How to Leave the Job Professionally & Protect Relationships
For many, the start of a new year means heading to greener pastures. But, even when it’s not the start of the new year and you’ve decided to quit your job for a better suited professional opportunity, it’s critical to leave professionally. Don’t burn any bridges!
Whether the journey with the employer you’re about to leave has been a positive one or negative one, it’s in your best interest to keep relations professional and courteous. What you do at this stage will have an impact on how others view you professionally, and it can come back to help you or hurt you depending on how you handle your resignation from the job.
Follow these tips to leaving the job professionally and protecting relationships:
Don’t jump the gun!
Before notifying your employer that you are quitting, you should have several things in place.
- A firm job offer that is in writing
- A written resignation letter
- An understanding of the company’s policy related to resigning from your post
Establish a timeline of action
Once the critical elements are in place to allow you to proceed with resigning, it’s important to time your events to support a professional departure.
- Consider the ideal time for exit. For instance, if there is an important project you’re working on, it may warrant an exit after said project is complete, as not to cause tension with colleagues you’re working with.
- Determine when to submit your resignation notice so that the company is given sufficient notice. Generally, the industry standard is a two-week notice or more for those at a senior level. Also, factor that some employers will advise for an immediate departure upon notice to protect proprietary information, so you want to avoid providing notice too early in advance if the goal is to work through a certain period.
Act on the timeline professionally
How you present your resignation matters.
- Your resignation letter should be presented at a scheduled private meeting or over the phone if that’s the only option. Don’t do it via email, as it can come off as impersonal and unprofessional.
- Keep communication positive, expressing appreciation and gratitude for the opportunity provided while employed.
- Maintain your character following the delivery of your resignation letter. Continue to follow company policies and maintain work ethic.
Express interest in staying connected
Remain friendly and express that you value the relationship established. Be open to continuing the relationship after your departure from the job.
- Bring closure to the situation with your contacts informing them of your plans to depart and express gratitude and appreciation for the opportunity working together.
- Find ways to maintain contact like connecting on LinkedIn. The untold future may have you cross paths with the contact again.
Your journey with the employer is not officially over until you have completed your last day. Maintain your character and professionalism at work for a lasting impression that leaves people thinking and saying things that will help you in your career in the long run.
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