10 Good Reasons For Leaving A Job

By Mike Simpson

In life they say all good things (and bad things) must come to an end…and in the job market, that can ring especially true.

Are you in a job that you plan on leaving?

Have you already left and are actively in the market looking for a new position?

Unless you’ve never worked a day in your life ever, eventually everybody with a job will all find themselves having to answer the question, “Why did you leave your last job? or having to give your current employer reasons for leaving a job. (Check out our “exit interview” article.)

So when can you expect to have to deal with these scenarios, and what is the best way to deal with this tricky situation?

There are three main scenarios where this can happen:

  1. You are in a job interview and have been asked the question “Why did you leave your last job?”
  2. You are applying for a new job and one of the requirements on the job application is to give the reasons you left your last job.
  3. You are leaving your current job and need to give your current boss a reason for you leaving.

Here’s the good part though.

Once you learn how to properly describe your reasons for leaving for one of the scenarios listed above, you can apply the same logic to the other two.

In our case, we’ll start with the job interview, and then you’ll see that you’ll already have the answer when it comes to the job application and the conversation you’re going to need to have with your current boss.

P.S. To ensure a graceful exit from your job check out blog post “How to quit your job.”

1) During An Interview: Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?

There are generally three things a hiring manager is trying to figure out about you when they ask this question:

  1. Did you leave for the right reasons? Are you a person who is solid and reliable or are you flighty and impulsive? Did you leave because you were offered another position at another company or did you wake up one day and decide you were quitting to pursue your dreams of alpaca racing? Ultimately an employer wants to know are you loyal, stable, responsible and/or reasonable.   This can also roll into your work values. Did you leave your job because you felt underutilized or unappreciated? Was that a result of your overblown sense of importance or because you had truly achieved as much with a company as you could possibly achieve. Did you outgrow the role professionally because of your skills and abilities or did your ego outgrow the role?
  1. Did you leave on your own or were you asked to leave? If you left on your own, again, the employer wants to make sure it’s for the right reasons. If you were asked to leave, was it because of performance or integrity issues, or if it was due to other circumstances like downsizing, mergers, or a whole host of other, non-performance related issues.
  1. Did you leave as a professional? When you left, did you do it in such a way that you are still on good terms with your former employer or are you officially “persona non gratis?” Were you escorted out of the office by security? Best case scenario: your former boss is one of your references. Worst case scenario: Your boss is the star witness in your upcoming criminal case.

This is always a great way for a potential new employer to figure out that not only are you a good employee, but that you’ve got solid positive relationship skills, something which is always a highly sought after quality in the professional world.

Get Our Why Did You Leave Your Last Job Cheat Sheet!

BONUS PDF CHEAT SHEET: Download our "Why Did You Leave Your Last Job PDF Cheat Sheet" that gives you:

  • 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
    • And more!
  • PLUS: 20 more great reasons you can use to enter into your job application that aren't found in this article. PLUS 15 reasons you SHOULD NOT use!


Let’s Get the Heck Out Of Dodge!

Jobs end for a whole multitude of reasons.   If you’re a freelancer, it could be you’ve completed the task you were hired for and it’s time to move on. If you’re a full time salaried employee, it can be a bit more difficult.

There are jobs where you leave because you want to…and then there are times when you leave because you have to. Neither is an easy situation…but it also doesn’t have to be an impossible one…

(And while we are talking about actually leaving a job… do you know how to write a proper resignation letter?  No?  Then head over to our article “How To Write a Resignation Letter” to get our tips for making this difficult situation much easier!)

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 this before you even get to the interview.

Now would be an excellent time to read “Job Interview Questions and Answers 101”, the absolute best interview question resource available on the internet. We give you our formula for answering any job interview question perfectly, including “Why did you leave your last job?”.

Remember all that prep we tell you to do? All that research? All those practice questions and scenarios?

Well…this question is no di