“We live in a small world,” said Naeema Pasha, director of careers and professional development at Henley Business School. “If you’re planning on staying in the same industry, you’re probably going to meet the same people over again.”
Even if you’re changing sectors, you’re still likely to need a reference from a previous employer before landing a new role.
Whatever the reason, it’s in your best interests to make sure that you’re doing it right. Leaving a company on bad terms can impact your professional reputation.
- Find out what the company policy is for resignation – This is standard job-exit etiquette, but some employees give less notice, leaving their employer scrambling to find a replacement. Every job contract includes the expected time of notice; it’s best to respect this notice and give your employer enough time to find a replacement unless you’re resigning for an urgent reason like health concerns or the loss of a loved one. This is a sure way to burn that bridge and miss out on a much-needed recommendation.
- Tell your manager first – Tell your manager in person before telling your other colleagues. It’s good manners and more human to have the conversation before your resignation email hits their inbox. Try to eliminate the element of surprise a resignation can produce. Once you’ve spoken to your manager, agree on a timeframe for how and when the rest of your colleagues will be informed.
- Put it in writing – Most companies will require you to put your notice in writing. “Be sure you note when your last day will be, express thanks for the opportunity, and let your supervisor and company know that the experiences you are leaving with will no doubt help you in any future endeavors,” said Reynolds.
- Be professional – Plan what you are going to say and be articulate with your reasons for leaving because it will allow both parties to move on once you’ve had the conversation. Even if you’re not leaving on the best terms,
- Don’t play the blame game.
- Don’t trash-talk your former colleagues or managers no matter how pissed off you are at the company.
- Don’t be rude in your resignation letter or become lazy towards work during your notice period.
- Adhere to your boss’ instructions and carry out your duties even during your notice period. The right network of people can get you where you want to go and these relations are invaluable.
- Return all the company’s property in your care – Also important, is the need to return all office belongings to the company as you clear your desk before taking your leave.
- Be Helpful After You Leave Your Job – You’ve made excellent relationships at your former job so make yourself available and helpful after you leave to keep your network strong. Fast Company suggests putting in extra effort to preserve your reputation.