Top Reasons for Leaving a Job (2022 Guide)

What are good reasons for leaving a job? When the interviewer asks "What motivates you to quit your current position?" or "Why did you leave your last job?" Specific interview questions have a way of putting job candidates on the defensive. To answer, you need good reasons for leaving a job.

One of them is having to justify your reasons for leaving a job. While this question is not as hated as the famousWhat is your greatest weakness?" it is undoubtedly more challenging to respond.

Whatever the reason for your departure is or was, you must be prepared to respond in a way that reflects well on you. Your response should be candid and sincere and express who you are as a valued potential employee.

If you left due to what you saw to be toxic leadership, for example, the last thing you should do is disparage your former workplace.

Preparing for this question before a job interview is critical since it will decide your impression of your (potential) future employer.

list of the job reasons for leaving a job

The most often cited reasons for quitting a job:

  • Opportunities for growth in your career
  • Increased compensation
  • Change of career
  • Layoffs or terminations
  • Ineffective management
  • Incompatibility with the company's culture

This year, people have resigned at record rates, whether they're re-evaluating their careers or seeking a better opportunity.

It is natural to leave a job. The average worker worked for their workplace for four years and held an average of 12 jobs over their lifetime prior to 2021.

Thus, what pushes individuals to leave? And how to address this question. Consider the following instances in further detail to better understand why employees leave employment.

How to respond to the job interview question, "Why do you wish to quit your current job?" or "Why did you leave your last job?"

Hiring managers like to ask about why you're leaving a former employer. Future employers want to know why your last job didn't work out. And why you've started your job search. Looking for career growth, making a career change, and not aligning with company culture are great answers.

list of the job reasons for leaving a job

1. Be succinct in stating your reasons for leaving.

Take some time to jot down all of the reasons you're seeking a new position. 

If you're unsure what they are, examine the following:

  • What are your principles?
  • What are your professional objectives? What do you want to accomplish in five years? What, ten years?
  • What are your workplace requirements? What qualities do you seek in a job?
  • What do you enjoy most about your job? What are your pet peeves?
  • How do you feel about your coworkers? Managers?
  • Which industry do you aspire to work in?
  • Are you committed to the mission of your company?
  • Is your current position consistent with these responses? What are your reasons for or against it?

After jotting down your responses, circle a few crucial points you wish to make during the interview. It would help if you used more professional arguments rather than personal ones. For instance, you may be seeking a new position due to a recent life transition such as marriage or relocation—these are not the reasons you should discuss during the interview.

list of the job reasons for leaving a job

2. Keep your response brief.

While it is necessary to respond thoroughly to your interviewer's inquiry on why you wish to quit your employment, restrict your response to one or two words. Then, refocus the conversation on why you are the most significant candidate for the position.

3. Maintain an optimistic attitude.

Even if your choice to quit a job was influenced by negative experiences, it is critical to find an excellent manner to express your wish to move on. Employers want problem solvers capable of resolving complex circumstances. Concentrate on the skills you've acquired in your present position, the positive connections you've developed with coworkers, and the positive encounters you've had with customers or stakeholders.

For instance, rather thanI dislike my management." I've attempted to speak with him, but it appears as though I'll need to find a new job," try something like,In my present function, I've acquired several new talents." I'm searching for a role that will allow me to continue developing that skill set in different situations."

4. Be candid without being excessively descriptive.

You are not required to include all of the facts in your response to this question. If you are dissatisfied with your present employment, there is always a method to communicate this without insulting your current employer. Maintain a focused and brief response, and redirect the topic back to why you're thrilled about the changes ahead of you.

It's critical to remember that the firm conducting the interview may call your last job, so what you tell them should match what they learn through such interactions. If you are unemployed, be candid about your circumstances as well. Suppose they call your previous company to confirm start dates, pay ranges, or to obtain a reference. In that case, this may jeopardize your chances of receiving the offer if you give incorrect information.

list of the job reasons for leaving a job

Top personal reasons for leaving a job

You are not required to furnish your employer with specific information. You might simply indicate that you are leaving for personal or family reasons, for example. You're not compelled to give an explanation for why you're leaving. You might wish to offer a rationale in some circumstances.

Here is a list of personal reasons for leaving a job:

  • Having health issues and needing to leave due to health reasons.
  • Moving to another state and needing to change jobs.
  • Going back to school and continuing education.
  • Deciding to retire.
  • Considering being a stay at home parent.

