After careful consideration, you’ve decided to quit your job. What next?
When resigning, you don’t want to leave in a sudden or chaotic manner. Your departure should be carefully thought out and planned.
Here are the six key things you should do in preparation for your last day on the job to ensure you leave on good terms and with a stellar reputation.
Leave Your Job with the Same Attitude You Started With
The best thing to do is to leave your job as you started it.
Think about it. You probably spent a lot of time preparing for your first day.
You wanted to make a good impression, so you picked out something nice to wear. You had a smile on your face. And you made the effort to greet everyone and make friends.
Take the same positive attitude and approach to your departure.
Think about the best book or movie. We remember the beginning and the end.
The same is true with a job.
We want people to remember us starting off on the right foot and leaving on a high note.
However, few people give any thought to the last impressions they leave as they walk out the door.
If you make the decision to look for other employment but know you won’t be leaving your current job for a while, make sure you continue performing at a high level and in a positive manner.
You don’t want to begin a downward slide so that when you do finally turn in your resignation people say, “that figures, it was obvious he hasn’t been happy here for a while.”
Take Advantage of Opportunities to Upskill
There are some positions which have a long lead time.
The hiring cycle for university professors and lecturers is often 12 months.
That means most academics decide at least a year before starting a new job that they are going to resign and move elsewhere.
It can be hard to maintain enthusiasm for a current role if you are looking forward to the next one, but it’s important to do that.
Nevertheless, start working to obtain new skills. This can be a motivator and be an extra selling point in your job application.
If your current employer pays for your training, it’s important to use those skills before you leave. Otherwise, you may be asked to repay those costs, particularly if they give credit towards a degree program.
Of course, your current employer is not your only opportunity for professional development. There are certifications through LinkedIn or MOOCs. For more information on valuable resources for upskilling, check out episode 3.
Notify Your Supervisor and Be Consistent In Your Message
If your boss has been difficult, you may be inclined to report your resignation to HR and allow them to notify your supervisor. In general, this is considered poor form.
Any actions that imply you are snubbing your manager maybe taking as such. And you don’t want to open yourself up to the possibility of being seen to be doing the wrong thing.
Keep in mind once the news is out in the open it is hard to control the narrative.
You’re not obligated to explain why you are leaving or what you’re planning to do after your resignation. But inquiring minds will want to know.
That is why it’s important to be consistent in whatever message you choose to share.
If you tell your boss you are leaving because you need a job closer to home and then tell colleagues you’re leaving because you’re sick of an overbearing manager you’re telling conflicting stories.
People naturally share notes and take notice if you aren’t being consistent. That will lead them to question whether you are being truthful with anyone.
In short, choose a story and stick to. Do not bend to pressure and give additional details when probed, even by someone you consider a friend.
Give Notice, Not Too Little, Not Too Much
Two weeks’ notice is standard.
However, it’s great to give more if you have that flexibility.
One month to six weeks is ideal, particularly if you have a good working relationship with your colleagues and are leaving on friendly terms.
By giving 4-6 weeks’ notice, you might be able to assist with training your replacement. It can allow the time to ensure a smooth transition for everyone.
Ultimately, don’t leave the company in the lurch. Do your part to ensure you provide them the necessary information to be successful. If you fail to do that, it will be remembered.
At the same time don’t give too much notice.
Academics often know several months in advance that they will be moving to another university. This is one instance when giving more notice is appreciated.
But with most jobs in industry, more than 2-3 months’ notice is too long.
In case you are wondering why, it’s quite simple.
The moment you tell anyone you are leaving, you become an outsider.
That may mean you lose perks, like admin support. Or you may not be invited to meetings because decisions won’t affect you, so why should you have input?
Connect with Colleagues & Give and Get Recommendations
If you aren’t yet connected with your colleagues on LinkedIn, do that before you leave.
While you are at it, give recommendations on LinkedIn to people you’ve worked with.
They will remember the gesture and appreciate the recognition.
At the same time, don’t hesitate to ask colleagues for LinkedIn recommendations.
When asking for a LinkedIn recommendation, give the individual some guidance as to what you want them to say. The more guidance you can provide the more valuable the recommendation will be.
Say Thank You
Finally, be gracious when leaving. Even if there were difficult times, there were likely good ones too. Highlight those. And if nothing else, thank your colleagues for being there.
You never know who you will end up working with or working for or who may impact your career in the future. It’s always best to be appreciative. A small gesture of thanks may be worth its weight in gold later on down the line.