A carefully planned departure from your current role is crucial for your career. Put yourself in the best position to take your next step. 
Whether it’s because of a salary raise or being offered a higher position, for each and every one of us there will be a time we feel the need to move on and leave our job behind for a new one. While people used to be afraid to make a change in their careers, switching jobs frequently is nowadays much more accepted. However, leaving your past job behind is still a delicate process.
 
You need to tie things up neatly, as your future career will be intertwined with what you’ve done in the past. Whether it’s through an ex-colleague that might be able to get you an interview, or by a reference that will get you the job; you’ll never know when you’ll reconnect with the people you used to work with. It’s all about making sure you’ll be leaving the office with grace, so people will think of you positively in the future.
 
Here’s how:
 
#1 Quitting the right way
 
First things first: now you’ve made your decision to leave the company, it’s time to hand in your resignation. Although there are multiple ways to do this, you always want to keep things professional. Write a resignation letter in which you not only mention you’re leaving the job but also express your gratitude. Offer to help enable a smooth transition.
 
Next, have a meeting with your manager to hand over your letter and tell them you’re resigning. In this meeting, you should be able to discuss your notice period and how you’ll be doing your handover. Make sure to act according to the agreements you make during that meeting. Also, keep the timing of your resignation in mind. Are you in the middle of a huge project you were begging to take on a couple of months before? Consider resigning at the end of the project - if possible.
 
#2 Volunteer to help find and train your replacement
 
In most cases, the company you’re leaving needs to find a replacement for your role. To make the shift from you to the new person, you can offer to help in finding and training your replacement. As you’re the expert, you probably know best what skills and personality are needed to fulfil the role successfully - and such knowledge is very helpful in the hiring process.
 
Once a new person is hired, dedicate your time to preparing this person so he or she is fully ready to move forward independently. This means making someone familiar with existing processes and tools, as well as introducing him or her to relevant people in the office and discussing potential projects to start with. Handover your work, ideally on paper, so they always have something to consult after you walk out of the door.
 
#3 Leave things behind better than you found them
 
You will be remembered by your departure, so go out with a bang. Leaving your job provides one more opportunity to showcase what you’ve achieved over the time you were in the role. Whether it’s a new process you have set up, or a strategy you have implemented; make sure every part of it is understood by the team, and answer any last questions.
 
No one knows the in’s and out’s of your job better than you, so write them down in the form of a job manual; leaving your manager and team with the ultimate “what to do when you’re gone” survival kit.
 
Don’t start any new projects, round up your running ones and hand over the remaining tasks to your replacement or a team member. Stay a little longer if needed and run the extra mile. Even if it’s your last day. This way, you can be sure to leave a good impression.
 
#4 Thank your co-workers and manager 

You might be struggling with wrapping up your work within the limited time you have, but this shouldn’t hold you from spending some time with your soon to be ex-colleagues and manager before you leave. After all, it’s these people that might be able to help you in your future career, hence the importance to connect now. Have lunch or grab a coffee with the people you’ve worked closely with. Show your appreciation for your collaboration and the relationship you’ve built up, and let them know you like to keep in touch. You can even ask for their feedback, which can help you in your new role. Don’t forget to connect on LinkedIn or exchange personal contact details. You want to make sure you’re able to reach out to them in the future when you need to!
 
#5 Email is your friend
 
It’s your last day in the office. You’ve handed over your tasks, you’ve had your goodbye lunch and you did a final thank you round through the office. You even cleaned your desk. What else is left to do? One more very important thing: to let people know you left the company. Especially in larger companies, chances are not everyone knows about your departure, and they might keep contacting you about projects. By sending out an email to all these people - including the people you don’t work frequently with, and your external clients and stakeholders - you can make sure everyone is aware, preventing any confusion. Make sure to include the contact details of your manager and your replacement or a covering team member, so they can pick up when needed. Just like when you go on annual leave. Just as important: take this opportunity to share where you’ll be working from now on and how people can keep in touch with you, for example by inviting them to connect on LinkedIn. Make sure your “Out Of Office” includes the same information, as there will always be people contacting after you left the company.
 
Through a successful and thoughtful departure, you're in the best position to further your career. Go the extra mile it won't go unnoticed!
 
 

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