When you finally land that offer you really wanted, it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of the new job and take your eye off the old one. But the manner of your leaving matters, to you and your employers – here’s how to do it right…
It makes good sense to resign from a job in the right way. Relationships are vital in any successful career, and you never quite know what the future holds, so it’s vital to leave on good terms with your soon-to-be-ex colleagues and managers.
These are people who already know and rate your work, and of course you never know when your paths might cross again, whether as future colleagues, managers, referees or just valuable business connections.
And then of course, resigning professionally is just what professional people do. So here’s your countdown to doing it right…
1. Inform your employer
It’s in both your and your employer’s interests to communicate that you have accepted a new offer as soon as possible. Face-to-face is obviously best: set up a meeting where you can talk in private and think ahead about what you’re going to say, and what questions your manager is likely to ask you.
2. Address any counter-offer
Employers would generally rather try and hold on to good people than start to hire all over again, so you might well expect a counter-offer. This could include more money, better benefits, a new job role, or even a transfer to a different role or division.
A counter-offer is flattering. It’s a sign that you are valued. At the same time, however, always remember that your response needs to be a careful business decision, not just an initial emotional reaction. Our research shows that many people who accept a counter-offer go on to leave quite soon after anyway. So ask yourself:
If you are considering staying, make sure that your employer is prepared to commit to the counter-offer in writing, with all the details of the terms that have been offered you face-to-face.
3. Complete your notice period and handover
So let’s say you reject the counter-offer, typically there may be some negotiation over how much notice you are to work. Your outgoing employer will want you to stay for as long as possible and your new employer will be keen for you to start as soon as possible.
Even if you don’t get your ideal outcome from this conversation, it’s vital to stay focused and see the period out. If you try to leave earlier without agreement, you could of course jeopardise any termination benefits (or future references).
But in any case you should try to be as flexible as possible with your current employer in the interests of goodwill and maintaining the relationship – you never know when you may cross paths with them again later in your career. Your new employer will wait for you as they obviously think highly of you.
So once this issue has been resolved, it’s time to take proactive steps to hand over your role.
4. Keeping in touch
Think about the people you work with now and who especially you want to keep in touch with after you’ve left, both socially and professionally. After resigning but before leaving, you can start putting steps in place to make sure you can maintain contact.
When keeping in touch, always stay professional:
5. Get ready to hit the ground running
Even before you’ve left your old job, there are things you can do to build up a good impression for your new role and give yourself a head start on the exciting new challenges that lie ahead:
Finally – stay calm and confident. Starting a new job can feel daunting, but remember that you were selected by your new employer out of many candidates as the best for the role.
Remind yourself too why you wanted to move on, and why this new opportunity appealed to you. Now all you have to do is get out there and make the most of it!
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