20 Good Reasons For Leaving A Job (Examples For Application Included)

By Mike Simpson

UPDATED 5/18/2022

Once you take your first steps into the workforce, one thing is practically inevitable: you’ll have to leave a job eventually. Since that’s the case, nearly all candidates face the classic question, “Why did you leave your last job?” As you prepare an answer, it’s normal to wonder, “Are there good reasons for leaving a job? Or are certain reasons better than others?”

In reality, there are “good” reasons for leaving a job, at least in the eyes of hiring managers. That’s why you need to take this into consideration before your next interview. If you’re looking for some reason for leaving a job examples that won’t raise eyebrows, here’s what you need to know.

Why Having Good Reasons for Leaving a Job Is Crucial

When hiring managers ask, “Why did you leave your last job?” they’re usually trying to figure out a few key things. Did you leave for the right reasons? Was the decision planned and managed professionally or spontaneous and haphazard? Are you a person who is solid and reliable, or are you flighty and impulsive?

Ultimately an employer wants to know whether you are loyal, stable, responsible, and reasonable. How you left a past job can give the hiring manager indication of your work values and clues about your personality. Plus, it lets them determine if you’re a solid investment.

Since that’s the case, having good reasons for leaving a job is essential. Otherwise, when you describe why you left, the hiring manager may consider it a red flag, costing you the job.

Let’s Get the Heck Out of Dodge!

Jobs end for a whole multitude of reasons. There are jobs where you leave because you want to, and then there are times when you leave because you have to.

Anyway, when faced with having to answer the question, “Why did you leave your last job?” it’s understandable to have a moment (or two) of trepidation and uncertainty. The last thing you want to do is give any possible employer any reason at all to question hiring you.

Luckily, we’re going to show you that this question isn’t anywhere as scary as you think it is.

Brace Yourself, This Question Is Coming

The first thing you want to do is make sure you think about how you answer interview questions about why you left a job before you even get to the interview.

The more you consider it before you get to the interview (or even before you fill out the application), the better off you’ll be answering it! This isn’t the time to get defensive, or worse, talk trash. No employer wants to hear how awful your last job was, even if it was literally the worst job on the planet.

It’s also critical to keep in mind that this question is meant to honestly assess why you’re back on the market, not trip you up. So, instead of seeing it as a landmine, use it as yet another opportunity to demonstrate why YOU ARE THE PERFECT CANDIDATE!

Let’s look at a few different reasons why you might have left your last job.

20 Good Reasons for Leaving a Job Examples

1. Another Company Offered You a Better Deal

Leaving a former employer to take on work with a new employer should never affect your application status. If you left one job to take a position with another company for an increase in pay, a promotion, or simply because you wanted to work for a different company, those are all very valid reasons.

“I was offered a promotion with another company and accepted.”

2. You Didn’t Like What You Were Doing

Maybe the job wasn’t one you enjoyed doing, or the job changed from what you originally anticipated it to be. In this case, you want to make sure to avoid words like “quit” or “walked out.” Instead, try the following:

“I am currently looking for a position better matched to my skills and long-term career goals.”

3. You Have Other Life Goals You Want to Accomplish

It is perfectly acceptable to leave a job because you realize that you have other goals you want to accomplish. Prime examples of this include quitting a job to go back to school, travel, work on outside interests or hobbies, or even trying self-employment for a time.

Although changes like this might leave large gaps in your work history (especially in the case of going back to school), those gaps are not a reason for an employer to be concerned…especially if the ultimate goal was a desire for self-improvement!

“I went back to school to pursue a master’s degree program.”

4. Your Old Boss Is No Longer with the Company, and You Don’t “Vibe” with Your New Boss

This scenario is not unusual. As the dynamics in any company change, it can mean working with individuals who might not see eye to eye with you. Of course, we go back to our earlier comment about always keeping your answers positive.

“When my boss left, it made me realize that it was time for a change, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to move on as well.”

5. You’ve Been Working Toward a Promotion That Has Never Come

Being at the same job for years and never experiencing a promotion or feeling challenged can be incredibly frustrating. Rather than letting future employers know about that frustration, turn it into a positive!

