There is plenty of information, advice and tips on how to land your ideal job and carve out your dream career path. But what doesn’t always get as much attention is how to leave your current job. It’s easy to focus on what’s new and exciting. And it’s also important to remember there is a right and wrong way to leave a job. The last thing you want to do is burn bridges, especially if you plan on remaining in the same industry.

So, with that said, let’s take a look at some simple tips you can use that will ensure you leave your current job the right way.

One – Understand It Can Be Emotional

It’s good to recognize that not everyone leaving their job is excited or happy about it. You may find the experience quite emotional, especially if you like your co-workers, boss and the company in general. You may be leaving because you have a chance to make more money or advance in your career, but that doesn’t mean saying goodbye will be easy. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself to feel those emotions.

Just because you feel sad, doesn’t mean you should stay; it just means you were fortunate enough to have a job you loved. There’s no reason why you can’t remain in touch with co-workers and continue to have a relationship with them outside of work.

Two – How Much Notice Should You Give?

This is probably one of the most commonly asked questions, and one that is very important. Giving notice is a sign of respect as it allows your employer to plan for a replacement. You may also be involved in helping to find that replacement and training them.

Besides the fact that it is respectful, some unions dictate how much notice you should give. If you have an employment contract you signed when you were hired, it may also stipulate how much notice is required. You’ll want to refer back to that document. Keep in mind that, even if you give two weeks’ notice, your employer can choose to terminate you then.

On the flip side, there are certain situations where two weeks’ notice may not be possible. Some of the reasons people don’t give notice include:

  • A hostile work environment
  • Physical and/or sexual abuse
  • Their mental health is being affected by the job
  • They have been asked to do something illegal or unethical
  • A family or personal crisis
  • Wages are being withheld

If any of these apply to you, it can be helpful to speak to a lawyer, your union representative (if applicable). or the labor board to figure out what your rights are.

Three – Write a Formal Letter of Resignation

As for the best way to inform your employer that you will be leaving, a formal letter of resignation should be written. You can find all kinds of sample resignation letters online so there’s no need to stress about how to write one.

Resignation letters should be delivered in person, not just emailed or left on an empty desk. And though it’s a courtesy to give the letter to your direct manager, you probably need to give a copy to human resources as well. When you hand it in, be prepared to answer questions, especially if the resignation letter comes as a surprise.

Three – Be Prepared for an Exit Interview

For those who have given notice, your employer may wish to conduct an exit interview. Exit interview questions give your employer a chance to understand your experience in that particular job and with the company. This can help them to shape the position for the next person. Most experts suggest using it as a time to tell your employer about all the good aspects of the job. There’s no need to be negative, especially if you’re staying within the same industry.

However, as Placement explains, exit interview questions can be tricky for the person leaving as you still want to leave on a good foot. The Placement website is filled with all kinds of handy information and guides that you can use, and their blog on exit interviews can be especially helpful as it discusses the common questions asked. As they explain, you don’t want to be too negative and leave the wrong impression. Their suggestion is to highlight the positive aspects of the job and stick with those details.

Four – You Can Send Out a Farewell to Employees

Finally, you can send out an official farewell to employees on your last day. This can be done by email and just gives you a chance to leave professionally and positively. You can thank them for the help and guidance they have shown you, wishing everyone the best of luck and success for their future.

The most important thing to remember when leaving a job is that you never want to burn bridges. Your professional life can be quite damaged if you leave a job in the wrong way, so it’s always best to take the high road and keep things positive.

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