Are you tired of your current job and considering making a move? You’re not alone! Sometimes, it’s just time to move on to a new opportunity. But what are the best reasons to leave a job? What do you say when you’re asked in a job interview, “Why do you want to leave your current job?”
The most professional, valid reason for leaving a job shouldn’t reflect poorly on you. The last thing you want is to raise red flags to a prospective employer about your qualities or circumstances.
We’ve put together a list of 10 good reasons for leaving a job. These are some solid justifications when you’re ready to make a change and are in the process of job search.
Whether you’re writing a job application or preparing for a job interview, these reasons will give clear guidance on how to explain your decision to leave. Let’s explore the top 10 reasons for leaving a job!
It’s important to know that the reasoning behind leaving a job can make or break your job application. When a hiring manager asks about the reasons for leaving a job, they’re trying to understand your career goals and if you left on good terms with your previous employer.
Your explanation of why you left a job can give the interviewer insight into your idea of job satisfaction and engagement. It can also provide information about your future career goals and what you hope to gain from a new position. So, prepare your response this interview question well in advance!
1. To Advance My Career
Are you looking to take your career to the next level? Do you feel that you’ve outgrown your position and are ready for new challenges? If so, advancing your career is a great reason to leave your job. Here are some examples of how you might articulate your ambitions in a job application or interview.
I am seeking a new job that offers more chances for career growth and advancement. At the moment, I feel that I’ve reached somewhat of a dead end in terms of roles and responsibilities. I’m eager for new challenges and feel this job opening could be a great opportunity.
I am looking for a position that provides a career path and future promotion opportunities based on performance. In my current employment, it’s unclear how I’ll be able to move forward and achieve career goals.
I am interested in a role that allows me to take on more responsibilities and work on larger projects. In my previous role, I felt somewhat constrained. Basically, I’d love to be able to do more if given the chance.
2. To Seek New Challenges
Are you looking for new and exciting challenges? Do you feel your job has become routine? If so, seeking new challenges or a career change are very good reasons to leave a job. Here are examples of how you might talk about wanting to take on challenges in a job application or interview.
I am seeking new challenges to continue my growth in this field. My current role has become a little too routine. I feel that I would benefit from more opportunities to learn and take on new projects.
I am looking for a new job that will allow me to expand my skill set and tackle new challenges. What I’m doing now is interesting but also quite limited. I’d love the chance to broaden my experiences.
I am eager for a new challenge that will test me both professionally and personally. I felt my last job didn’t offer a great deal of growth potential. I’m ready for something that will take me out of my comfort zone.
3. Because I’m Moving
A valid reason for leaving a job that’s unlikely to raise red flags with prospective employers is that you’re moving. You could be relocating to a new city or country. Now you’re looking for a job that will allow you to make the move and start a new chapter.
I’m relocating to this city, which I love, and am obviously seeking to be employed here.
I am moving to a new area and looking for employment opportunities locally. My current job is not transferable.
I’ve recently moved house and am seeking job opportunities in this area. My last job wasn’t available in the places where I’d like to live. I’m eager to secure employment here.
4. To Cut My Commute Time
Spending hours commuting to and from work each day is no fun and costs you in lost time. Are you looking for a job that’s closer to home and will reduce travel times? If so, cutting your commute time is a strong reason to leave your job.
I’m seeking a new job with a more manageable commute than is the case now. I’ve been spending far too much time in traffic when I could be doing something more productive.
The lengthy commute to my job is impacting my ability to be productive and spend time with family and friends. I’m definitely keen to work closer to home.
Long travel times to get to and from work each day is the main reason I left my old job. Being able to work reasonably close to home is a priority and also a reason why I would stick with an employer offering that.
5. To Find a More Fulfilling Role
Finding meaning and fulfilment in your daily work is an admirable goal. No hiring manager will blame you for trying to find employment that is satisfying and purposeful to you. Here are examples of how you might respond to the common job interview question “Why did you leave your last job?”
I’m genuinely seeking a different role that is fulfilling and allows me to make a positive impact. Work is more than just a source of income to me. I’m keen to use my skills to contribute more than I’ve done in the past.
