Whether you’re leaving for another job opportunity or you’ve been laid off or fired, it is important that you leave your current employer on good terms with your professional dignity intact. Your remaining time on the job, in many cases, will be the last impression you make on co-workers before leaving. The following tips will help you maintain a positive professional reputation:
- Provide your manager with your resignation: Your manager should be the first to be notified of your decision to leave, in person if possible. Follow this with a formal resignation letter. Share the news directly with those most affected by your leaving. But only after your manager, their manager, and human resources have been informed.
- Give ample notice: Two weeks is considered professional. However, many employers appreciate three to four weeks, if possible. But don’t be surprised if certain situations, like leaving to work for a competitor, cause your current employer to excuse you immediately from the job.
- Don’t talk negatively about your employer and co-workers: You may honestly feel that your current employer or co-workers are unprofessional, but don’t share your negative opinions. Remember, you may cross professional paths with these people again.
- Avoid bragging about your next job: It’s fine to be excited about your next opportunity, but co-workers won’t appreciate you bragging about the job’s increased salary or perks.
- Make it a smooth transition: Wrap up loose ends; turn over organized project files; provide client, vendor, or other relevant contact information; and prioritize work with your manager. These steps will ensure a smooth hand off of your job responsibilities to the next responsible person and/or your manager.
- Be respectful of company property: Just because you’re leaving doesn’t mean you should be careless with company equipment, stock up on office supplies for your personal use, or take home company information. This is unprofessional, unethical, and could even be illegal.
- Exchange contact information with co-workers: If you wish to maintain contact with co-workers, be sure you exchange information with these people before you leave. Also consider adding them to your LinkedIn network or other online networks.