Explaining your reason for leaving
It’s something that comes up in almost every interview and definitely in interviews with recruitment agents – why did you leave your previous position. In fact, they usually ask why you leave each position. In a sense, they’d like to know if you had a good relationship with your previous employer and if you left under the same good bond. This is purely to try and predict what you are going to do if they hire you.
Every position has one
If you haven’t written every reason for leaving each position on your CV, you’re going to be asked why you left, and you’d best know exactly what to say. Some CVs have a reason for leaving on every role, while others do not even state why they are interested in leaving their current position. I do not believe you must write one for your jobs dating back more than five years, but for more recent positions it is quite a key bit of information, which, if written on your CV, often doesn’t require questioning about in interviews, saving you precious time.
How to write about tough exits
If you did leave on bad terms somehow, it’s best to be open about it. In my life, I’ve seen two occasions when leaving was not amicable, and both were that the psychological contract between employer and employee was broken. I had been hired for the wrong role – thinking from the words of the employer that the vacancy was something it wasn’t. Both positions lasted less than three months, since I expressed myself as soon as I found out the truth, although one of them was a contract role ending anyway.
The only way to write about these misunderstandings is to put your best foot forward, stating how the position changed after you joined and you were no longer interested to work there. However, if you were fired, there is no easy way out – you have clearly not managed your relationship with your employer in that case, and even if it was unfair, you do not want to mention it if you went to an arbitrator such as the CCMA on your CV. In such an event, you can only write something truthful – try to tone down the situation/cause to an extent.
So, if possible, make sure your résumé has a reason for leaving each position that you’ve held since the very beginning. It is something that the company will ask your references in any event, so it’s best to have your side of the story in case things went awry.