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The Right Way to Say, "I Quit!"

Post Author Eryka Cazenave
Mar 21, 2017 4:00:00 PM
Career Tips

Have you ever found yourself in a job interview that you felt was going extremely well? You've talked about yourself, bonded with the interviewer over a shared love of dogs, and answered every question with grace and style. Then you begin to discuss your previous work history, and all of a sudden the interview takes a left turn. You knew the question was coming and you weren't sure how to answer without making the employer run for the hills. Your palms get sweaty as the words rolled off of their tongue, "What was your reason for leaving your previous position?"

It was as if time stood still as you searched for a way to say, "I quit," without making yourself sound flighty, unreliable, or as if you left on bad terms. The tension in the room grew as you racked your brain for the right answer. Unable to find the right words you mumble under your breath, "I quit." At that very moment, you knew you were the victim of an interview fail as you watched the job opportunity slip away before your eyes.

This doesn't have to be your reality. While quitting a job may make you seem undesirable to employers, it does not have to hinder you from all future job opportunities. If you don't want the voluntary separation from one job to affect you being hired for the next, we have a list of five sufficient ways to explain why you quit your job.

For starters, you may want to refrain from simply saying, "I quit." When explaining your reason for quitting your previous position, try using the words, "resigned" or "voluntarily separated" instead of "quitting." The next time you are asked why you left a previous position, you'll be prepared to craft a well-thought-out response by using one of the five explanations below.

"I Resigned From My Previous Position Because I..."

Pursued Further Education

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Whether your reason for going back to school was to obtain credentials for continued growth, learn a new skill-set, or simply because you enjoy it, employers will see this is a positive, not a negative. Continuing education is important for future advancement both personally and professionally and employers will not fault you for doing so.

Relocated Beyond a Reasonable Commute


Moving to a new location is a valid reason to voluntarily separate from a position. Employers will not fault you for leaving a previous position if you were not able to commute to and from work. It's safe to say, relocation is a fairly foolproof reason to resign.

Made a Career Change

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If your previous position left you feeling bored, underutilized, or burned-out, deciding to make a career change can be a smart move. Be sure to communicate your reasons behind deciding to make a career change, if given the opportunity. Focus on the positive aspects that a career change can bring (e.g. a chance to pursue your passions, utilize your skill-sets, or provide opportunity for growth.) In need of some career transition tips? Check this out!

Suffered From a Medical Condition


Not all companies provide FMLA, which offers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period. If FMLA was not provided for you to tend to personal medical needs or take the time to care for an ill family member, let your interviewer know. Medical related circumstances can present themselves without warning. Taking time to do what is best for you or your family is an acceptable reason to resign from a job.

Received a Better Job Opportunity

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This one is pretty self-explanatory. "Better" is a relative term. Your reasoning could've been driven by work-life balance, pay, hours, growth, or company fit. Leaving one job to take another is one of the few reasons for resignation that won't require much additional explanation.

Many employers are looking for loyal, dedicated, and trustworthy members to join their team. Although you may have done everything the right way, (given adequate notice, submitted a resignation letter, and returned all company property) the aforementioned traits are often times questioned when you have quit a job in the past.

In all cases, honesty is the best policy. You cannot control how a potential employer may react to your explanation. You can however, give yourself a fighting chance and leave the employer with something better than the negative connotation that a simple, "I quit," response will bring.

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