If you’ve decided to move on from your current role, there are still some things that you need to do before you walk out of the office for the last time. Get them wrong and you could leave on a sour note (and put an end to any chance of returning in the near future). Get them right and you will have shown yourself to be the professional you are.
Prepare to resign
Before you hand in your letter of resignation, compile your portfolio, take personal property home and remove personal files and software from your computer. That way there will be no question about what belongs to you and what belongs to the company.
Give ample notice
Ensure you check company’s policy manual if you’re not sure about how much notice you’re supposed to give. If you don't follow company policy, not only might you cause bad feeling, but you might also deprive yourself of termination benefits, such as pay for any unused vacation.
Offer to help
Consider offering to:
- Assist in finding and interviewing your replacement, if appropriate
- Help out until your replacement is on board
- Help train and hand over to your replacement
Ask for recommendation letters
If your company is understanding about your resignation, ask bosses, co-workers and others for recommendation (reference) letters. It’s best to do this now than months after you’ve gone, when they may not remember your work in detail.
Do say goodbye
Take the time to talk with each of your bosses, co-workers and those you reported directly to. Express your appreciation and say that you’ll miss working with them.
Don't jump the gun
Never submit your resignation letter until you have a solid job offer in writing.
Despite how flattering it might be, many career advisors agree that it's not a good idea to accept a counter offer.
Don't display a short-timer's attitude
Make sure your work area and projects are in order and try to clear up unfinished business.
Don't consort with the boat rockers
Some of your discontented co-workers might try and encourage you to criticize the company, your bosses or other co-workers, but be careful. You never know who your next boss might be or who might be all too happy to relay your negative thoughts to others.
Don't bite the bait
Your management or HR department might ask you for "constructive criticism" during your exit interview. Never criticise the company or its employees. If they ask why you're resigning, be as honest as you can but ensure you frame your answers positively.
Don't accept a counter offer
Despite how flattering it might be, many career advisors agree that it's not a good idea to accept a counter offer. Once you've made it perfectly clear that you want to jump ship, your loyalty will be in question.
Don't feel guilty
Employees quit all the time. If you do feel guilty, remember no one is indispensable and the company will survive without you.
Don't take anything the company owns
It sounds obvious but however tempting, especially if you are in sales, don’t take any proprietary information, including things like pens, calculators, manuals, memory sticks or any other equipment.
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