“Why Did You Leave Your Previous Job?”

“Why Did You Leave Your Previous Job?”

There are all kinds of reasons to leave a job. A better opportunity comes along. You’re looking for a better opportunity. You’re not happy with the direction the company’s going. You want to take your life in a different direction. The list goes on and on. Eventually you will find yourself explaining the reasons for why you left or why you are leaving your current job to a prospective employer.

They will want to know several things about why you left/are leaving. Did you leave to pursue something else? Were you just tired of your job? Did you leave voluntarily? Did you leave on good terms? What are your work values?

Remember your prospective employer is looking for someone who’s going be loyal and responsible. Ensure your answer demonstrates integrity and forward thinking.

Professional growth

Maybe you feel like you’ve gone as far as you can in your present situation. You are looking for more challenges, or more responsibility. In that case, talk about how you contributed to your current organization (with quantifiable examples) and how you excited you are to learn and grow in this new position.

“I’ve been in my present job for the past four years. I became a department lead after fourteen months and helped implement a new distribution process that increased the speed of product delivery by 10%. I’ve been department manager for the last year. As much as I enjoy my job and the people I work with, I feel like I’ve learned everything I can in my current position and am ready to take on new challenges. The job you are offering appeals to me because of the scope of your operations.”

Always make it about moving toward a better opportunity. Keep your answer positive. Sometimes your situation is a little more negative, like your current position is being eliminated or the company is going out of business. It’s still important to stay positive in your answer. Talk about your successes and accomplishments and then briefly say that due to unfortunate economic downturn the company had to downsize. Downsizing is something everyone can relate to, especially if you were not the only person affected.

Change of direction

You have re-evaluated your present circumstances and have decided it’s time to change direction. Your life goals or career goals have changed and you are excited to pursue a new direction. Make sure you explain how this new opportunity is a good fit with your goals and how you can successfully use your skills in this new job.

Always stay positive

You may actually have negative reasons for leaving a job, like problems with management personality or style. You simply don’t like the job or were passed over for promotion too many times. No matter how negative your experience was, focus on what was positive. What you learned, what you contributed and move on to growth opportunities.

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