1. Careers
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Listing Reasons for Leaving on a Job Application

Tips for Listing Why You Left Your Job on Employment Applications


USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, young woman filling application form
Daniel Grill / Getty Images

Employers often ask for the reason why you left each job next to the position listing on job applications. As with all job search documents, you will need to avoid telling any lies while giving yourself the benefit of the doubt.

Tips for Listing Reasons for Leaving

Some reasons will be simple like:

  • Moved on to a more responsible position
  • Laid off from job
  • Left for the beginning of the fall semester
  • Landed a higher paying job
  • Left to focus on varsity baseball during the spring
  • Left to devote more time to academics
  • Position ended after summer
In other cases, you may have had a rationale like caring for a sick family member or even coping with an illness yourself which has passed. Here's a list of more reasons for leaving a job to review.

Of course, you will want to mention reasons which don't reflect negatively on you whenever possible.

This is where giving yourself the benefit of the doubt can come into play. For example, say you were laid off from an employer that was experiencing financial difficulties. Even though a secondary reason why you were one of the employees chosen for a layoff was mediocre performance, it is fair enough to cite budget cuts if you probably wouldn't have been let go otherwise.

Stick to the Facts

However, it's important to make sure that your previous employers can't factually dispute the reason you list on your application because your prospective employer can use any untruths on an application as grounds for dismissal.

Keep in mind that when leaving a job you can sometimes negotiate with your employer about how your departure might be represented to future employers thus avoiding some of these tricky application issues.

Read More: Reasons to Quit a Job | How to Apply for a Job | Job Application Guide | Good (and Bad) Reasons to Leave a Job

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.