Selling Yourself in a Job Interview

Situation: Changing careers

Our client recently lost her job of 6 years in one of the largest companies in Latvia. She has an interview with another company in that same sector, and needs assistance in clarifying why she lost her job, but how this should not affect how future employers view her performance, skills, and professionalism.


To begin, we needed to address the language of changing careers, as the terms we use in this area matter greatly.

“I left my job.” = the employee made this decision completely on their own, to focus on other areas.
“I quit my job.” = this can sound aggressive and make it appear that there was conflict in the workplace.
“I was fired.” = the employee was told to leave the company, specifically for poor performance, and in some cases something even worse, such as stealing from the company, or being difficult to work with.
“I was let go / I was laid off.” = the employer made the decision, but it was due to financial, structural, or managerial changes in the company, and had nothing to do with the employee’s performance.

There are additional ways of phrasing this particular case, depending on the situation:

-”The company is making some structural changes.”
-”The company is going through a difficult period.”
-“The company is going through a transitional phase.”
-”The company is in the middle of downsizing” = large-scale lay-offs, meaning many persons in many departments are losing their job.

Our client needed to make sure to use the examples that made it clear she was “let go” / “laid off” due to internal decisions, but, she also needed to phrase things in a way that allowed her to receive a recommendation from this previous employer, and didn’t risk that employer’s ability to operate in the market.

Next, our client needed to be able to put her achievements and success in the best possible light, despite her feeling that the company did not offer her enough opportunity to shine on the job, or that her leaving the company came too soon. This required learning and practicing some specific phrases and tenses that would also make it clear she wasn’t saying anything negative about her former employer, but eager to try something new.


“I absolutely appreciate everything my company did for me, but I’m interested in / focused on new challenges.”
“It was a great experience, but now I’m looking for something new.
“I feel I haven’t reached my potential.
”I’m excited to sharpen my skills in new areas.”
”During my time with the company, I sought to make the most of every opportunity available me to, but at the end of the day I’m responsible for my career”
”It was an exciting chapter in my life and professional career, but I’m ready to start a new chapter and really prove myself
”I am thankful for the interest the company had in me, but I know I am capable of more


Each of these phrases says something slightly different, but they all make it clear that while this person understands the reasoning for her departure from the company, this person will not be deterred from her career path, or her desire to improve her skills. The phrases used above indicate how much the future of her career means to her, and how she is not afraid of new and difficult situations.