What is a “good” reason for leaving a job?

by | 17.08.23

Everyone looking for a new job is going to face the classic question “why are you leaving your current job?” As you prepare your answer it’s normal to wonder if there are reasons that are more acceptable than others? A potential employer will expect a good answer otherwise they may not consider you for the role. Here are some acceptable reasons that employers like to hear:

The job just isn’t for you

Maybe your job isn’t what you thought it was going to be and you really do not enjoy it, or the job has changed from what it originally was. In this case you want to avoid leaving without something else to go to and you definitely don’t want to walk out. Your reason for leaving should read “I’m currently looking for a position better matched to my skills and long-term career goals”.

Your old boss has left and you don’t vibe with your new boss

This scenario is not unusual. As the dynamics in any Company change, it can mean working with individuals who do not see eye to eye with you. If this is your scenario keep your reason for leaving positive for instance “when my boss left, it made me realise it was time for a change and this seems like a good opportunity to move on to”.

You were promised promotion but it’s never happened

If you are promised something then it’s only right that you get it. Promises that can’t be met should never be made. So if you realise that the opportunity to grow just isn’t there in your current job and you want to improve yourself professionally then this is a really good lesson for leaving and any potential employer will realise this.

You’re under-utilised in your current role

We are all on a quest to find the perfect job that satisfies all of our needs. But sometimes a job can be outgrown and you are not getting the satisfaction you need to get. In other words you’re bored. No I’m not suggesting you tell a new employer you’re bored, but by saying you feel you’ve outgrown the job you’re showing ambition and this is liked by employers, therefore a good reason for leaving.

You’re current role is a contract position

Working on a contract basis is a little different from being a permanent member of staff and can make you feel insecure. At the end of the day when the work is finished you are going to be let go. Any potential employer will accept that a contract position is not ideal and everyone needs security so this is a good reason for leaving a role.

You’ve been made redundant

Being made redundant rarely damages your career. That’s particularly true post Covid where as many as 15% of the working population lost their jobs. It’s not your fault that your employer had to let people go in a tough market, it’s just the way things go. Any potential employer will understand your situation and realise you had no choice about leaving your last job.

Your job has changed

Just as people change over time, so do jobs. While you might evolve with the role there’s also a chance that the change in duties causes a misalignment, making a job change an attractive option. A job needs to fulfil your career aspirations and if yours doesn’t anymore this is a good reason for leaving.

You’ve moved

Unless your job is fully remote moving out of the area usually means you have to look for a new job. Again this is one of the reasons for leaving a job which typically won’t work against you. So saying your looking for a new job as it was impossible to get to your last really is a good reason for leaving.

Your hours have been cut

When your job has been full time and your hours have been cut along with your wages and you can’t manage financially you have no choice but to leave. Since the job no longer meets your needs, leaving is the logical path and any new employer will understand. So be assured this is a good reason for leaving.

Your employer constantly changes your hours of work

Having a job where you are expected to work shifts or where there is mandatory overtime with very little notice means you can’t plan your life. This is particularly difficult if you have personal commitments. It’s not unreasonable for someone to want to work normal hours i.e.: 9am – 5:30pm, so therefore is a good reason for leaving.

Hopefully by now you should be aware what are “good” reasons for leaving a job. What a potential employer doesn’t want to hear are reasons like “I’m bored”, “I want more money” or “I’m just seeing if there is anything better out there”. Put yourself in the employers shoes and think what you would feel about someone who used these reasons. Give a positive reason for leaving not a negative one and definitely not one which makes you look like an opportunist.

Good luck with your job search

Angela Burton