Resume Tips: Popular Reasons for Making a Job Change


Welcome to Part 4 of our Resume Tips.

Have you thought about including your reason for leaving your previous or current roles in your resume? Have you thought about why you have left your roles? It’s important to understand the reasons you have moved on from previous roles, or are currently open to moving from your current role. Sharing them in your resume is a statement of transparency and confidence.

Explaining job changes in my resume, really?

People just move on don’t they? In fact, hiring managers are often interested in the reasons you left a role. There are some benefits to including this information in your resume:

  • It’s appealing to the person reviewing your resume. By giving them this information upfront, you make it easy for the hiring manager to see the information they want to know. Often they won’t expect to see this information, so it goes a long way by demonstrating your confidence. Big tick!
  • It presents you as honest and open. Another big tick!
  • It can demonstrate that you are invested in your career and strategic in your career choices. And another big tick!

Here are the four most popular reasons people change jobs

1: Moving to a new role

This might seem like the easiest one to explain. You have had a new job offer and decided to take it. Simple as that. But remember, a hiring manager is looking to see if you will stay with them, or move with the next offer.

When you explain a move from one company to another, be strategic around the reasons you moved. Was it to gain more responsibility in the area to want to grow in? Was it to work with a brand you have admired? Was it to reduce your responsibilities in order to better manage work-life commitments? We can have a career plan but sometimes life can interrupt that. Your career growth doesn’t have to be linear, it can move up, down or sideways in order to grow you skills and develop your strengths in different areas.

Whatever the direction, aim to present leaving a role as a ‘pull’ to the new role as opposed to a ‘push’ from a previous role.

2: Redundancy due to COVID19

In the current economic climate, many companies are forced to reduce headcount. So a simple explanation is “Due to the impact of Covid19, the business undertook a restructure which saw redundancy across several departments including Marketing.” What this importantly identifies, is that you are part of a broad redundancy program as opposed to a single individual exiting a business. 

3: Redundancy non-COVID19

Redundancy isn’t just a COVID19 event. I’ve had a redundancy in the past due to technology improvements, requiring fewer people in the business. It’s important to confidently state the ‘why’ behind your redundancy and more often than not, this is due to a company restructure.

Redundancy can sometimes impact our confidence and our emotions. If this is the case, it is important to practise your reason for leaving until you can say it without thinking or showing emotion around a decision you may not have agreed with. Resumes and interviews are not the place to air your disfavour of former employers.

4: Personal reasons

You may have become a carer or taken maternity/paternity leave and decided not to return to your previous role. Where possible outline the personal reasons around why you had to leave, and more importantly why you are now ready to return to work. An employer wants to be convinced you are ready to return to the capacity they require in the role. Be honest around your capacity to return to work, because if you can’t commit the time needed, it’s possible you may not succeed in the role long term. Take control of this topic in your interview and have an open conversation around flexibility of hours or location as needed.

Ok, so there is a fifth option

The one where you have been asked to leave a job. This can be an uncomfortable topic to address. But it is best to address it. There are many reasons people have been asked to leave a role. You have moved into a role that you weren’t quite ready for. You joined a company only to find out that you didn’t fit in. It can be quite an unpleasant experience. (Again, this is not the time and place to vent your unhappiness with a previous employer).

Explaining a dismissal

As long as you don’t have a recurring history of being asked to leave roles, honesty is the best policy. Clearly articulate the circumstances of your previous event with a focus on how you have learnt from the past. An understanding hiring manager will listen to your explanation, thank you for your honesty and bravery, and move on to more important topics.

Looking to get your career back on track?

If you have been impacted by a redundancy, job loss, have been out of work for a while, would like some support to get your career on track or make a career change, try to see if one of these services can help.

This is the Fourth Installment in our Resume Tips Series. Next Up… Your Referees


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