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Leaving a Job for a Better Opportunity? What to Say in Your Resume & Interviews

The career ladder is, unfortunately, not always a ladder that you can climb in the same company. Whether there’s a lack of availability above you or you just don’t feel like you’re a good fit, sometimes embracing the chance to move forward with your career means finding a new job.

Explaining this to a recruiter or interviewer can be difficult, though, as you never want to seem like the kind of employee who would leave at the first hint of a new opportunity.

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As such, it’s important to think about how you’d explain to any potential new employer exactly why you’re leaving your old job for a better opportunity.

Define Opportunity

One of the most important steps you’ll take in this process is defining what it means to embrace a better opportunity. Rather than leaving the vague answer, try to be specific about your career goals and how you think that moving on from your old job is the right move.

This allows you to not only to focus the choice to seek new employment on yourself, but it allows you to speak more about what makes the move so important to you.

Remember, part of a job interviewing involves the new employer getting to know you and how well your goals align with the new company.

If you can take the time to properly define what an opportunity looks like to you and why you’re willing to take a leap of faith in order to take advantage of such an opportunity, you’ll be able to frame your interview question as something that’s fundamentally about connecting with the employer.

This small window in your thought processes can tell an employer a fair bit and will show that you’re making a calculated choice to advance your career.

Focus on the New Company

It’s also very important to let the new company know that you’re not just jumping wildly from job to job; instead, it’s vital to let them know that you are specifically looking for the kind of opportunity that they can provide.

You’re going to want to make sure that you not only spend some time looking at the job description here, but that you also spend some time looking into the company’s culture and how it aligns with your own goals. An honest answer is best here, but it should also be an informed answer.

Pick specific things about how the business operates that will allow you to do more with your own goals. If you’re looking to move into a management position, for example, point out how the new job will give you a better chance to grow in your leadership skills.

It’s perfectly acceptable to mention things like the fact that the new company tends to promote from within or that there seems to be at least some room for advancement, as doing so will give you a good chance to prove that you’re paying attention to what the company offers to its employees and what your goals are for your own future.

Don’t Complain

Finally, make sure that you’re focusing on the future rather than the past. Inherent in the desire to focus on new opportunities is an admission that you can’t achieve those same goals with your current employer, but the way that you choose to address will be quite meaningful to your new employer.

No one wants to hire an employee who will drag a former employer through the mud, after all, so you’ll want to focus on the positives.

As you might imagine, this can be tough in some positions. You don’t have to praise the job itself, though – talk about how much you enjoyed working with your team, what you learned at your old position, or even an important project on which you worked.

Talk about your old position as something that laid the groundwork for what you want to do now rather than as something that’s causing you to flee an old job. Your goal is to show that you’re motivated by the new opportunity, not by grievances by your other employer. At the very least, taking this route shows that you’ve learned a bit of discretion in your former position.

Leaving a job to pursue a better opportunity isn’t unusual, so don’t panic if you’re asked about this response. Be honest about what you want, show how the new company can help you to achieve that goal and remember not to complain about your old position.

Doing so will help to solidify you in the mind of your interviewer as a person who knows what he or she wants and who has a long-term plan for his or her future.

Though it’s not always easy to explain why you are seeking a better opportunity, the fact that you’re committed to doing so can help an employer understand exactly why you are interviewing for your new position.

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