Career Development

How to Talk About Reasons for Leaving a Job With Employers

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When you interview for a new job or are new to a company, it’s common for interviewers and employers to ask why you left your last job. How you talk about reasons for leaving a job can tell employers about your values and how you handle challenging situations so it is important that you are prepared. This article shows you how you can talk about your reasons for leaving previous jobs with employers.

What are common reasons for leaving a job?

Your explanation for leaving a previous position should be easy for your interviewer to understand. Popular reasons for leaving a job include:

  • You are seeking professional growth
  • You want a more challenging position
  • You want to feel more valued in your role
  • You are looking for a corporate culture that aligns with your values
  • You are planning a career change
  • You moved to a new area
  • You were laid off by your previous employer

How to talk about reasons why you left a job to employers

Follow these steps to prepare to talk about reasons for leaving a job with employers:

1. Firstly, consider how leaving your previous job was aligned with your career goals 

First, think about your career plan, core values and ideal work environment. For example, if your previous job didn’t offer career advancement, you can explain that you want to work for a company that offers growth opportunities. 

2. Next, be clear and concise when discussing your previous job

Second, your explanation for your reasons why you left a previous job should be simple and clear. Only share necessary information to explain your reasons and keep additional details to a minimum. Try to answer the question in two or three sentences that demonstrate your interest in working with the potential employer. 

3. Lastly, stay positive about why you left your previous job 

Lastly, try to make your response as positive as possible given your situation. Taking an optimistic approach when discussing your previous roles can make you appear confident and poised, which are attractive qualities to employers. 

Example reasons why you left a previous job

Sample answers to the question, ‘Why did you leave your job?’ can help you prepare an answer for employers in a simple and positive way. Here are common example reasons why people leave a job previous job: 

  • I am seeking professional growth
  • I want a more challenging position
  • I want to feel more valued in my role
  • I am looking for a corporate culture that aligns with my values
  • I am planning for a career change
  • I relocated to a new area
  • I experienced a layoff

I am seeking professional growth

Professional growth as a primary goal can allow you to position yourself as a good candidate for a company that encourages internal growth. For example:

Example: ‘I want to work for an organization that offers professional growth. When I was researching this company, I saw that you offer a career development program for different positions. I am very interested in taking part in additional courses and training opportunities that could help me contribute more to your company.’

I want a more challenging position

Explaining that you want more challenges at work shows that you constantly seek to learn more while maintaining good performance. Your explanation can also help you appear ambitious and determined. 

Example: ‘I am looking for a position that challenges me to improve my skills. Constantly learning new skills helps me achieve the best results at work. I like knowing I accomplished something at the end of each workday.’

I want to feel more valued in my role

It is natural to want to feel like you’re a valuable part of a team. Your answer should focus on how the potential employer could make you feel valued. 

Example: ‘I want to work for an organization that truly values its employees. I noticed on your website that you have a monthly lunch for the top performers for each department. Does this company have any other programs that help incentivize employees?’

I am looking for a corporate culture that aligns with my values

As a professional with your own set of core values, you probably want to work for a company with a culture and mission that aligns with your beliefs. With this reason, you can position yourself as a top candidate for a mission-driven company with a culture that fits your values. 

Example: ‘I want to work for a company that shares my core values. One of my biggest values is the ability to be creative, and it looks like your business allows for some freedom to try new things. I would love to learn more about the company culture and how I could contribute.’

I am planning for a career change

Many people change professions or seek new lines of work once or more during their careers. To demonstrate your commitment to your new career path, explain how you have approached the transition and what steps you have taken to prepare for your new career. 

Example: ‘I have been planning to change careers from healthcare to graphic design for two years. During that time, I earned a graphic design certificate and performed volunteer work where I helped design advertisements for nonprofit organizations. I provided a link to my online portfolio with examples of my work in my resume. With my experience and certification, I believe I could be a great junior graphic designer at your company.’

I relocated to a new area

Moving to a new area for personal reasons or pursuing more job opportunities is common. You can give a short explanation for your move and what you hope to achieve in the new city.

Example: ‘I recently moved to this area with my family. I am excited to take part in the thriving technology community here, and I have already connected with two professional groups. I believe I can be a successful network administrator at your company.’

I experienced a layoff

You can take an optimistic approach to a layoff by focusing on the future. Mention the objectives you met and contributions you made at your previous company before shifting the conversation to the new opportunities you anticipate. 

Example: ‘My department restructured, causing me to lose my job. I enjoyed working closely with my team to develop accounting practices. I am looking forward to finding a more challenging position at a mission-driven company.’