11 Things You Should Do When Quitting Your Job

Quitting your job is a necessary evil that must be conquered before moving on to a better job, and like great stories of good vs. evil, you must have a strategy to defeat it. You need to bow out gracefully, enhancing your reputation rather than ruining it.

After all, you’re growing up in a fully-connected world. Your common contacts on LinkedIn could have things to say about you that could make or break your next job.

It matters more than ever to depart professionally, especially since job changes are becoming more frequent – The new normal for millennials is four job changes by age 32.

So, what will your exit strategy be? Here are 11 things to do when giving notice:

1. Make Sure You’re Going to a Better Job

You’d be surprised how easy it is to forget this advice. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that you need to get out — now — but sinking down lower isn’t the answer. Accepting a new position that pays less, offers less benefits or doesn’t make you work as hard is never worth it.

Take a position that emphasizes your skills, offers a fresh challenge every day and compensates you fairly.

2. Finalize Plans With Your New Employer

Don’t resign until you’re sure you are locked in for your new job. The employer should provide written evidence of the commitment. Make sure they include your start date and starting salary, your work schedule and an explanation of the benefits package.

3. Give Adequate Time

Before you do anything else, make sure to let your supervisor know. This isn’t a subject you can communicate to them mere days before quitting. The workplace standard is to put in two weeks notice before you head out.

If you have a managerial or a complex position, however, your employer could have trouble finding a replacement quickly. In this case, it’s best to let them know more than two weeks out — your employer will have an easier time finding someone new.

4. What’s Your Story?

It’s essential to think about how you will break the news to your supervisor and coworkers. Two things to remember when doing this: You need to be consistent and stay positive. Any floundering or negative talk will likely reach the ears of your supervisor and could create conflict.

5. Write Your Resignation Letter

Of course, you should talk to your boss before doing this — but the resignation letter seals the deal. It will set the tone for your final weeks on the job.

There’s no need to explain yourself in the letter. You will most likely share your reasons for leaving verbally. Keep it simple!

There are two parts to a resignation letter: stating your resignation and thanking your employer. The first part is pretty self-explanatory — just make sure you let them know when your last day will be.

When thanking your employer, include some things you learned or enjoyed about your position. Remember, you want to leave a positive and lasting impression, and a personal thank you definitely helps with this.

6. Plan for an Exit Interview

You might be asked for an exit interview. These can seem daunting — you can never be sure what your boss or HR is thinking about your resignation. The important thing to remember, though, is that these interviews are strictly business.

Usually, HR conducts the interview. They will ask you questions about how the company can be improved or help you identify issues with an employee or manager.

7. Say No to a Counter-Offer

Counter-offers can be tempting. After all, you’re basically making your boss beg you to stay. There might be more money or more perks for you. But don’t be roped back in — it’s time to go.

What would happen if you stayed? Your newfound enthusiasm from earning more will wear off quickly. Your company probably won’t trust you anymore since you had one foot out the door. Maybe numerous coworkers will have negative feelings toward you. The point is, you will still end up leaving anyway – eventually. Counter-offers are not magic — they don’t fix anything other than your salary.

Lisa Quast, author of YOUR CAREER, YOUR WAY offers this advice: “Don’t let your ego or feeling flattered that you’re being offered more money cloud your judgment or cause you to make a bad decision. You already did your homework, so feel secure about the process you went through to seek a different job.”

8. Ensure a Smooth Transition

As much as you may want to leave your old job behind in a cloud of dust while possibly shouting profanities, that’s not the polite thing to do. It’s an inconvenience to the company if you leave without a transition plan.

What does your replacement need to know about your job? You need to outline this for them — it will make life a lot easier for them, their coworkers and their supervisor. You should include your main duties and how to improve their experience in the role, as well as important computer files and passwords.

Above all, let them know what they can do to foster success. Not only is it a great gesture, but it also could give the new hire the boost they need.

9. Stay Productive

Just because you’re leaving doesn’t mean you can abandon all of your work. Now is not the time for slacking off — you need to prove you can work hard until the end!

If you leave on a positive note, it will leave a lasting impression. Your coworkers and your boss will remember the fact that you remained strong until your very last minute.

10. Keep Your Network Strong

The online world is your best friend during your whole professional career. Don’t let your online presence slack especially when it comes to your connections. If you’re leaving, add your friends from your previous company on LinkedIn. If you left the door open for future contact with your supervisors, add them, too.

Feel free to send some emails if some coworkers were unaware of your departure. Just keep the conversation light, and don’t speak of your resignation negatively. You want to keep these people around — they’re important to you personally and professionally.

11. Build Bridges, Don’t Burn Them

You built a lot of connections during your time at the company. Every day, you communicated and collaborated with others. Quitting your job doesn’t mean just walking out the door and leaving everyone behind. There are people who helped you grow and share your vision — and they’re worth keeping in touch with.

You worked hard to create these relationships. Even if you’re doubtful about staying in contact, imagine what these people could do for you if you ever need career help again!


Are you thinking of quitting your job? Do you have any tips we missed on this checklist? Let us know in the comments!

And don’t forget to subscribe to the PC newsletter for more tips to guide you in your job search and career!

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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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