No one likes to be the bearer of bad news, especially in the workplace. But when it comes to your career, tough decisions need to be made.
We say: accept that exciting job offer — your current employer will be OK.
There seems to be a misconception that handing in your resignation means severing important working relationships. The real secret? It’s all about how you do it. Here are four steps to resign from your job that are sure to make the transition as smooth as possible, all while keeping your reputation in the industry intact.
1. Notify Your Manager First
Sorry, procastinators — ripping off the Band-Aid is your best bet in this scenario. The first person you need to notify is your manager. If you work at the same location, in-person is always the better option, but over-the-phone is also an alternative. The conversation should focus on the positive, highlighting the new opportunity’s selling points and your willingness to assist with the changeover process. This shows to your employer that you respect them and their time, and don’t want to leave the company in a bind.
Pro tip: Be prepared for a counteroffer and make sure you consider its ramifications down the road.
2. Give Enough Notice and Put it in Writing
Sure, the general rule is two weeks advance notice, but that can change with the complexity of the role. If you’re in higher-level management, a longer transition period may be needed to help train or find your replacement.
When it comes to the resignation letter, bring it with you to that initial meeting with your boss or attach it to an email after the phone call. It should include the following:
- Date of the last day you plan to work
- Reason for leaving (doesn’t have to be too specific — just that you’re accepting another position at a new company)
- Share your appreciation for your time working at the company and any other true remarks about your experience
3. Finish Your Stay Strong
If you’re leaving to work for a competitor, sometimes employers prefer you don’t stick around and will immediately escort you out. Don’t take this personally; it’s business, after all. But if you do complete your notice period, make it count. Document important processes that will be useful to the position’s successor, relay noteworthy information to colleagues and wrap up any outstanding assignments or projects, if possible.
Pro tip: Retaining a positive attitude — even if difficult — is a must. The payoff will be worth it.
4. Prepare for the Exit Interview
These can be tricky, especially if you want to keep the possibility of working at the company in the future an option. Be honest about your experience, but avoid emotional outbursts or personal attacks on management. Keeping in touch with key team members is also essential, as you never know where your career will take you.
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