Not every job will last forever and when the time comes for change, it’s important to know how to handle your current role. Once you’ve made your decision to leave a job, you need to try to keep a positive attitude both at work and with your colleagues. Although leaving a job for something new can be an exciting change, it can also be a stressful period of time. With resignation comes a world of different reasons, different for everyone. It’s important to know how to leave your job on good terms and make the most of the time you have left in that particular role or employer.
Why do you want a change?
Before you simply quit your job, think about why you’re looking for change. What is it you want from a new role, employer, or opportunity? What’s your reason for leaving? Having a good understanding on why you’re leaving can help figure out your next steps. For some, it’s as simple as not enjoying the work anymore. Others, it’s about progression, change and trying something different. So, if you want a change, how are you going to find what you’re looking for after leaving the job?
Leaving a job isn’t easy for everyone. It can be a long process and one that many find awkward to talk about. But understanding why you are leaving, can help motivate you. Helping you feel empowered and driven for change. Make sure you are thinking about it. Some may want to quit their jobs without giving it much thought, especially if they may have had something negative happen in the workplace. But take the time to think about your next steps and what opportunities could be waiting for you.
What are the pros and cons?
Before making any big decision, it’s a good idea to think about the positives and negatives of leaving your current job. It’s sometimes easy to focus on the bad parts but when you can see them written in front of you, it can bring light to a whole new perspective.
Some of you may be 100% certain of leaving your job and that’s a perfectly fine outlook to have, but it’s still a good idea to think about why you were there in the first place. What parts of this role persuaded you to accept the job and do you want to find these things in a new job? Overtime, you may simply outgrow a role and that’s okay too, but using time to think about pros and cons can help you determine what you want from your next role.
Take some time
Once you’ve made a decision, based on the above, take some time to sit with that decision before taking further steps. Again, some people may be 100% sure of a change and what they are looking for but for others, time can bring a new perspective. For example, if you make the decision to stay with your current employer and take some time to sit with this before taking action, it can stir different feelings. Whether that be you thinking about what could have been if you stayed or left, sometimes these feelings push you in the right direction for you.
Everything around us is so fast paced these days. We make fast decisions on pretty much everything we do. But our careers are important to us and if you take that little time for reflection, it may have an impact on the outcome.
Start looking for roles that may interest you
If you think it’s time for change, what could be your next step? An integral part of any job-related decision is, where would you go next? You’ve made your choice; now where will this take you?
Before handing in your notice, take some time to look at job prospects. Most people would find a role before terminating another, but for some, this isn’t always the best option. So, think about what you want. Take a look at job sites, employer websites and talk to your network.
What kind of job do you want next? Are you looking for a similar role with a different employer or are you wanting a step up or down from the title you currently hold? There are truly so many different questions to answer and some may be overlooked when quitting a job.
So, figure out your next steps. If you can’t have it all planned and ready for when you leave your job, make sure you have an idea. If the next chapter isn’t finished being written, at least have an idea of how you want it to end!
Do you want to find a new job first?
Then there is the obvious question, do you want a new job before you quit your current one? If the answer is yes, take the time to start your job search and worry about resignation later. Handing in your notice will come later in the process, when you have accepted a job, or you feel the time is right. This really is only a question you can answer, but for many, financial security is a priority, and they can’t leave one role without having another lined up. If this is the case, you can read The ultimate guide to job seeking to find out more on this subject.
Writing your resignation letter
When writing your resignation letter, you want to stick to the basics. Keep it simple, professional, and easy to understand. The goal is to let the employer know you are leaving and why, whilst being respectful to all parties involved. The process should be easy and positive for you, your line manager and the HR representative involved.
Your letter should include the date you sent the letter as well as the date of your last working day. It’s important to communicate when you are leaving and the timeframe to ensure you are sticking to company policy, your contract and just being fair. This also gives your employer a time frame they have to replace you or for you to train a new employee. Either way, the date needs to be there!
If you feel comfortable, you can include a bit of information about why you are leaving the company, but this isn’t compulsory. Especially if it makes you feel uncomfortable or it’s about a negative experience. You can however, discuss this with your line manager, HR team or with whoever you see fit. But for hopes of not burning your bridges with a company, keep the letter positive.
Importantly, you want it to be informative. Let your resignation letter do its job. It should be to the point and not overly long. For more information and advice, you can read How to write an appropriate resignation letter over on our careers and advice page.
Be prepared to work your notice
You probably know you will have to work your notice unless your employer says otherwise. But my point here is to ensure that you are working it properly. Just because you have handed in your notice, doesn’t mean you immediately don’t work there anymore. You still need to make a good impression. Do your work, meet your deadlines, and make sure you aren’t making your colleagues' workload heavier. The last thing you want to do is sever your ties to this company and your colleagues, completely.
The key is to try and make every step of your resignation positive. You may not be motivated to work there anymore but use the knowledge of your new job to push you to get through this last stretch. Your colleagues have likely been there for you in the past and maybe even again in the future, so make sure you are doing the same. Your network is very important and working to your full capability in your notice period should be a standard.
Help where you can
Maybe don’t take on big projects you can’t finish in your time left at the company but still show that you are doing your job and doing it well. Take the time to do your work properly, pick up workload from your colleagues when they are finding it hard and take the time to write an appropriate handover. Likelihood is the company need someone doing your job. So, whether you have time to train a new hire or you have notes you are ready to pass on, the best thing you can do to remain positive, is to give this help where needed.
Ask for a reference
Likelihood is your new employer will ask for a reference from your last or current role and you want to be able to provide it. If you are remaining positive throughout and keeping up-to-date with your work, then your line manager will have no reason to decline a reference. You also want your good work to reflect this, it’s in your best interest to keep going and help those around you. Sometimes, this can feel difficult, but the reward will be there in the end.
As I mentioned above, your network can be very important. Over the years you will build your network through colleagues, events and other opportunities. It will grow with you, as you become a better version of yourself in your career. Try and stay in contact with your colleagues and if you haven’t asked already, add them to the appropriate social media. You don’t have to connect to every single person in your team on LinkedIn, but if you see value in that connection, take the time to talk to them about it. You never know, there could be an opportunity with that individual in the future.
Quitting your job is never as simple as just handing in your resignation and moving on. There are so many choices to make along the way and sometimes it can become a little overwhelming. It can be a good idea to break it down into simple steps, like the article above. It can help you feel more at ease with your decisions and guide you towards the right one for you.