Thanks for Everything! Seven Tips for Leaving Your Job the Right Way

When the time comes to move on from your current job, you’ll want to go through the process with the same care and consideration that you put into getting hired for it in the first place; no matter why you’re leaving, you want to do so with a good reputation and positive feelings from co-workers. Here are some tips to follow to make sure that you’re leaving with a good reputation:

  • Write a letter. You don’t need to (and shouldn’t) go into great detail about why  you’re leaving, but written notice that you are resigning and when your last day will be, plus thanks to your supervisor and other leadership, is a basic professional courtesy.
  • Speak with your supervisor in person. This is another courtesy. It shows respect for the person and that you have the maturity to discuss your decision. You may be asked about your decision, but keep a positive tone regardless of the reason to leave.
  • Give plenty of notice. Barring an emergency, two weeks is considered the minimum acceptable notice to give, and longer is better to help with the transition. If possible, stay long enough to help train and orient your replacement.
  • Leave behind an SOP. Especially if you leave before someone else takes your position, it is immensely helpful to your employer if you list all of your responsibilities (even if they aren’t part of your job description) in a standard operating procedures (SOP) document and describe how you accomplished them.
  • Ask for a reference. You’ll want to have your manager’s commendation of your work and professionalism as you advance in your career. Asking for a letter of reference also shows that you valued the relationship.
  • Say thank you. Even if you’re leaving the job because of conflicts with other people or because you don’t feel appreciated, be gracious with everybody on your way out. Thank them for their help on work that you did together, their guidance, their being part of the team with you. Your former co-workers can all be valuable networking contacts, so make sure that they view you positively.
  • Let your network know. This goes extra if you’re on LinkedIn, but it applies for Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, too—announce your departure (in positive terms) and, if you’re immediately moving on to another position, let everybody know you’re excited.

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