Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: How to Leave a Job You Don’t Love & Find One Meant For You

February 11, 2020

Signs to know it's time for a new job

Love and relationships are in the air this month -- whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with your significant other or Galentine’s Day with friends. But one of the major relationships you might not be thinking about is the one you have with your job. With professionals spending almost 90,000 hours throughout our lives at work, it’s worth finding the right one for you. 

According to new research from LinkedIn, the majority of us (81%) believe we should be very or mostly happy at work, yet most of us (60%) have stayed at a job knowing the relationship wasn’t working. So, what do you do if you’re not in love with your job -- and how do you find the one for you? 

Knowing when -- and how -- to break up with your job can be intimidating, but it’s crucial for setting yourself up for future success. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you navigate the ups and downs of your work relationship -- from breakup to rebound to finding the right job for you. Here are some tips and advice for getting it right. 

Read the signs 

Whether you’re in a new role or have been at your company for a while, it’s important to know when it’s time to move on. The top three reasons professionals aren’t happy are: not enjoying the work, not feeling a strong sense of purpose and not feeling valued by their team. If you recognize these signs, it may be time to consider your next move. A great first step is to start thinking about what you’re in it for, and write down what matters to your professional life. Identify what is currently missing and start looking for a new role that better fits the bill.

When breaking up isn’t your decision

We don’t always have the luxury of deciding when it’s time to leave a job -- sometimes that decision is made for us. While losing your job is hard, a forced change can be full of opportunity. More than one-third of professionals we spoke to made positive changes after being laid off or fired -- either finding a better fit or making a career pivot. Take advantage of your exit interview and ask for honest feedback on your areas of improvement so you can find the right job for you. Update your profile to include your latest experience, and show you’re open to new opportunities. It's also a good idea to make sure your LinkedIn network is up to date by connecting with former co-workers, as more than 70% of professionals get hired at a company where they have a professional connection.

Say goodbye gracefully 

If you’re initiating the break up, exit with grace and respect for your current employer. Half of hiring managers have re-hired someone who they worked with previously, so it’s important not to burn bridges. Do your part to set the company up for future success by giving your manager at least two weeks notice and being honest, respectful and positive during your exit interview. Consider writing a recommendation for your former co-workers and managers that will display on their LinkedIn profile to maintain the relationship and keep the line of communication open. 

Now get out there, and showcase your best self

Over half of professionals feel their skills have been overlooked in the hiring process. If you’re just starting your search, take the time to validate your skills with LinkedIn Skill Assessments, a new tool to showcase your capabilities and become more discoverable to opportunities. Not an exact skill match for the roles you’re looking at? Don’t sweat it -- nearly three-quarters of recruiters hire candidates who don’t exactly match the skills or experience posted for a specific role. To improve your chances of being considered, demonstrate how the skills you have apply to the position, show success in previous roles, and highlight your soft skills like creativity and teamwork. The best way to get hiring managers to take a chance on you is by projecting confidence, intelligence and willingness to learn during your interview.

If you’re looking for a job you love, LinkedIn has millions of jobs and the right one for you. 


Methodology: Censuswide conducted the survey for LinkedIn from December 19 - 23, 2019, among 2,000 working professionals ages 18-74 and 1,000 hiring managers across the U.S.