I am looking for a new role that will be both challenging and fulfilling. I see better opportunities out there, especially in this kind of role, than I was able to achieve in my former employment.
I am searching for a new job that will provide a decent sense of purpose and fulfilment. My old job paid the bills and I liked the people there but, frankly, I would benefit from an opportunity to make a greater contribution.
6. Personal Development
Your job may no longer be offering the personal growth opportunities you need. Are you looking to develop new skills and grow as a professional? If so, you’re more than justified to use personal development as the reason to explain why you exited a job.
I’m looking to further my development. The resources and people in this company will not only allow me to perform the job well but also to grow professionally and personally. There are limited opportunities where I’m currently employed.
I am seeking a role that will support my professional growth and provide opportunities for development. My current position doesn’t have the training and resources of this company.
I’m eager to continue my personal development and grow in this field. My previous role didn’t provide the learning opportunities I needed to reach my potential.
7. For Personal Reasons
Personal reasons for leaving a job can refer to a variety of circumstances. Among an almost endless list of possibilities, you may have left a job because of these understandable reasons.
- Burnout. You worked in a high-stress environment for an extended period of time and needed to take a break.
- Family obligations. A child or aging parent needs your care, or you need to relocate to be closer to family.
- Health issues. A medical condition that affects your ability to perform your job duties, or if you need to care for a loved one who is ill.
- Need for change. You reached a dead-end in your job and wanted to explore new opportunities.
- Personal passion. You have a passion or hobby that you wanted to pursue full-time.
- Pregnancy. You became pregnant and needed to take a leave of absence.
I needed to relocate to be closer to my family and take care of a loved one.
I took a break from my career to focus on personal growth and development for a time.
Due to health reasons, I needed to reduce my workload and find a more manageable job.
When discussing personal reasons in a job interview or application, be honest but also concise and professional. It’s unnecessary to go into extensive detail about personal issues. Depending on the topic, recruiters probably won’t want to hear the details, and are even less likely to pry.
8. For Better Compensation
Looking for a job that offers better pay and benefits is perfectly valid. In fact, in the opinion of HR professionals, inadequate compensation is the number one reason for employee turnover. Low pay is followed as a reason for leaving by lack of career development, and lack of workplace flexibility. Refer to the Better Workplaces on a Budget report.
But this is not the greatest reason to leave a job when you’re in an interview situation. Recruiters may wonder why your old boss was unwilling to promote you or otherwise increase your pay and try to keep you. If you’re going to use pay as the justification, here are some words you could try.
To be honest, I’m seeking a new position that offers a more competitive salary and benefits package. My current compensation doesn’t reflect my experience and the value I bring.
I am looking for a position that provides a better balance between salary and other benefits, such as flexible hours or remote work. In my current role, the compensation is good, but the lack of benefits such as flexible hours makes it difficult for me to balance my work and personal life.
I’m interested in a role that offers regular salary increases based on performance, as well as bonuses and other incentives. The lack of regular salary increases and bonuses in my old job made it hard to feel motivated and valued.
9. Company Culture
Do you feel that the culture at your current employer is toxic and negative? Then, you should be getting out of there as fast as possible.
But this is not the best reason in terms of answering a job interview question about why you left, or are leaving, a job. Some recruiters may perceive you as a snowflake who can’t handle tough situations. One of the most common interview mistakes is to badmouth former colleagues and bosses.
To be honest and genuine about your motivations, you may still want to use the justification though. Here are words you could consider writing or saying.
I am looking for a company culture that better aligns with my values and beliefs. I’ve read so many positive things about this organisation that I believe I’ll be a good fit. Fundamentally, I believe in hard work and respecting others.
I’m searching for a workplace that values qualities such as teamwork, collaboration, and open communication. To be frank, my current workplace is not the best in terms of providing a positive and supportive environment for employees.
I am seeking a company culture that emphasises professional development and growth opportunities, where I can stay for the long term. My old workplace did not prioritise employees in my opinion, effectively making my tenure there unsustainable.
