The Best Way to Answer Why You’re Leaving Your Job

by Marcianne Kuethen
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If you’re thinking about leaving your job, you’re not alone. It’s a candidate’s market, so lots of employees are keeping their options open. There are many logical reasons for why you might be searching for a different job. However, your next employer will view your departure from a different perspective. If you left your last job, will you leave them, too? Because they’ll be investing a lot to bring you onboard, they’re going to want to understand why you’re making the switch. But what if your reasons for leaving don’t put you in the best light? Since it’s important to respond honestly, what’s the best way to answer why you’re leaving your job?

Some answers are easier than others for an employer to hear. For example, you might be looking for more opportunities to grow and develop your skills. Or you wish for a closer commute, a more intimate organization, a better fit, or more flexible hours. Nothing’s wrong with those reasons as long as your answer can sincerely begin with, “I appreciate my current employer,” to set the stage for whatever reasons follow. The key is to speak positively about your past employer and co-workers, if possible.

But what if you can’t? Here’s some advice from “If you loathe your current job or former employer and position…First, try to muster up a kind, true statement about your employer. Then, consider what you’ve learned from this disappointing work situation. Bonus points if you can loop in why the position at hand will be a better match.”

For reasons that may be harder for an employer to hear, such as getting fired, it’s still important to be honest and also express what you’ve learned from the situation. For example, “I was fired because I allowed myself to get pulled into other people’s projects and not focus on my own work. I learned to stop trying to please my co-workers and focus on my own responsibilities instead.”

The best way to answer why you’re leaving your job isn’t a specific set of words. It’s a gracious, humble attitude.  Use non-emotional, non-judgmental language and refuse to bad-mouth your employer, advises Mary Ellen Slayter, Monster’s career advice expert. Regardless of your reasons, you’ll come off looking strong, secure, and employable!

Candidates, do we have the most current version of your resume? If not, click here to post it, and visit our job board while you’re at it! You or a friend might be a good fit for one of our open positions.

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