Top professional reasons for leaving a job

Here are the top professional reasons for leaving a job:

Opportunities for growth in your career

One of the primary reasons for leaving a job is to enhance one's career.

Employees desire an upward trajectory for their jobs. They aspire to expand their skill set, take on increasingly tricky positions and responsibilities, and position themselves for long-term success – whether that success gets measured in terms of professional opportunities, financial rewards, influence, or prestige and recognition. Whether or not they seek to ascend the classiccorporate ladder," individuals desire personal and professional growth.

According to a 2019 Instructure poll, 70% of employees said they would consider leaving their present employer for one that invests in their learning and development.

Increased compensation

According to a Payscale poll, salary incentives are the primary reason people hunt for work outside their business.

That is hardly an unexpected statistic. Compensation has been and will continue to be one of the most often cited reasons for quitting a job. Payment might be in the form of a higher salary or a mix of compensation and other employee benefits and employee perks such as retirement and stock options.

Change of career

Career transitions are relatively common. Since graduating from college, 29% of Americans between the ages of 25 and 44 have changed careers.

Transitions occur when individuals discover their chosen vocation falls short of their aspirations. Occasionally, individuals find their ideal job entirely different and ultimately decide to quit their current position and follow a new professional path.

Layoffs or terminations

Two of the most often cited reasons for leaving a job are not entirely voluntary. Being laid off or terminated from a job can occur for various reasons.

Apart from pandemics, individuals get frequently laid off when businesses are purchased, reorganized, or cost-cutting measures get implemented. At other times, employees get let go for various reasons, including poor performance.

Ineffective management

Employees quit managers, not organizations, as the adage goes.

Toxic leaders exhibit traits such as an unwillingness to accept feedback and an arrogant attitude. Abuse of authority by leaders has a detrimental effect on staff morale, productivity, and performance.

Toxic management eventually pulls people away from their positions.

Incompatibility with the company's culture

The degree to which an employee matches with an organization's values, beliefs, attitudes, and goals gets referred to ascultural fit."

A mismatch with the workplace culture is the primary reason many people leave their jobs, even if they enjoy their jobs. According to a poll of 1,000 workers, 79% of American employees believe that business culture significantly impacts job happiness.

What are good reasons for quitting a job? (Valid reasons for leaving a job)

A prospective employer is interested in learning if you left (or intend to go) previous positions for the right reasons. A compelling rationale demonstrates to them that you are steady and responsible. For instance, leaving because you're seeking a challenge is a far superior response to going because you're bored. Both responses may imply the same thing to you, yet interviewers evaluate them very differently.

Additional justifications for leaving a job include the following:

You get presented with a more favorable opportunity.

Nobody can condemn you for quitting a job to pursue a better opportunity, such as a more senior one. Your drive to improve your condition demonstrates to employers that you are ambitious and aggressive.

If the new opportunity is a wage raise, you should pair it with another motivation, such as taking on more challenging duties. A prospective employer may get thrown off if your primary motivation is financial gain.

You're seeking career advancement.

A desire for professional advancement is another compelling motive to quit a job.

For instance, you may have outgrown your existing function and wish to acquire new skills or assume increased responsibilities. Career advancement is an excellent opportunity to discuss your career goals and how the position for which you are interviewing fits into them.

This response suggests that you are open to professional advancement and you're driven to go to the next level in your work.

You were furthering your studies.

Individuals frequently leave their jobs to return to school and earn a degree or other credentials. Continuing your education is another acceptable rationale, provided your response demonstrates how this action aided your professional progress.

For instance, a project management certification can help you prepare for a more senior project management position.

It's an excellent opportunity to demonstrate to your interviewer that you're prepared to invest in yourself continuously.

Your organization has undergone a reorganization.

Employers are aware that businesses occasionally undergo a restructuring that results in the elimination of positions.

Getting laid off is a very reasonable cause to depart. If you got laid off due to downsizing, explain to your employer that your termination was not motivated by your performance.

Concentrate on the good aspects of your experience and demonstrate to recruiters how you provided value to your former work.

You desire a change in your employment arrangement.

There are several reasons why people seek alternative employment arrangements. Many of the employees who resigned during the 2021 "Great Resignation" cited a desire for a more balanced work-life balance and a more flexible schedule.

For instance, if you become a working parent, you may desire a remote position that allows you to work while still being a caretaker.

Briefly describe to your recruiting manager why the position you're pursuing is a better match. Assure them that you can manage your time effectively and maintain a healthy mix of work and personal duties.