10. I Was Laid Off
If you lost your job, you can say that you were “laid off” or “let go” as the reason for leaving. This is a common and acceptable reason for job loss. Being made redundant often occurs due to company-wide budget cuts or restructuring.
I was unfortunately impacted by a company-wide layoff due to budget cuts.
My role was eliminated as part of a company restructuring effort.
Due to changes within the company, my position was no longer needed and I was let go.
When discussing the reason you lost your job, focus on the positive and emphasise any skills or experiences you gained during your time there. Don’t place blame on your old employer. Otherwise, hiring managers may suspect you were hand picked to be laid off.
We hear about work-life balance all the time. It may be a sound reason to leave a job, but it’s not a good reason with respect to job search.
Most recruiters aren’t looking for millennials and Gen Z’s who want time off to meditate and nurture their mental health. That’s why work-life balance didn’t make the top 10 list of reasons to leave a job. But, if work-life balance was genuinely your motivating for leaving, here are words you could use in job interviews.
I am seeking a role with a more family-schedule schedule. My current employment has rigid hours, with no allowances for other responsibilities.
I’m searching for a role that offers a more accommodating work schedule. I’m always prepared to work hard but I also have a life outside of work that I need to attend to as well.
I am looking for a role that will allow for a more manageable work-life balance. The long hours at my former job were impacting my ability to attend to personal responsibilities.
Are you driven by a strong set of personal values? Do you want to work for a company that aligns with your beliefs and principles? If so, finding a job that aligns with your personal values is a valid reason to leave your current job.
You need to be selective about which kinds of employers to mention your values to however. A hedge fund or stockbroking firm, or a bounty collection agency, for example, may not care about your progressive ideals.
I am seeking a role that aligns with my personal values, such as environmental sustainability or social responsibility. In my current role, I do not feel a strong connection to the company’s mission and values, making it difficult for me to feel fulfilled in my work.
I’m looking for a position that allows me to use my skills and abilities for the greater good, such as working for a non-profit organisation. In my current role, I feel that my skills and abilities are not being used to their full potential. I’m eager to find a role that aligns with my values and passions.
I am interested in a role that offers opportunities to give back to the community, such as through volunteer work or charitable initiatives. In my current role, there are limited opportunities to get involved in community initiatives, making it difficult for me to feel connected to the company and its mission.
Non-profit organisations often have missions centered around social justice, human rights, and environmental protection. So employees with similar values are a good fit.
Social justice organizations, such as the ACLU and NAACP, work to advance equal rights and social justice for all people and often value employees who share these values.
Environmental organisations such as Greenpeace, The Nature Conservancy, and The Sierra Club often prioritise employees who are passionate about environmental sustainability and conservation.
Re-Entering the Workforce
Rather than go into detail about why you left a previous employer, you can talk about re-entering the job market. You can indicate that, because of a break from work, your old job isn’t an option anymore.
I’m re-entering the workforce after a period of time off and am seeking a role that aligns with my skills and interests. My previous role no longer exists.
I am returning to the workforce after a gap and seeking a role that will allow me to use my skills and experience. My previous job is no longer available and I’m eager to find a new challenge.
I am looking to re-enter the workforce and seeking a role that will properly exploit my skills and experience. My previous job was filled some time ago.
What If You Were Fired?
If you were fired for being incompetent, lazy, unethical or some other negative reason, this is not something you want to highlight to a hiring manager. But explaining what happened may be unavoidable.
In such circumstances, be concise and professional when discussing the reason for leaving your job. It’s not necessary to go into extensive detail about the situation, and you should avoid making negative statements about your previous employer or colleagues. Here are three examples of the exact words you might use.
I was let go from my previous position due to performance issues. I was in a bad place at the time but my life has since turned around.
I was no longer a good fit for my previous job and my employment was terminated. While this was unfortunate, I’m proud of my work history overall.
Due to some personal mistakes, I was dismissed from my previous position. Lessons were learned and I’m seeking a fresh start and the opportunity to show my worth.