Guide to Preparing an Exit Statement that Explains “Why am I Looking for a New Job?”

December 5, 2021

After you’ve purchased a resume and cover letter template, created a resume from scratch DIY or worked with a writer, it’s time to start telling people you are looking for a job. One of the first questions you will likely get asked is, “WHY?” Are you ready to answer it? 

Before you launch a search, it’s important to prepare a succinct answer for the question, “why are you looking for a new job?”  Job seekers often fail to prepare and stumble in the interview setting.  Common mistakes include oversharing, displaying too much emotion (pain or anger) or having a story that doesn’t seem to add up. 


The key to a good exit statement is that it’s:

  • POSITIVE: It’s in poor taste to talk badly about your boss and former employer (even if they really were awful!)
  • SHORT:  You do not need to give too many details.  
  • BASED ON FACTS: Do not speculate (example: “I think my boss was having financial problems” or “I think they terminated everyone in my department to save money so that they could get a down payment for the new office space”).
  • UNEMOTIONALTrust us, you can’t cry when you talk about leaving your former employer. 


Exit Statement #1

The recent TSYS merger with Global Payments created a number of duplicate functions and positions. Unfortunately, the Global Payments legal team was fully staffed and had extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions.  My team at TSYS was displaced. My expertise in corporate law falls within the employment space.  I started my career in talent acquisition before going to law school and feel passionate about building safe, inclusive workplaces. I have a lot of experience managing union workers and I’m looking forward to working in a role where I can take full advantage of this experience.

Exit Statement #2

As a result of declining home sales, the realtor eliminated my marketing and social media position.  I’m grateful for the 5-years that I had the role.  I learned a lot about marketing to the high-end consumer and the importance of selling “lifestyle”.  I am looking forward to joining the marketing team of a luxury retailer where I can continue to build designer brands. 

Exit Statement #3

Shortly after I was hired at Abbott, my boss was let go.  My new boss had a very different way of managing.  The person who hired me, told me that he hired based on passion,  potential and integrity.  I can say without a doubt I have all three.  My new boss came from a management consulting space and was used to having MBA-level talent.  I put in long hours and was committed to learning, but ultimately, the job description had really changed and I was no longer a fit.  It’s unfortunate that my first job ended this way, but I now know what I am looking for in my next role.  I obtained my Six Sigma certification and my PMP while working at Abbott.  I enjoy managing projects and want to obtain a position as a project manager. 


It’s always a good idea to practice your exit statement, and run your completed resume and cover letter template–by friends or business acquaintances who can give you objective feedback.

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About the author

Virginia Franco

I am a multi-certified Executive Resume and LinkedIn Writer, Coach and Storyteller who loves to create documents that help clients to land interviews.

I share my insights as the host of the award-winning Resume Storyteller podcast, a Jobscan Top Careers Expert and in various publications and podcasts.

I'm a proud Supporter, Board Member and former President of the National Resume Writers Association.