With so many people changing jobs now, I thought it was important to share some thoughts with those thinking about joining the ranks of ‘The Great Resignation.”
Changing jobs is often an exciting step of moving up in your career. But no matter your reason for leaving your position, it’s important to demonstrate your excellent character throughout the process and leave in a graceful and professional manner.
Keep the door open, as they say. No one wants to burn bridges, as you never know what might come back around later in your career. Within an industry, word often gets around, and people who display negative behavior may have more limited options in the future.
Besides, you never know where other people within your company may end up, so it’s always best to retain an excellent reputation. At Hennessey Digital, we’ve had employees leave, then later hired them back, so it’s important to leave a position while maintaining integrity.
Here are some tips that will keep you in the best position to maintain working relationships, and make you stand out as the valuable employee you are.
1) Give plenty of notice.
While two weeks is the standard, I would suggest giving more notice if possible. This allows your employer to plan ahead so they can work around any necessary schedule changes and begin searching for someone to fill your role. It’s good to be mindful of the gap you’re leaving for your team, and ensure there isn’t a large gap of time in which your tasks are no longer being covered.
Giving adequate notice will also make things easier on you in your final days at the company. With time to plan ahead, you’ll be less crunched to meet deadlines and finish up projects that may suddenly need to be completed sooner than scheduled. If someone has already been chosen to fill your position, you’ll have more time to work with them to show them the ropes. Ultimately, it will create less stress for everyone involved.
2) Document everything you do.
Even if your employer doesn’t ask for it, create a list of every type of task you take care of and any important notes about how it’s done. This will make it easy to create a job description for your replacement, and it will make training that much easier. If you get the chance to train your replacement, it will make things significantly easier on you.
If someone leaves an organization and a task they handled that no one knew about suddenly stops getting done, it can lead to confusion and backups in other people’s workloads. Your list will create clarity about your role so nothing gets overlooked.
Make sure to hand off everything you’ve documented to the person taking over your position and to your supervisor. Even if you’re unable to train your successor in your role, the list will help them get on their feet.
Demonstrating your dedication to the success of the company even after you’ve left is a great way to ensure you get a great recommendation. It’s a pay-it-forward mentality; leave details about tasks exactly as you’d like it to be if you were starting the position.
3) Write personal thank-you notes to coworkers and leaders.
Personal thank-you notes are a great way to make a strong positive impression. Write notes even to coworkers and leaders you didn’t get along with, thanking them for the things they contributed and their role in helping you move forward in your career. You never know who you may work with again in the future, so it’s best to leave people with a positive memory of you. You’re not the only one in your company who may change jobs in the future, and especially in more specialized industries, there’s a good chance you may run into connections again.
Appreciation if often reciprocal, and by going out of your way to do something nice for others, people are more likely to help you in the future. Every good connection you have is beneficial as you build your professional network. And, it just feels good to send a thank-you note to others because it fosters an attitude of gratitude.
4) Write recommendations for people to show and share appreciation
Just like thank-you notes, offer to give people references or endorse their skills on LinkedIn. Even better, you can preemptively write letters of recommendations for those you worked with. This is a great concrete way to thank people. While you may not get a recommendation in return, you’ve done something nice for each person you recommend, and they are likely to appreciate it. It’s a great way to encourage and help your teammates, and is the perfect way to exit the team.
Leaving your position gracefully will make a good impression on those you worked with so they remember you fondly. You worked hard to earn your reputation at the company, and it’s important to maintain that positive reputation until your last day. It will help you make better connections and expand your network, which is always beneficial to your career. The more people you are connected to, the more opportunities you’ll have. As you move up in your career, always do your best to create mutually beneficial connections and stick to your integrity. It’ll help you go far.