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Make the most of your notice period

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 10 May 2021

Notice Period Hero Image

People leave jobs every day, you may not enjoy your role, or you may have simply outgrown it, but you’re not the first person to be nervous about the time between handing in your resignation and your leaving date. You may be thinking that you are no longer obligated to do certain things at work because you’re leaving, but it is a good idea to keep up an etiquette and ensure that you make the most of the time you have left in your current job. You want to be able to make the most of it and ensure that you aren’t cutting ties for future opportunities. You never know, you could find yourself looking back into this company in a few years’ time, don’t ruin it for yourself.

Know your contract

Before you hand in your resignation, it’s best to just double check the notice period stated in your work contract. It’s usually around 4 weeks, but depending on your role, could be longer or shorter. This is often to ensure that the employer can find another candidate to replace you when you leave. Getting this right sooner rather than later ensures that you won’t have to have an awkward conversation with your new employer about starting at later date than agreed.

You can, however, talk to your hiring manager about changing the length of your notice period if it’s urgent. Don’t just expect that they’ll agree though, it’s always best to stick to the stated notice period when applying for new jobs.

Be honest in your exit interview

Most employers will want to know a little bit more about why you are leaving your job. This isn’t about them trying to persuade you to stay or looking down on you, but just to see what they can do to help. If you don’t think the job is for you or you simply found a better offer, be up-front and honest. They understand that you are simply looking for career progression, after all, they’ve probably been there themselves. More often than not, it’s just a formality.  

Don’t cut ties with your current network

The world is a very small place. You never know who you may run into again in the future or who you might end up doing business with, it’s worth keeping your co-workers in your network and making sure you behave appropriately during your notice period. It’s as simple as connecting on LinkedIn or keeping a note of their email address.

You never know, they may also be looking for another job and you might be able to help them out once you’re settled in your new role. Alternatively, if you know someone who has a good (and relevant) network that you’d like to tap into, keep in touch with them too. It doesn’t take much work either; simply have a quick chat about how you’d ‘like to stay in and get connected. It could be worth your while following up with your old contacts in the next couple of months too.

Keep your focus

It can be easy to feel a bit unfocused when you know in a month or so, you’ll be starting a new work adventure. However, try not to feel disengaged and do your best to be concentrated and work hard all the way through your notice. IT’s important to stay on top of your workload, stay professional and ensure that everything is in good shape for when you do leave. Be professional throughout and ensure that things are ready for your departure, don’t leave things unfinished.

You also don’t want to be stuck doing nothing throughout your notice period, it can get very boring very quickly. All you’ll do by doing this is bringing attention to yourself – and not in a good way. You don’t want to start picking up new habits and bring them with you into a new role, stay engaged and work hard – like you always do!

Don’t leave loose ends

Make sure you have all of your paperwork in the right places and with the right people before you leave. This could mean having handover notes at the ready for your replacement and ensuring that you have returned any property to the company, whether than be equipment or login details.

Just ensure that everything is under control and if not, let your line manager know that there will be some things they may have to catch up with when you are gone. You can’t control everything, so just make sure someone knows about it.

Don’t let your attendance slide

Once you hand in your notice and have an agreed date to leave your role, it can sometimes feel a little bit pointless going in and doing a role that isn’t technically 100% yours anymore. You may think about slacking a bit or even taking a day off here and there but try and keep professional throughout our notice period. There is still work to be done and it is worth doing.

Don’t let opportunities go because you’re leaving

Organisations often have training days and learning opportunities scattered throughout the year and if one appears during your notice period, you shouldn’t let it pass by. You are still an employee of the company and if it is relevant to you, you should grab it while you still can! Opportunities like this should always be taken if they suit you and your work timetable, it’s another thing that can potentially help you in your new role or you can add to your CV for a future date.

Notice periods can vary with different careers and jobs, but it’s always better to make the most of it while you can, rather than hide away for the next month or so. You want to leave a lasting positive impression, so if you do end up back in the organisation in the future, you haven’t cut any ties. Talk to your colleagues and ensure that everything is done to your best standard as you usually would. your notice period is actually a crucial time in your employment. Just because you’ve handed your notice in doesn’t mean you can start slacking at your job. Keep going and good luck in your new role!