No matter how eager you are to move on it pays to quit your current job with a clear head and thoughtful planning.
1. NEVER burn any bridges. No matter how sure you are that you will never work somewhere again it’s not worth the risk to bad mouth a company, colleagues, or bosses. Someday, you might want to be hired by a former co-worker, be rehired in a different facility in the same system, or even return to your previous position. In other words, you never know where the future is going to take you so don’t ruin your future options. It just isn’t worth it – no matter how strongly you might feel about sharing a piece of your mind.
2. Consider timing. If you plan to take some time off before you start job hunting, you will have a gap on your resume that you are going to have to explain when you apply for your next job. If you have a choice, always wait until January 1st to quit so that you can preserve job continuity on your resume (you will list years of employment only – not month of employment). If you have an employment gap between years they will need to be explained – why create questions if you don’t need to.
3. Secure references of colleagues in managerial positions. Make sure that you have names, addresses, phone numbers, and emails in case you ever need them. Future employers are interested in the opinions of people who you have worked under.
4. Tie up loose ends. Have you completed projects that you are working on? If not, are they organized and ready to be passed on to other employees? It is always better not to leave an employer in a clutch.
5. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile in preparation for your job search. Are your career documents up-to-date and do they reflect current trends?
6. Rehearse the reasons for leaving your current position before you give notice. Make sure that your comments do not burn any bridges.
7. Do you have your next job already lined up? Do you have a written job offer? Remember, it is always easier to get a job when you already have a job.
8. Get information about your benefits and know your options. Do you have unused vacation time that can be converted into pay, are your benefits transfer? Determine if you will need an interim health insurance plan?
9. Prepare your responses to a possible counter offer. Is there a possibility that you can renegotiate items that would make you want to stay.
10. Clean up your computer/phone – make sure that you are not leaving behind any information that you don’t want to be left!