Advice » In the Workplace» Leaving a Job » Quitters Can Win
Quitters Can Win

Quitters Can Win

What to Say About Why You Walked Away

By Caroline M.L. Potter 

Everyone makes a big fuss about having a gap on your resume, and most folks are fearful of getting fired because of this very reason. But what if your current state of underemployment is your own doing?

A bad boss, crummy coworkers or poor working conditions may have led you to walk away -- but you don't want to reveal that in an interview. However valid your reason for leaving your last job may have been, such factors can be turned back on you, causing you to be perceived as someone who couldn't handle directions, work well with others or wasn't willing to do whatever it took to get the job done.

So, how should you discuss the fact that you quit your last job without scaring off recruiters?

Blame It on Burnout

The best tactic for talking about why you quit -- for any reason -- is to accentuate the positive and minimize the negative. Most folks understand that people are susceptible to burnout in today's world. Explain to your interviewer that while you enjoyed your job, you wanted to take time to recharge your batteries, physically and mentally.

If you have no other gaps on your resume and have been working continually for a lengthy period of time, this explanation is quite plausible.

This Time It's Personal

If you quit a job to spend quality time with a child or a sick family member, by all means say that. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) doesn't necessarily provide workers with all the protection or time they need to be present for family members if childcare or eldercare becomes necessary. Only companies of a certain size are subject to the FMLA, which offers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period.

You Finally Examined Your Unexamined Life

This approach is effective for industry changers in particular. Simply tell your interviewer that you took time off to reexamine your priorities and passions and realized that you wanted to work in another field. Even if you're applying for a job similar to the one you'd held, this will work if your target employer is in a different industry than your former employer. Also, if you're seeking work with a green company, nonprofit or another very worthy organization, you can mention how working for a socially and/or environmentally conscious employer became important to you during your discovery process.

Play the Consulting Card

Focus on the fact that while you weren't employed at a full-time job, you were consulting (if, in fact, you were). Consulting, you might say, gave you a chance to focus on a particular area of interest in your profession. This ability to concentrate on one facet led you to pursue positions such as the one for which you're interviewing. If you haven't yet started consulting, do so -- even for free at a charity or community organization. This will help keep your resume current and allow you to be truthful about your recent professional experience.

Latest Jobs

Posted: 05/22/2015
OLATHE, KS, 66062
Albertsons LLC
Posted: 05/22/2015
Caldwell, ID, 83605
Synergy America
Posted: 05/22/2015
Fort Worth, TX
Reliant Holdings, Inc
Posted: 05/22/2015
Nashville, TN, 37210
Posted: 05/22/2015
Troy, MI, 48098

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile


Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
Create and connect.
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.


100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2015 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2015.8.0.34-209