Emotions can run high as you prepare to leave a job. You may want to vent your frustrations, celebrate, or simply fade into the horizon and start the next phase of your life.
Just as people remember the first impression you made on your current company, they also will remember the last one. So keep it graceful, professional and as smooth as possible, right up to the moment you walk out on your last day.
Have a Proactive Plan
- Be sure you’ve finalized everything with your new employer. Do not quit your current job till this is done. Every detail should be signed, negotiated and ready to go.
- Plan how to transfer your responsibilities. Work with your boss on a transition plan. Determine how to handle any unfinished projects. Make a list of recommendations on how your work can be shifted to others until your position is filled.
- Write a resignation letter. Express your gratitude for the opportunity to work at the company. Include the date of your last day on the job.
- Tell your manager first. Bring your letter with you and resign in person. This shows respect and brings official closure to your action. If your boss works in a different geographic location, make a telephone appointment. Follow up afterwards with a brief email with your resignation letter attached. Reach an agreement with your supervisor regarding how others will be told.
- Give adequate notice. Two weeks is the global norm. If your job is complex or you are in a higher-level management role, be prepared to provide additional time.
Remember, your soon-to-be former boss or colleague may one day become your reference, customer, client or co-worker at another point in your career. Keep building your professional reputation and shore up the valuable relationships you have developed, even as you prepare to leave and work elsewhere.
- Address the “Why are you leaving?” question. Cite general reasons such as a new opportunity or a better fit for your family. Be honest, respectful and positive.
- Seek out those who have been your mentors and thank them. Set lunch or coffee dates with the colleagues you value the most.
- Some employers have all exiting employees pack immediately and escort them to the door. This is true in about 15 to 20 percent of resignations. For instance, you may be going to work for a competitor or your continued on-site presence may be disruptive. If this happens, smile, even though that’s not how it feels. If you suspect such an occurrence, minimize it by gradually emptying your office of personal belongings ahead of time.
The Exit Interview
Your HR department may hold an exit interview, in which they will ask probing questions and possibly have you fill out a detailed questionnaire. Be as positive as possible. If you need to unload, save it for after hours with a trusted friend or family member.
- Exit interviews are usually confidential, but people can sometimes deduce who gave critical feedback. Managers typically check exit interview feedback before rehiring a former employee. Be sure you leave in good standing.
Contact the specialized experts at Select Group, Inc., for additional guidance at any stage of your job search and career development process. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.