Ambition is the strong desire to achieve something. It’s a driving force that pushes you to take action and achieve your goals. It’s what motivates you to get out of bed in the morning and work towards your dreams.
It’s also an important skill to demonstrate to potential employers on a resume. Ambitious employees tend to be go-getters who are always looking for ways to improve their skills and knowledge. This can lead to them being more productive and successful in their roles. So, employers love them!
In this article, we’ll look at some examples of how you can demonstrate your ambition to others.
Examples of Ambition
1. To be the best at something – An ambitious person doesn’t settle for second best. They’re always striving to be at the top of their field. This could include being the best in your career field, the best parent, the best friend, or the best in a particular sport.
2. To aspire to something great – An ambitious person has big goals and isn’t afraid to pursue them. A potential employer wants to see this. They want to guide you on your journey rather than have you come to work to do the bare minimum because you’re not looking for anything more out of life.
3. To always be looking for a promotion – Explain why it’s good to want to get a promotion. An ambitious person is always proactively looking to improve their situation and move up in the world. This can be really beneficial for a company as it shows that you’re willing to work hard and take on more responsibility.
4. To take on new challenges – An ambitious person is always looking for ways to challenge themselves. Examples of new challenges you could take on in your life include learning a new skill, taking on a new hobby, or traveling to new places.
5. To be well-rounded – An ambitious person usually doesn’t just want to be good at one thing. They’re often ambitious to be the best they can be in all areas of their life. We can sometimes call these sorts of people ‘renaissance men’ (or women!).
6. To be passionate about what you do – Ambitious people have passion. They dive into their tasks head-first. Demonstrate your ambition to an employer by talking about your passions – examples of passions include sport, music, and travel!
7. To desire success – Too often, people are discouraged from saying out loud that they want success. It can feel embarrassing to say it because, if you fail, then the failure will be public. But it can also be an attractive trait to an employer if you desire success because they’ll want to leverage your desire to help their company succeed.
8. To want to make a difference – People who want to make a difference will always be looking for ways to improve the world around them. Examples of things you can do to try to make a difference in your community include volunteering, donating to charity, or campaigning for a cause you believe in.
9. To be persistent – Ambitious people don’t give up easily. Their ambition is what carries them forward and helps them to get through those hard times when others will quit.
10. To want to break a record – There is a subculture of people who want to show that they hold the record for something. For example, you could set yourself the goal of holding the record for the longest time spent spinning a basketball on your finger (you’ll have to beat 4 hours and 15 minutes, set in 2006). By showing your goals like this, you’ll demonstrate you’re an ambitious person.
11. To have a vision – People with ambition often have a clear vision for what they want in their life. Your vision for your career could be to become the CEO of a company, to start your own business, or to rise to the top in a specific industry.
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12. To be self-motivated – Ambition and self-motivation are almost synonymous. People who have a goal that they want bad enough generally have the motivation to get up in the morning and take those small steps required to reach that vision.
13. To want to be extraordinary – Many people want to live a quiet, ordinary life with their family and friends. That’s great if it’s what brings you genuine joy. But often, employers want to see that you have the drive to grow your status in life and stand out from a crowd.
14. To desire wealth – People who want to be wealthy are often driven more than people who are content living a quiet upper middle-class life. This makes for a great trait for an employee. The boss will know that you’re going to want to climb the ranks in search of those higher-paying positions in the company.
15. To want to be famous – The desire to be famous can be an example of ambition, but be careful not to come off as vain or self-absorbed. Explain that you want to be famous to achieve something such as to help promote a cause or change the world with your influence.
16. To want to start a business – People generally want to start businesses because they have an innovative idea or they want to forge their own destiny. You could explain on your resume that you’d love to start your own business one day, and this job is like an apprenticeship in what it takes to do that.
17. To want to travel the world – Many ambitious people have a desire to explore and see as much of the world as possible. This might make you an attractive employee because you may be willing to take on assignments in other countries or relocate for the company. But, it might also scare off the employer because they might realize you want to take a lot of time off to travel!
Related: Find out how to show integrity to an employer
18. To want to be an expert in something – In my early 20s, my ambition was based on my desire to be an expert in education. I was so driven by that goal that I wanted to get a Ph.D. in education, which I eventually achieved.
19. To be healthy and fit – A smart goal to have is the desire to be healthy. Demonstrating this to a potential employer can help to show them that you’re a well-rounded person who looks after their body and mind.
20. To want to write a book – Writing a book is a big undertaking. If you have already started writing it, it can show your potential employer that you don’t just have ambition, but you act upon it and take steps to reach that goal.
21. To want to retire young – The FIRE movement is a movement of people wanting to retire early. These people put away a large percentage of their money every month and invest it wisely to reach that goal. These people are extremely ambitious to reclaim time in their lives to spend it on their own interests, not at work.
Related: See some examples of how to demonstrate honesty
Examples of Ambitious People
1. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is one of the most successful talk show hosts in the world. She’s also a Philanthropist, actress, and producer. She’s been quoted as saying:
“Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time.” (Source)
This shows that she’s a very driven person who has achieved success by turning her ambition into action.
2. Bill Gates
Bill Gates’s ambition was to become the richest man in the world. And he achieved it in 1992 with a record wealth (for the era) of $6.2 billion. He’s now worth over $100 billion. But his ambition didn’t stop there. He’s also passionate about philanthropy and has given away billions of dollars to charitable causes.
3. Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela is one of the most famous political activists in history. He fought against apartheid in South Africa and was eventually elected as the country’s first black president. He’s quoted as saying:
“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.” (Source)
Mandela is so well respected because his ambition wasn’t for himself. It was all about having a better world for everyone.
4. Barack Obama
Barack Obama’s ambition was to become the first black president of the United States.
This is such a remarkable ambition because it had never been achieved. He had the tenacity to strive nevertheless.
He achieved his ambition in 2008. He’s now a bestselling author and has started his own foundation called My Brother’s Keeper Alliance which is a non-profit designed to help underprivileged black men.
5. Elon Musk
Elon musk’s ambition is to change the world and make it a more environmentally friendly place. He’s the founder of Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity. And he has plans to colonize Mars.
He’s also probably highly motivated by money.
I love this quote by Musk, which demonstrates what it’s like to be a highly ambitious person:
“There have to be reasons that you get up in the morning and you want to live. Why do you want to live? What’s the point? What inspires you?” (Source)
Why is Ambition an Important Trait for an Employee?
Ambition is an important trait for an employee because it shows that they are driven to achieve success. It also demonstrates that they are willing to put in the extra effort to reach their goals.
An ambitious employee is someone who is always looking for ways to improve and grow. They are never satisfied with mediocrity and are always striving to be the best at what they do.
And that’s exactly what an employer wants.
Ambitious employees usually also have a strong sense of purpose. This means that they are more likely to be engaged and motivated in their jobs, which can lead to them being more productive and successful.
being ambitious is a trait that will help you succeed in life. It shows that you are driven to achieve success and are willing to put in the extra effort to reach your goals. Being ambitious also demonstrates that you have a strong sense of purpose and are more likely to be engaged and motivated in your job. Demonstrate that you’re ambitious in a resume or job interview by talking about some of the ambition examples listed in this article – but make sure you pick the ones relevant to you and your life.
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.