Had a bad day at work? Or maybe it’s more than that? Is your boss demanding and hard to please? Are your coworkers toxic? And are expectations unrealistic? Being in a job that brings you stress can be damaging to your mental, emotional, and physical health. But before cutting ties and making a dramatic exit, make sure a couple things are in order first. If you are strategic about your exit plan, you can keep the negative fall out to your career minimal.
Here are a couple actions to take before you put in your notice:
- Get your cover letter in order
It’s the rare circumstance when it is better to quit your job without another job lined up. For most of us, this means taking a look around and seeing what else is out there. Putting together a killer cover letter is at the top of your list of priorities. If writing is not one of your strengths, modify online cover letter examples and adapt one as needed.
Beyond work experience, top-tier employers want to see a cover letter that gives them insight into your character. They want to know that you are worth the salary you are asking for to perform the role. Onboarding a new recruit is an investment of time and money for the person hiring you. Your cover letter gets you through the door and gives you an opportunity for a face-to-face interview.
- Update your resume
Your last resume got you your present job. What will you need to showcase to get your next big break? What is lacking from your current resume that would make you a company’s top choice? Pinpoint what is lacking and consider how to include it in a new resume. This might mean you need to devote some evenings to taking online certification courses or other training. It absolutely means that you learn how to phrase your resume to showcase what you have accomplished in your career. For example, not only the positions you have held, but the ways in which your work has paid off for the company. There are other dos and don’ts involved in figuring out how to present your work experience in the best way so study up to write the best resume possible.
The most important thing you should know? Don’t quit your current job until you have a solid, updated resume ready for use.
- Spend more time on LinkedIn
Do you have a LinkedIn profile? If not, here is another action to take before you hightail it from your current job. LinkedIn is where recruiters conduct searches for candidates to fill open roles. If you are just starting out, it might take time for you to grow your network. Keep in mind, the more people you connect with on this platform, the better your chances of finding your next job opportunity.
In a fascinating study based on LinkedIn data, researchers found that “weak connections” are key to finding new jobs. This is a term for people who you do not know directly, but who someone you know is in touch with. Job referrals often come from connections that are twice removed, or sometimes even three times removed.
- Practice strategic thinking
Can you pinpoint why your current job is making you unhappy? If not, it might be worthwhile to figure this out. Not digging down and finding out the why could lead you to making the same mistakes when choosing your next job. Of course, don’t only focus on the negatives of what you don’t want. Write out what you do want, as well. Get very clear on what your dream job looks like and you will be able to recognize it more easily when the opportunity comes knocking.
Ideal jobs come in many different forms, and the size of your paycheck is not the only thing that matters. You might desire more flexibility in where you work. Or the ability to take unlimited vacation days. Perhaps you desire a more clear ladder for advancement within a company. Depending on your personal life goals, your criteria for choosing a job will be different from the next person’s. This is fine. What matters, however, is identifying that criteria. You do this by figuring out and writing down what matters to you, what you can compromise on, and what you won’t.
Make sure you do these four things before quitting your job. These actions will help smooth the transition and make sure your next move is up not down.