Naming your ambitions is not always easy. When you don't know exactly what your ambitions are, it is also more difficult to prioritise certain goals, which can influence your job satisfaction. If you are looking for a new professional challenge, it is advisable to also briefly articulate your ambitions on your CV. But how do you do that? Thomas Vieuxjean, senior consultant at staffing specialist Walters People, offers some tips. 

Ambitions go hand in hand with your strengths 

Your ambitions are about how you want to make a career, and where you want to be within a few years. Thomas: "They give you the drive to complete projects successfully. When you finally achieve your goal, you get new energy from it. In addition, ambitions are often linked to your strengths. To know those, you can find out how you achieved your greatest successes.  Also think about how you can use those strengths again to set and achieve new goals. This will help you stay productive and continue to grow." Note that ambitions are only a plus when they are realistic, otherwise they can be more likely to backfire.  

Make a concrete plan or get help 

Taking your strengths into account helps to define your ambitions more clearly, but there are still things you can do. "For example, think about where you want to be in five years and draw up a career plan. Do this as concretely as possible so it is easier to work towards your goal in steps. 'What do you want to learn?' 'What job do you want to do?' and 'What specific steps do you need to take to reach that goal?' are questions you can ask yourself here. By writing everything down clearly, you can always refer to your goals when you can no longer see the wood for the trees," says Thomas.   

If you are not convinced of your own plan or do not know how to get started, you can also seek professional help. "For example, many employees get guidance from a 'career coach'. Friends, family and colleagues can also help you pinpoint your ambitions. For example, ask them what you are good at, or what job they think would suit you best. They sometimes have a better idea of what you are like and what you are capable of than you yourself" Thomas knows.  

What ambitions do you mention? 

If you are an employee with ambition, that plays to your advantage. After all, companies see you as driven and productive when you know what you want, and that makes you very attractive in their eyes. Therefore, it is not a bad idea to also mention your ambitions on your CV, and to adjust them slightly according to the position you are applying for. "Usually, they will fit pretty well with the job you are applying for. After all, you respond to a vacancy because you think the job is for you. Still, it is possible that some ambitions may fit one job better than another. For example, you might apply for a temporary position because no job has become available yet at the employer you really want to work for. Then it may be better not to mention certain ambitions on your CV," says Thomas. 

Stand out without being unrealistic 

Once you have decided which ambitions you want to list on your CV, you need to make sure you stand out without overdoing it or being unrealistic in your expectations. "It is important to avoid clichés and be as specific as possible. For example, don't just say 'I am very ambitious', but describe why that is. For example, do not say: 'I want to be CEO of this company within a year', but rather: 'My ambition is to develop myself, learn a lot and grow quickly in the company'.  That way, you show that you are career-oriented," says Thomas.  

It is also important to put your ambitions in the right place on your CV. A CV usually consists of 3 parts: your personal details, your education and your work experience. Ambitions and goals don't fit any of these. Therefore, it is recommended to add a fourth section. This could be a 'personal profile' or an 'about me' title in which you tell a bit more about your personality, your goals and your ambitions. 

Both on cover letter and CV 

Finally, it is good to remember that it is best to state your ambitions on both your cover letter and CV. "A common mistake is to only mention your ambitions on your cover letter. After all, many employers open the CV first, and only then the cover letter. And that is normal, because from a CV a recruiter can see perfectly whether the candidate is suitable for the job or not. If you only add your ambitions in the cover letter, there is a chance that they will be overlooked, and that would be a shame," Thomas concludes.   


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