“I realized that the opportunity to grow wasn’t available to me and that in order to continue to improve myself professionally, it was time to move on.”

6. You Are Overqualified and/or Under-Utilized

We are all on the quest to find the perfect job that satisfies all our needs. But sometimes, a job doesn’t require all you bring to the table, or you outgrow it along the way.

“Although it was a good job, I felt as though I had learned everything I could and wanted to move on to a new company where I can continue to grow professionally.”

7. You’re a Freelancer Looking for Full-Time Opportunities

Being a freelancer is a little different. You’re usually hired for the duration of an assignment and then free to accept other work once that assignment is complete. In this case, a simple “Completion of Freelance Assignment” is perfectly acceptable on a job application. When faced with this question in an interview, you can add a bit to that simple answer.

“As a freelancer, I am contracted for only as long as it takes to finish the task I have been assigned. At this time, I’m looking for employment with a company that allows me to use my professional experiences and skillsets in a long-term, mutually beneficial professional relationship.”

8. You’ve Had Personal Issues to Deal With

There are times when you have to step back from a job in order to take care of personal situations. This can be everything from personal health issues to taking care of other members of your family.

“I left my last job in order to take care of a family issue. The circumstances have changed, and I now find myself in a position where I’d like to reenter the workforce.”

9. You’ve Been Laid Off

Being laid off rarely hurts you. That’s especially true post-COVID, where as many as 15 percent of adults lost positions during the first few months of the pandemic.

Companies let employees go on occasion; that’s just the way it is. And hiring managers know that, so you can typically be very straightforward here.

“My position was eliminated, and I was let go. Although I no longer work with the company, my former manager is one of my strongest references and would be happy to answer any questions you might have about my performance and skills.”

10. You’re Part-Time But Want Full-Time Work

Many roles are inherently part-time, so thinking about leaving to secure full-time hours isn’t going to seem odd. Again, be open about your desire for more hours, and that’ll leave you well covered.

“My last position was part-time, limited to approximately 20 hours per week. At times time in my career, I feel it’s time to move onto a full-time position.”

11. The Environment Is Toxic

Leaving a job because the workplace was toxic isn’t a bad idea, but you do need to exercise caution when discussing the situation. Try something like:

“Ultimately, the company culture wasn’t a strong fit for my needs, so I’m seeking out opportunities that’ll be a better match.”

12. There’s a Values Misalignment

In some cases, a company isn’t toxic; it just isn’t well-aligned with your values. That’s what spurred a multitude of job changes post-pandemic, with around 60 percent of those who sought new opportunities looking for a better values match.

Again, while it is one of the good reasons for leaving a job, you need to express it properly.

“While I appreciated my time with the company, I feel my values align better with other employers. That’s part of what drew me to this role, as I believe it’s a great match.”

13. The Job Changed Along the Way

Just as people change over time, so do jobs. While you might evolve with the role, there’s also a chance that the shift in duties causes a misalignment, making a job change an attractive option.

“Over time, the duties associated with the role shifted dramatically, making it a poor fit for my career.”

14. You Prefer a Different Work Arrangement

During the pandemic, many people got to try working from home for the first time. Some found it was a great fit; others learned they prefer traditional workplaces. In either case, looking for new opportunities to find the right arrangement is definitely one of the best reasons for leaving a job.

“During the pandemic, I learned that I do best in an active workplace where I can collaborate spontaneously with colleagues. Since my last role went fully remote, it was no longer a great fit, so I’m seeking out other opportunities.”

15. It’s Time for a Career Change

A career change is a classic reason for leaving a job, so it’s a reason you can easily share during an interview.

“Currently, I’m working to take my career in a new direction, so I’m seeking out new opportunities that align with that goal.”

16. You Moved

Unless your job is fully remote, moving to a new location usually means quitting a job. Again, this is one of the reasons for leaving a job that typically won’t work against you.

“My last job wasn’t fully remote, so I wasn’t able to remain in the position after I moved to this city.”

17. Your Hours Were Cut

Whether your job was originally part-time or full-time, a reduction in hours usually means less take-home pay. Since that may not meet your needs, leaving the job is a logical path, one that hiring managers will understand.

