Figuring out how to tell your boss that you’re leaving is tough. Whether you enjoyed your job or are delighted to be going, finding a way to leave with a great reference is essential.
Sure, it’s fun to imagine pulling the cord and dropping the slide or singing a goodbye song over the intercom, especially if you’ve grown to despise your position or company, but at the end of the day, it’s essential to leave gracefully.
Why? Well, there’s an old saying that you can’t change the first impression. When you’re leaving a job, though, it might be more appropriate to say, “you can’t change the last impression.”
Even if the company doesn’t go into detail, leaving without notice can ensure that HR labels you as “not eligible for rehire” when future employers inquire. And a hasty exit can negate any great work you did while employed there, harming your potential jobs down the road. You may end up having to answer, “Why did you leave your previous job?” and hoping it matches what your previous boss says.
So, how do you create an exit plan that includes a graceful exit?
What To Consider When Resigning
“Have you started hiring to fill her role? I think she got a new job.”
This is not how you want your manager to be notified of your exit. Give your manager the courtesy of being the first to know. Keep it under your hat. Don’t post any new positions on social media or change your LinkedIn status just yet.
The professional standard is to give at least two weeks’ notice whenever possible. If you have a good rapport, offer to train your replacement. Clean up your area, and return any IT equipment promptly. Thank them for the opportunity.
Resign in Person
Request a meeting in person or a Zoom conference if you’re a remote employee. Be concise. Let them know that you’re going to be leaving and when. Have a printed or digital resignation letter ready to go.
Similar to the manner you carefully reviewed your resume, you’ll want to spend a little time creating your resignation letter. This is most likely to stay in your HR file. Ensure it contains your exit date, a simple explanation of why you’re leaving, and a note of gratitude for the job.
Don’t Overshare in Writing
Have a good rapport or particularly close to your boss? Feel free to confide in the details during your in-person meeting. However, your written resignation letter is a formal document that will go to your HR department. You don’t have to share more than a simple explanation. It can be as easy as saying you are leaving for personal reasons.
Request an Exit Interview
Ensure that you finalize details with HR. Find out when and where you’ll receive your final pay, and ask about vacation and sick time payouts.
If you have any feedback about your role or processes that you found confusing or challenging, now is the time to bring them up.
Network With Coworkers
While you might not have become after-work buddies, it’s always good to keep your connections alive. Reach out on LinkedIn for connections. Now is also the time to ask if they’d be willing to leave a recommendation on your LinkedIn profile.
Consider Submitting Company Reviews
While you’re wrapping things up, consider writing positive reviews on LinkedIn for your coworkers and your boss. You can leave reviews on Google or Glassdoor for the company. Be transparent about the fact that you worked there and briefly describe your experiences. Leave out any details of drama.
Leaving Gracefully Ensures You Appear Professional
Even when you didn’t hate your last job, it can be tempting to jump into your new role without creating closure at your previous job. Be cautious, though.
Your new employer might be hesitant to move forward if you’re willing to leave a current position without notice. Dramatic exits are great for the movies, but a respectful and organized exit ensures you maintain your references and professional reputation.
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