add "comedian" to show your humor. Give four relevant and desirable keywords, but be creative with the last one.

About the Author

Sara Mahuron specializes in adult/higher education, parenting, budget travel and personal finance. She earned an M.S. in adult/organizational learning and leadership, as well as an Ed.S. in educational leadership, both from the University of Idaho. Mahuron also holds a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in international studies-business and economics.

Photo Credits

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