Quitting your job can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. There is, however, a right and a wrong way to quit your job with your current employer.
After all, you could cross paths with your current employer again at some point in the future. Making sure you are remembered in a positive light is crucial. Here are the steps to ensure you leave your job on a positive note.
1. Is this the right time?
There is never quite a suitable time to resign, and it depends on your current situation. Are you waiting for your end-of-year bonus? Or perhaps you want to utilise the paternal or maternal leave at a company before leaving?
Taking time to think about whether you should stay or go can prevent you from making a rash decision and potentially ruining what a positive relationship was. If you feel overworked or underappreciated, talk to those in charge about how to improve your situation.
If you are actively searching for a new job, talking to career experts or seeking career advice may give you more time to plan for your leaving. Resignation letters should be polite and professional.
Do not get too emotional or angry in your letter because you may need to work together with your direct supervisor in the future. Maintaining professional relationships with your former boss and former colleagues may leave a good impression on them.
2. Give the right amount of notice period
The length of the notice period you need to give will vary from role to role and from company to company. For some, it is a two weeks notice period, while it is a month for others. Generally speaking, it will be seen as unprofessional if you do not offer your employer the minimum amount of notice.
Your employer is likely to be impressed if you leave your current job in a proper fashion. Consult your employment contract to see how much notice needs to be given. Ask the Human Resources department for clarification. You also need to make sure that you use all your outstanding vacation days because your vacation days may not be able to be turned into cash.
3. Offer feedback for your decision to leave
Even if your HR team does not schedule an exit interview, reaching out to a team member is a good idea to discuss any feedback or concerns you have in your current role.
If your choice to quit stems from concerns about specific co-workers, HR can help to improve working conditions.
Remember, this is not the time to be trash-talking about the company but to be fair, measured, and constructive. Your actions could greatly help the company over the coming years and not burn bridges in the process.
4. Create a good letter of resignation
A good, formal resignation letter is relatively brief and to the point. Still, if you follow standard practice, it should also be polite and informative. Your letter of resignation should include your final day of employment and a general comment on your reason(s) for leaving.
If you have enjoyed your current position, be sure to say so and thank your manager for their guidance and support. A good resignation letter will help maintain a good relationship with your current organisation.
5. Consider offering a little help to your replacement
You should be prepared to give some help to your replacement. This includes helping to train your replacement, documenting your work, showing your replacement where essential files are stored, and providing other helpful information.
Create a calendar showing what you need to do each week. It should include your to-do list, project plans, and any other information you need to remember about tasks or appointments.
Your calendar should also show when upcoming events are happening, such as birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and important dates.
6. Make sure you truly want to resign
Some warning signs will show you it is time to leave your job. These may include mental health issues, a need for a career change, or failing to stay positive about your current company.
You should make sure you are leaving your job for the right reasons, instead of quitting because you are having an awful day. This should create a smooth transition for you and make the transition easier.
7. Have a job offer in the pipeline, unless…
If you do not have a job offer, try to stay at your current job until you can get something better. You might not be eligible for unemployment benefits, and the job market is highly competitive.
Only leave your job immediately if there is a good reason. Finding your next job can take three to six months of job hunting for most roles.
Unless you have a lot of savings to tie you over or are experiencing abuse at your job, it is best to have a new job ready and waiting to be taken before the notice period gets underway rather than an unnecessary gap in employment.
8. Ask for a reference
If you have a limited amount of work experience, ask your boss in person to provide a reference letter. This way, if you need one, you can use this as proof of your experience.
Whether that reference is an actual formal letter or an online recommendation on LinkedIn, it can contribute to you finding an excellent job in the future. If you already have a job lined up, get a reference anyway because you may need one in the coming years.
If you have been working in the industry for over 10 years, list down two to three people in your CV as references, so anyone looking at your CV can reach out to them to find out more about you if needed.
9. What to do in the lead-up to leaving
You should help your new colleagues settle into their roles and tasks during your notice period. Finish any critical tasks or a big project before leaving if you have the time.
This is an excellent time to focus on tying up loose ends, returning company property, and getting everything else ready for your successor. Going out to lunch or coffee with your co-workers may be a good idea.
Use your time constructively and be responsible; you should not go for long lunches or have long non-work-related conversations at the pantry if you still have a lot of work to clear.
Giving personal notes or sending personal emails to managers, mentors, and close colleagues will help you to leave on good terms and create a better impression of yourself. Remember to also get your last paycheck and settle any outstanding payments before your last day.
Text: Michael Page