Why did you leave your last job?

Prepare an answer for why you left your last job, but whatever you do – don’t apologise

If you are currently unemployed, prepare to be asked about it at interviews. Write out a response, practise it and memorise it so it sounds natural. Be confident in your delivery rather than hesitating and inviting further questions. There is nothing to be ashamed of with redundancy or leaving a job, but you don’t want to encourage more detailed questions.

Suggested examples:
“My last position was no longer required under a restructuring exercise. I am looking to carry on my career move in … which is an area I particularly enjoy/am passionate about/utilises my skills in … ” etc.

“I very much valued the skills I developed and experience gained in my previous role however I could not see a longer-term career with the organisation. I am keen to secure a role where I can continue to develop….”etc.

With either example you want to move on from the reasons for leaving (typically reasons beyond your control) to what you can have more control over – the decision over what next role to take on, and for what employer.

Equally if you are providing, or are requested to provide a cover letter, there is no need to include your reason for leaving, rather to focus on the positives – the skills, achievements and strengths that you bring and why the particular role you are applying to is of appeal.

What role next?

It is natural to focus on roles that match your current skills and experience, but it is worth thinking about what you enjoy, could there be roles outside of your usual area that you could transfer your skills to? Could you consider an initial drop in salary for such an opportunity? Talk to people in your industry, and to specialist recruiters who may be able to suggest ideas.

Stay focused, stay positive and look forward to enjoying your next career move, whatever it may look like.

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