So you’ve made up your mind – it’s time to quit your job and move on. In order to make this transition as easy and professional of possible, there are certain tasks you should undertake before you turn in your notice.
While some employers might be okay with you quitting and allow you the time you need to wrap things up, some might insist you leave immediately, so make sure you’re ready before you resign. This means making sure you’re tying up any loose ends that might get in the way of your exit.
Be prepared. Do you use a company computer? Make sure you clean off all your personal files and back up anything you think you might need including contacts and important information. Start streamlining your personal space/office/desk. Do you have samples of your work or a portfolio that you’d like to show to potential future employers?
Write a formal letter of resignation. A formal letter of resignation is more than just a courtesy; it’s also a legal document clearly outlining that you are leaving and when you are leaving. It’s also one more opportunity to leave on a good note, so make sure your letter is well thought out and well written.
Devise an exit timeline. Industry standard is to give your employer at least two weeks’ notice before your last day, but in some instances and industries, you might be asked to stay longer for one reason or another. If your job takes extensive training, your employer might ask you to help ease the transition with your replacement. Finishing a project you’re working on might also be expected. No matter what the reason, have a plan in place in case you are asked.
Be ready for tough questions – and a possible counteroffer. Your employer will most likely want to conduct an exit interview. Be candid and honest, but try to keep your criticisms constructive. Stay positive and focus on the good times and experiences you’ve had. Reiterate how working for the company has benefited you but also remain firm in the fact that it’s time to move on. If a counteroffer is made (promotion, raise, greater responsibility), make sure you really think about it before accepting it. You were planning on leaving for a reason so don’t get yourself in the same situation again.
Leaving on a positive note is both good manners and good business. Take a few minutes to say a personal goodbye to those people you’ve worked with directly, and make sure you leave your contact information so you can all stay in touch.