“Due to shifts in demand, my current employer has reduced everyone’s hours permanently. Since that doesn’t meet my needs, I’m seeking out new opportunities.”

18. You’re Partially Retiring

If you worked full-time previously but want to shift into a partial retirement and transition into a part-time role, quitting your last job may be unavoidable.

“At this time, I’m looking to transition into the next phase of my life. For me, that means shifting out of a full-time job and into a part-time position, allowing me to provide value to an employer on a smaller scale.”

19. The Company Has Inconsistent Schedules

Having a job where scheduled shifts rotate, mandatory overtime comes with little notice, or you otherwise can’t plan on a schedule makes life hectic. As a result, it can be an example of a good reason for leaving a job.

“In my current position, schedule fluctuations prevent me from being able to effectively manage my personal responsibilities. I’m seeking out opportunities with a bit more consistency and ample notice if changes are required.”

20. You’ve Been Fired

While saying you were fired isn’t easy, you don’t want to lie about it either. Instead, you need to be strategic, ensuring you don’t bad mouth the employer or paint yourself in a poor light.

“Although I was hired, it was clear as the job progressed that what was expected of me and what I was hired to do were two different things. When it became clear that they needed someone with more experience, I was let go. Although at the time I was devastated, I realize now this was an opportunity to move my career in a new direction and continue my professional education.”

What Should You Put on The Application?

Ok, so now you know how to answer the question “Why Did You Leave Your Last Job” when faced with it during a job interview. But what happens if you get surprised with it before you even get an interview?

Certain companies will require that you give reasons for leaving your last position on your job application. While this isn’t very common, you should still be prepared for it just in case it is a requirement.

Fortunately, you can use the examples above to help you give the best answer on your application. And thanks to space restrictions, you can give a condensed version.

Using “Reason #3” from above, you could simply put on your application: Left to complete Masters Degree.


There is a good chance the hiring manager will want to dig into this question deeper during the interview, so don't feel like you have to write a 200-word response to the question on your application (especially if there is only space for a ten word response!).  The most important thing to do is to quickly summarize your reasons for leaving your last job while keeping it positive, so that whoever is screening the applications doesn't have a reason for putting your application on the "no pile".

What to Tell Your Current Boss If You Are Leaving

Telling your current boss that you’re leaving is one of the most uncomfortable situations that you could face in your career. Unfortunately, sending an email or a text message isn’t going to cut it, as you run the risk of being viewed as unprofessional.

So, think of it like a band-aid… rip it off all at once! Walk into his or her office and ask for a moment of their time. Close the door and sit down. Look them in the eye confidently and be open and honest.

In most cases, seems like it is going to be a lot worse than it is. If you remain calm and professional, 99 times out of 100, your boss will totally understand. In fact, the majority of the time, they will have seen it coming already.

What if your boss starts yelling or says something derogatory? Don’t sweat it. All that should do is reaffirm your reasons for leaving.

Want to make the process as painless as possible? Here are some quick tips.

1. Be Direct

Don’t go into any long stories to try to delay the inevitable. Get right to the point.

2. Give Reasons and Be Honest

It’s important that you give your manager an honest response, but you don’t want to be disrespectful. After all, you never know who your boss could know in other industries, so use the tips about how to address the question above as a guide.

3. Express Appreciation

Thank them for the opportunity and what they have taught you during your time with the company.

4. Close It Out

Go over any “housekeeping,” such as what your last day will be, and also answer any questions your boss might have about the transition. When this is wrapped up, offer a firm handshake and say thank you once again.

Putting It All Together

At this point, you should know what are good reasons for leaving a job and have some reason for leaving a job examples that can help you prepare for your next interview. Just remember, answering this question can be a tricky balance between telling the truth and managing to paint yourself in the best light possible.

Always be honest, be positive, and keep your answer short. That way, you have the best chance of impressing.

And as always… Good luck!

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  • 5 word-word-for-word answers to this tough interview question including the following scenarios:
    • You didn't enjoy the work
    • You needed a change
    • You needed more money
    • You were fired
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  • 20 more great reasons you can use to enter into your job application that aren't found in this article.
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About The Author

Mike Simpson

Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com. His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan, Penn State, Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.