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How you leave a job makes a lasting impression on your soon-to-be-former managers and colleagues. You may need a reference from that job at some point – and chances are those you worked with will become a part of your professional network. When you are getting ready to start a new position, be sure to resign in a way that reinforces your professional image, maintains relationships and keeps the door open for future opportunities.

Tell Your Manager First

You owe your first discussion about your pending resignation to your boss. Tell them what you are doing and thank them for their help and support. Keep your announcement positive by emphasizing what you have learned, how you have grown and the opportunities provided by your job.

  • Give at least two weeks’ notice. Ask how you can best spend this time. Suggest documenting processes and procedures for your successor and training others on your team.
  • Ask your manager if you can tell your co-workers. When doing so, be honest without being negative or critical. This could seriously hurt you in the future.
  • Once you have notified your manager, submit an official resignation letter for HR. State that you are leaving and share the date, not the reasons. Write professionally and in a forward-thinking manner.

Your Last Two Weeks

Leaving a job is emotional, whether you are happy about your decision or have mixed feelings. Regardless of the circumstances, make an appropriate exit.

  • Provide assistance with the transition. Offer to train your successor or the person who will fill in until a successor is chosen. Write manuals and procedures that describe the steps followed in the key components of your job, if they do not already exist. Fulfill client engagements and introduce your replacement to customers and vendors.
  • Participate in an exit interview. Share your genuine ideas for improvement and respond positively to related questions.
  • Thank people. Showing gratitude goes a long way – and if you do, people will be more inclined to help you out in the future. Above all, thank your supervisor and HR. They are the most likely to be called on your behalf for future references and employment verifications.

Your Last Day

  • Remove personal information from company property such as laptops or cell phones. Turn in passwords. If you haven’t already done so, update online information to reflect your new role. Be sure that voice mail and email are updated for your successor or the individual who will be covering for you.
  • Turn in company property. This includes keys and ID tags.
  • Address any outstanding questions with your manager and colleagues. Always maintain a professional demeanor so you leave with the best impression and your reputation intact.

As you advance your career, consider a partnership with an executive recruiter from BrainWorks. We’ll provide exceptional, confidential support as you find and make a seamless transition into your next opportunity. Contact us today to learn how we can help you move your career ahead in 2016.


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