You have a personal motivation.

While work is critical, your well-being comes first.

Many people quit their employment for various personal reasons, such as health problems or family situations. You are not required to share any private family concerns. Keep your response concise and explain why you're a good match for the position you're interviewing.

You've decided to choose a different professional route.

Your objectives may shift at any time. If your present employer cannot accommodate your new career path, your desire to quit is both courageous and justified.

It indicates your willingness to venture outside your comfort zone and pursue your true desires.

Should you explain to an interviewer why you quit (or are about to leave) your job?

Yes, in a nutshell. When an interviewer asks,How did you leave your previous job?" you should be as candid and genuine as possible. It is never a good idea to fabricate a cause for quitting.

That said, the key to answering this question correctly is how you express it.

For instance, suppose you left your job due to tough management. Never say,I quit because I despised working with my manager," even if that is how you feel. Making disparaging remarks about your supervisor sends a strong signal to your prospective employer. They may cast doubt on your character and ask if you parted ways with your last employer on poor terms.

Think about your response.

Rather than that, you should phrase your response in a way that casts you in a favorable light. Declare something along the lines of,New management altered the workplace dynamics." I felt as though it was an opportune moment to go, as the position was no longer a good fit for me." You can then briefly explain why the new job is a better match.

This response is still accurate but gets stated in a way that demonstrates your integrity and the validity of your cause for leaving.

Occasionally, responding to this question might be unpleasant, mainly if you got laid off from your prior employment. You should still be truthful in this scenario. At any moment, lying about your reason for leaving might backfire. Be candid, but put a positive spin on it by stressing what you learned and how you evolved from the event.

If you have a list of reasons for leaving a job, begin with the most professional one that showcases your beliefs and skills to offer to your new career.

For example, avoid beginning with a desire for greater pay, even if your primary motivation is to leave. Rather than that, stress your desire for career advancement.

Above all, you should have a good attitude and show yourself in the best light possible.

reasons for leaving a job

How do you respond to the question, "Why are you quitting your job?"

Preparation is critical for every interview to be successful. Here are some interview suggestions and strategies for responding to some often asked interview questions concerning why you left your previous job:

Answer 1: You discovered a more advantageous situation.

To begin, emphasize the good features of your current employment and any accomplishments. Following that, quickly describe why this new position is a good fit for you and what you enjoy about it. Never forget to emphasize what you can provide to the job rather than what the role can offer you.

"I'm lucky to be a member of an incredible team that has taught me how to communicate and what constitutes effective leadership." This job is a once-in-a-lifetime chance that I cannot pass up. However, I'm looking forward to a new challenge and continue improving. My expertise with X will be beneficial in addressing this sort of demand, and I'm enthused about the objective and the prospect of leading a larger team and honing my leadership abilities."

What not to say:At my present employment, I got passed up for a promotion."

Answer 2: You were discharged.

A discharge might be difficult to negotiate due to its emotional component. It is critical to prepare in advance.

Keep your response brief, recognize any incompatibilities, and avoid complaining or putting the company or management on the defensive. Demonstrate that you have considered the event and acquired perspective. After all, this is the core of adult learning and maturation. Emphasize a positive takeaway from the experience and why you're a suitable match for this new career. Avoid the use of the termfired."

"After accepting the job, my boss and I determined that the position required someone with greater industry knowledge. I was prepared to learn, but the firm required someone to jump in and contribute immediately. Since then, I've learned to ask more questions and discuss employment requirements with the recruiting manager before accepting a position. This employment, I feel, is a fantastic match for my abilities."

What not to say:I got terminated due to substandard performance."

Answer 3: You lost your job.

Mention that you're still friends with your old employer and that the reason you left was not personal but corporate.

What to say:My company downsized, and several positions, including mine, were eliminated. I'm proud of what I accomplished throughout my time there, and my boss will gladly provide you with a reference. Meanwhile, I've used this time to reflect on my career aspirations. I feel your organization is an excellent match for the path in which I wish to expand."

What not to say:I was let go due to their error."

Answer 4: You're relocating.

Emphasize your dedication to growth and adaptability, as well as the connection between this position and your new professional ambitions. Make a point of highlighting some of the transferable abilities you can offer to this new profession or sector.

What to say:I just re-evaluated my professional ambitions and discovered that sales are my passion. That is why I am in attendance today. I'd want to use my good communication and active listening abilities to establish long-term relationships with consumers."

What not to say:I became dissatisfied with my job and chose to try something new."

