Leaving a job is rarely easy but there are ways to handle your exit gracefully and minimize the awkwardness. Candidates we place often ask about what to do and say when they resign. If you are about to move on from your current position, here are seven tips about making it as painless as possible for everyone.
1. Don’t tell. Don’t tell your coworkers, officemate or anyone else you work with before you tell your boss and human resources. And don’t put it out on social media immediately once you’ve accepted that great new job.
2. Thank your boss for the opportunity you’ve had. Think of something positive you’ve gained or accomplished to mention when you resign.
3. Be prepared. Hopefully you are not resigning in haste and have time to mentally prepare for leaving. You might be asked for reasons why. It’s best to prepare a brief answer that doesn’t reflect badly on your employer or coworkers.
4. Be prepared #2. If your transition is coming as a big surprise, be prepared for your boss to react with the same surprise. And don’t take the initial shock and potential anger as permanent. Often times hiring managers need a little time to get used to the change before being ready to react in a productive, supportive manner.
5. Be prepared #3. It’s standard to give two weeks notice and there are rarely good reasons to stay longer, but be ready to pick up and leave right away if that’s what your current boss wants. Especially if you’re leaving to join a similar company or a competitor, it makes no sense for them to keep you around.
6. Come with a plan. If you want to leave in the best light, plan for your exit. Develop a short-term succession plan, and offer to help find a replacement as much as your time allows. Try to make yourself available for the occasional phone call in the coming weeks after you leave.
7. Respect HR. Many companies require an exit interview by human resources. You may be given an opportunity to share candid feedback about your experience working in that company, and the reasons you are leaving. Make it productive and worthwhile for those involved by offering information that will be helpful for future employees.
Chaloner, founded in 1979 as Chaloner Associates, is a national executive search firm that focuses on recruiting mid- to senior-level communications, public relations, marketing and investor relations professionals.