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How To Resign in 12 Easy Steps

        posted by , December 11, 2012

So you've decided to quit your job.

Maybe you've secured a great new position or decided to go out on your own. Maybe you don't have a plan but just want out.

Whatever your reasons, it's important to resign in a well-planned, professional manner. The way you resign says a great deal about you as a professional. It can influence your career for years to come.

These 12 steps may help.

1. Take time

Career changes are amongst the biggest decisions you may make. Never quit your job in a charged emotional state.

Take time and discuss the change with your family or trusted friends. It's important to know that your quitting for the right reasons (whatever they may be).

2. Prepare to be kicked out

The second that you resign your employer may look at you as a security threat. They may ask you to leave right away.

Clean your computer and desk and be ready to go.

If your employer wants you to work your notice period things will change. You'll instantly be sidelined. People may not share information with you. People may not seek your opinion anymore.

Don't take any of this personally. That's just how it is.

3. Prepare a resignation letter

Your resignation letter is a legal document. Keep it short and professional.

4. Give notice

Schedule a last minute meeting with your boss. You can't schedule it in advance because it'll be obvious.

Give exactly the notice you're legally required to give. Giving a longer notice than required is almost always a mistake.

Be polite, honest and respectful in your meeting. Anticipate the questions that are likely to be asked and think through your answers. Your boss may ask you if you're interested in a counter offer. Your boss may also be very interested where you're going.

5. Be secretive

You might consider being secretive about your next job or future plans.

Some employers get weird if they find your next job is with a competitor.

Things tend to go more smoothly if you maintain a little secrecy. Some employers will essentially insist to know where you're going next. You may tell them something vague such as "it's a management position at an investment bank".

6. Be positive

Make it clear that you're leaving to seek opportunity not because you dislike your organization, coworkers or job.

7. Work hard until the end

Your employer may give you little to do after you resign. If they do assign you offboarding activities or knowledge transfer — do a professional job.

8. Ask for a reference

Some employers will not give reference letters. If it's permitted, ask for one. Ask your bosses if they'll give you a good reference in future.

9. Proactively wind up

Think of everything you can to ensure that your offboarding goes well. If there's knowledge in your head that's useful: document it.

10. Say goodbye

Make sure that all your contacts including coworkers, customers and partners know that you're leaving.

If your coworkers offer you a goodbye party, take them up on it. The goal is to leave with as much goodwill as possible.

11. Exchange contact information

It's a good gesture to leave your former employer with a means of contacting you if they have future questions.

It's also a good idea to record the emails and phone numbers of people you may want to contact.

12. Stay in touch

It's a great idea to keep in touch with your former employer. They may play an important role in your future. You may be rehired or they may become a customer or partner.


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