Chances are good that you’re going to hold more than one job during your career. In fact, there’s a good chance that you’ve already held more than one job.
That means you’ve already encountered the potentially prickly situation of leaving your job for another one. As with all things, there’s a right way to do it and then there’s a wrong way to do it.
Doing it the wrong way can have negative consequences for your career. After all, it is a small world, and company officials talk with one another and compare notes all the time. The last thing you want is to have a perceived “black mark” following you around, especially in a small industry.
As many of you already know from reading my blog posts and newsletter articles, “burning bridges” is a bad idea. You never know when you’ll have to cross a bridge that you’ve already burned.
With all of this in mind, below is a blueprint for the right way to leave your job:
Step #1—Write an official resignation letter.
Don’t just tell your boss that you plan to leave. Put it down on paper. There are plenty of templates available for writing an official resignation letter. This is the professional and appropriate thing to do.
Step #2—Give a full two-week’s notice.
Part of that resignation letter should include a two-week notice. Now, there’s a chance your employer will not opt to have you work out the full two weeks. It depends upon the situation and the circumstances surrounding that situation. However, you must be prepared to both offer and then work out a full two weeks.
Step #3— Thank your boss for the opportunities you have had there and leave things on a positive note.
Remember, this is all about leaving the right way. No matter what you might think of your boss, you must be cordial and thank them for the opportunities you have had to learn and grow there. Hopefully, you’ve had a good relationship with him or her, but that sometimes not the case. Consider this move an investment in your future.
Step #4—Complete all work before you leave (if possible).
Try to complete any work, especially when it comes to projects that you’re working on with other people. If you can’t finish the work, then try to document what needs to be done, either by those other people or by your eventual replacement. Of course, if your employer does not allow you to work out your two weeks, then this is more difficult.
Step #5—Be strategic about how you leave.
You want to keep your reputation as spotless as possible. Don’t tarnish it with a messy exit. Attempt to make the transition smooth. If you can’t speak well of your previous employer and your previous employer can’t speak well of you, then why would another employer want to hire you?
Leaving an employer in an appropriate fashion is one of many things that a professional search consultant can help you with by making suggestions to help you. If don’t already have a relationship with a search consultant, it can be one of the most important relationships of your career.
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