Leaving a job is seldom easy because your livelihood is tied directly to your employment. That doesn’t mean you should stay in a job you hate or that’s not letting you meet your career goals. If you’ve decided to quit your job, here are some things you should do to make the transition smoother and leave your reputation in tact.
Be sure quitting is your job is the right choice. Sometimes leaving a job is a no-brainer and sometimes it will feel like the toughest decision you’ve ever made. Before you put a plan to resign in motion, i.e. tell your employer you’re leaving, think through your decision to leave and be sure it’s the best thing for you right now.
Update your resume to include the most recent information about your role and duties. If you’re planning to hunt for a new job, an updated resume is essential.
Line up a new job. Ideally, you’ll have another job – or some source of income – before you resign from your first one to eliminate a gap in income or lapse in health coverage. Avoid job searching on company time or using company resources (like your work laptop) if you don’t want to tip off your employer to your job search. Also, be careful what you put on social media about your job search just in case your employer is monitoring your social media pages.
Stash some money away. As you contemplate leaving your job, it’s smart to cut back your spending and start putting extra money into savings. This is especially true if you don’t have another job lined up or if there will be a gap in your employment.
Apply for any loans before you leave your job. Once you quit your job, you may find it harder to get approved for a loan, even if you’ve started a new job already. Because lenders look at the length of time you’ve had in a particular job to predict your financial stability, a recent job change could make it harder to get approved. So, apply before you quit your job to improve your chances of being approved.
Remove your personal items, transfer personal files and contacts from your computer and smartphone. Don’t take confidential or proprietary company information with you or else you could be sued. Try not to make it obvious that you’re clearing out your personal items, e.g. carrying a big box of your things out the door, unless you’ve already announced your resignation.
Give proper notice. The required time period may vary depending on your employer, but two weeks’ notice is generally standard. Regardless of why you’re quitting, be pleasant in your resignation letter and thank your employer for your time at the company. Leave on a positive notice because you never know if you’ll cross paths with your employer or if you’ll end up coming back to the company in the future.
Talk to HR about your benefits. You may be entitled to some company benefits – like unused sick or vacation days – when you leave. At the very least, get an understanding of what happens to your retirement plans. And, if you’re not starting a new job right away and don’t have other health coverage, ask about continuing your health insurance through COBRA.
The more preparation you put into your resignation, the easier it will be to quit your job. Start preparing once you’ve made the decision to quit.