Answer 5: You've outgrown your current position.

Emphasize your ambition for professional growth and why you're a suitable fit for this new organization.

What to say:My professional development and advancement are critical to me. I've liked my three years in my position, but I've learned everything I can and am ready for a new challenge. The opportunity to work for an innovative organization such as this one will push me to achieve greater heights."

What not to say:I felt dissatisfied and unappreciated. My management always assigns me tedious jobs."

Answer 6: You re-enrolled in school.

Your employer may inquire as to why you choose to return to school. Utilize this chance to discuss how your education helped you acquire new abilities and underline the broader perspective and connections you obtained as a result of your education.

What to say:I quit to pursue a master's degree in marketing intelligence. The abilities I gained and the exposure to cutting-edge practices I encountered during this period enhanced my experience working in this industry. As a result, I am now qualified to pursue a senior marketing management post.

What not to say:I chose to return to school to choose my career path."

Answer 7: You are dissatisfied with your job.

Whatever the root of your job dissatisfaction is, it's critical to identify it and work through the implications before interviewing. Otherwise, casually expressing your dissatisfaction with an interviewer might make you appear flimsy and untrustworthy.

A well-written response to this question is brief and transforms negatives into positives. Concentrate on demonstrating your awareness rather than demonstrating that being dissatisfied.

What to say:My abilities were underutilized in my previous position. I began exploring methods to become more active there but quickly discovered that I needed a more exciting work atmosphere. I enjoy challenges, and I'm prepared for a position that values stretching."

What not to say:It wasn't a pleasant place to work" orI was dissatisfied."

Do you feel compelled to respond to the question?

If the reasons for your job departure are personal or sensitive, you may be hesitant to react. You should still respond in this circumstance but keep it brief and without going into detail.

For instance, suppose you took a break from work to care for your elderly parents. You might state,I became a full-time caretaker for an ailing family member in this circumstance." Now that I'm ready to return to work, I feel that my six years of industry expertise will prove invaluable in this position."

Always avoid refusing to respond to a question or becoming defensive. Refusing to answer may cast extreme suspicion on your prospective employer.

Your remark conveys a great deal about your personality and professionalism. Ultimately, this is a behavioral issue and behavioral question. 

When recruiting managers ask this question, the following are some of the things they want to know:

  • If you parted on amicable terms.
  • If you have a compelling reason for departing (better opportunity vs. unhappy).
  • Whether your qualifications and experience are a suitable fit for the position and organization.
  • What are your objectives and values?

Keep your response quick, affirmative, and concise to make a favorable impression.

Create a list of your reasons for quitting a job.

It would be best if you were as candid as possible when discussing your reasons for quitting a job. The easiest way to prepare for this question is to write your justifications down.

Highlight the professional ones in nature and paint a clear picture of your departure choice. Additionally, you should avoid beginning with a personal reason or negative experience. If there is no other option, be candid without delving into the nitty-gritty details.

Common questions

Job transition questions.

How do I reapply for a job that I quit?

If you leave your previous employment in good standing—that is, without burning any bridges—you may be able to reclaim your prior position. Contact former coworkers or the hiring manager and inquire about any employment vacancies, even if they are not identical to those you previously had. Here is an example of a letter.

How long should I say at a job before quitting?

The majority of experts believe that you should attempt to stay at your employment for a minimum of two years before departing.

Shorter tenures may create an impression of unreliability, which may worry prospective employers. However, many employers will likely understand as long as you can explain why you're going earlier.

How much notice do I need to give my current job?

It is customary to provide your employer with two weeks' notice before quitting your position in most circumstances. This period gets regarded as sufficient time for you to tie up loose ends and focus on transitional things, as well as for your employer to arrange for your leave.

How long does health insurance last after quitting a former job?

If you lose or quit your work, you may be qualified to maintain your health insurance through COBRA for up to 18 months.

COBRA is a federal statute that may allow you to maintain your employee health insurance coverage for a limited period; however, you will be liable for the total cost of coverage, as well as any administrative expenses.

What reason should I put on my resume?

Most commonly, an employer won't ask for the reason why you left your prior position to get listed on your resume. Instead, on the job application, an employer might ask.

If you don't have a valid reasons for leaving a job, consider listingupward mobility," or another generic reason.

How do I explain leaving a job for health reasons?

Typically, employers won't inquire much further than the initial question. Simply explain having left a prior job due to health reasons. Explain how long you were out of a job, which might correlate to your resume. And conclude the interview question or inquiry.

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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