30+ Best Reasons for Leaving a Job (+ Bad Answer Examples) [2020]

reasons for leaving a job

When an employee decides to resign from their current employer and seeks new employment, there are a few places where the job seeker and job candidate will be asked what the reason was for leaving their current position. The job candidate might be asked in a job application, in the job interview, and then lastly when the candidate goes to resign from their current place of employment.

The first place a job seeker is going to have to refer to their reason for leaving a job is during the interview. A hiring manager may ask the interview question, “Why did you leave your last job?” The job seeker may still be employed with their current employer during this interview. The reasons the employee and job seeker choose should align with the reasons they are going to use for their resignation process. This will come after accepting a job offer and needing to resign from the current place of employment.

When choosing a reason for resigning during an interview, it’s important to mention a legitimate reason. As a job seeker, the interviewer will be able to sense when the reason is false. For example, if the job candidate mentions their reason for leaving is organizational changes, but there’s no news of layoffs; this could create problems. Choose a valid reason.

Certain reasons should be avoided. For example, a common reason can be working conditions with the previous employer (or current employer/current role). While this is a valid reason, it’s one of the reasons that should be exempt from mentioning to your interviewer or prospective employer. In the event the potential employer contacts the previous employer, this could be an issue. Pick professional reasons for leaving even if they aren’t entirely true to your own point of view.

When resigning from a current job and submitting a resignation letter, the employer (upcoming former employer) may mention their reasons for resigning or leaving. The reasons should align with the ones mentioned to the future employer and job opportunity (the new job).

Tip: Resigning in a professional manner and being considered a “good employee” during the resignation process (resigning with ample notice period and reasons) leaves the door open for resignation letter requests and job reference opportunities that can be very impactful to a job seekers career.

Reasons for Leaving a Job

Below are good reasons for leaving a job. All are considered to be an acceptable reason and professional reason for resignation from a current employer.

Organizational Changes

Personal Reasons

Career Advancement

Back to School


Family & Health Issues

The best reasons for leaving a job are those that support the reason without much detail. Each positive reason above is going to be received as professional and cordial with both the new employer and current company.

Example of a Bad Reason

Below are a few examples of a bad answer to the job interview question or reason for resigning from a current job (an upcoming previous job).

These are a few bad reasons for resigning from a current position. While they may feel valid to the job seeker, it is best not to share these personal details with the employer as they display differences in the company culture and the employee.

Resignation Letter Resources

Additional resignation letter resources.

By Job Title

By Format

By Reason

By Time

Additional Resources

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.


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