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Are you ready to leave your current position, but unsure how to navigate your departure without affecting the relationship you’ve built with your employer? There are many reasons why you’d want to resign from your position such as finding a growth opportunity at another company, switching careers, changes in your personal life, relocation, or retirement. If you plan on continuing your career you may want to use your current employer as a reference, and leaving on good terms will be an advantage. With a little forethought and a lot of communication, you can leave your current position in a positive way that’s helpful for you and the company. Here’s how:
Talk to Your Manager
Telling a manager that you’re leaving can be difficult, especially if you’ve worked at the company for a while. While the reaction may be one of surprise, just be honest and straightforward. Let them know that while you’re grateful for your time working with them and for everything you’ve learned, it’s time for something new. The news of your departure may take some adjustment, so be patient and continue to communicate as you wrap up final projects.
Discuss how your manager plans to announce your departure with the rest of the company, as well as publicly (if necessary). While you’re at it, discuss when it would be appropriate to tell your internal team. You may be asked to not post on social media about any transitions until plans are finalized, so be mindful of this.
Plan an Easy Transition
After discussing a communication approach with your manager, create a transition plan. Will you train your replacement or cross-train coworkers? If so, how will that work? Will you be available for questions after you leave? List what projects you’ll complete before your last day, so you both know exactly what you’re responsible for delivering. This could even mean informing clients of your departure and introducing them to their new point of contact if necessary. Having a plan in place early will make things easier when discussing your departure with your team and setting them up for smooth business continuity.
Write Your Resignation Letter
Providing a written resignation letter is a common best practice when leaving a job. It’s important to have a copy for yourself and one for the company to keep on file. When writing, keep it short and gracious, and don’t forget to include the date for your last day of work. Express your gratitude for the opportunities the company gave you and, if you feel comfortable, explain why your new opportunity is so exciting and important to you. Here are some starter examples:
- Dear [manager], I’ve accepted another position, with my last day here being [enter date here]. During my tenure at [company], I’ve learned so much. I’m grateful for my time here, and it’s time to move forward at this point. I’m committed to providing a smooth transition for my team before my departure.
- Dear [manager], I’m excited to announce that I’ve accepted a new position [enter new position here if you choose], with my last day being [enter date here]. Thank you again for all the opportunities you and [company] have given me. Please let me know how I can help smooth the transition leading up to my last day.
Before you submit your resignation, you need to decide how long of a notice you’re giving. Two weeks’ notice is a standard length of time, but if you’re in a lead role or even C-Suite, you may consider giving a longer notice like three to four weeks. If you have a new position waiting for you with a firm start date, be sure to make that clear. If you have some wiggle room, you can discuss how much time your current company needs to transition you, which could be beneficial in keeping your relationship intact.
When you give your resignation, your company may provide a counter-offer to keep you on their team. Congratulations on being so valued! If you aren’t interested in staying, politely decline their offer. Here are some examples of how to respond:
- Thank you for the offer. For now, I’m going to decline and see where this opportunity takes me.
- I appreciate your offer, but I respectfully decline as I’ve already committed to my upcoming employer.
- Thank you for the offer to stay. I’ve thought about it, and I’m going to decline in order to honor the commitment I’ve made to the new job.
Tell Your Teammates
Once management has your resignation letter, it’s time to tell your team. Announce your resignation according to the plan you’ve set with your manager. Check in and see if there’s anything they’d like you to document before you go. This could be a screen recording of certain software processes, project management workflows, notes from recent meetings, etc. Ensure the right people on your team have login access to any online tools you are using and ensure any files are made accessible in a shared location. Part of a successful transition is making sure all involved parties are comfortable and functioning by the time you leave.
Leaving on good terms means giving your best work and remaining engaged right up through your last day. This will be beneficial in case there is an opportunity to return to the company at any time in the future. Finish or transition as many of your projects as possible before your last day. If there’s anything leftover, communicate exactly what still needs to be done so the team can be set up for success.
Regardless of why you’re leaving, maintain positive communication on your team and about the company. Set aside time to write personal farewell messages to coworkers or invitations to stay in touch (based on your preference), as well as share your contact information to maintain your professional connections. A brief farewell note with key information on how to reach you and a few upbeat sentiments will make your departure easier.
Your Last Day
On your last day, write out any last-minute instructions your team might need. Turn in all company property and collect personal belongings from your workspace. Ensure you’ve communicated with HR and payroll and submitted any exit paperwork or final timesheets. Finally, send your farewell message and look forward to your next adventure!
Congratulations on your new position, you’re going to be great! Before you begin, here are some tips to help you have a great first day.