Once you have given notice that you’re leaving your job and have tendered your official resignation, there are still some things you need to consider doing to ensure a graceful transition before you head out the office door or sign-off from your computer for the last time. If you've lost your job, it's just as important to leave on a professional note.
Depending upon the reason for your departure, you may not be very concerned with the tasks you need to do before leaving your position and soon-to-be-former employer. How you leave does make a difference, though.
The Benefits of a Smooth Departure
Finalizing your relationships with supervisors and co-workers can solidify positive perceptions about your professionalism, and help you get good references for the future. Avoiding pitfalls can ensure that you don't damage relationships or make any errors with your post-employment compensation or benefits.
Carefully planning your departure from a job can help smooth your transition to the next phase of your career, prevent you from burning any bridges, and potentially keep a welcome mat out in case you ever want to come back.
If you plan ahead, you’ll be able to leave on good terms and in the company’s good graces. That’s always the best way to move on from a job, especially since you may even end up working with some of your former coworkers or previous boss at other jobs in the future.
15 Things to Do Before Leaving Your Job
Not all of these apply to everyone, but you will need to consider at least some of these things before you’re done with the job. Review the list and make sure you’ve got it covered ahead of time.
- Help Make the Transition Go Well: Meet with your supervisor and offer to do anything possible to help fill the void created by your departure. Offer to help train the person who will carry out your duties. Ask for input from your supervisor regarding the priorities for your final days. Your professionalism during your remaining time will be remembered when reference checks are made in the future.
- Make a List of What You Do on the Job: Create a running list of your assignments each month so you can document them as concretely as possible. Share the list with your manager and offer to review it with whoever needs to be informed.
- Update Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile: Keep your resume and LinkedIn profile up-to-date so you can move into job search mode quickly should the need or opportunity present itself. It's easier to update these documents when you're making a job change and the details are fresh in your mind.
- Write Some Recommendations: Compose LinkedIn recommendations for supervisors, colleagues, and key constituents. People love receiving recommendations, and it will help you get some of your own.
- Get Some Recommendations: Ask supervisors, customers, subordinates, suppliers, and colleagues to write LinkedIn recommendations while impressions are current and your leverage is still in place. Review these tips for asking for an employment reference.
- Save Work Samples: Transfer some non-proprietary examples of your work and documents that will be helpful in future jobs to your home computer or personal email. Be sure you have all your personal information on your personal computer. Also make sure you have contact information for the colleagues you want to stay in touch with. Some organizations will escort you to your office to box up personal items and will cut off your computer access when you tell them you're leaving, so be sure to gather this information before you submit your resignation.
- Remember to Be Humble: Resist the temptation to celebrate your good fortune of landing a new job too enthusiastically with co-workers. You will only alienate your soon-to-be former boss and colleagues.
- Say Thank You: Take the time to thank everyone who has helped you to be productive in your role. Your generosity and modesty will be remembered. Single people out and express your gratitude for their support at any going-away parties. Take the time to send a goodbye email to the people you've worked with, including co-workers, clients, and vendors.
- Keep It Nice and Polite: Do not badmouth management or staff. People have long memories about criticism, and you never know when inquiries about your performance will be made by future employers. Even if you hated your job or your boss, there's no point in saying so.
- Get Information on Your Ex-Employee Benefits: Schedule an appointment with a benefits specialist within the Human Resources department or your manager. Secure information about compensation for vacation, a continuation of health coverage, implications for retirement plans, severance pay, if applicable, and other benefits that will continue after you terminate employment.
- Don’t Quit Without a Plan: If you are thinking of quitting without a new job, assess your alternatives and explore some options first.
- Figure Out Your Finances: Meet with a financial advisor or pension representative to gain a clear understanding of options for transporting 401k and pension funds.
- Make a Budget: If you don't have a new job lined up, or if you will be earning less than you're making now, take the time to create a monthly budget. Estimate how long your savings will last if you will be out of work for a while.
- Check on Unemployment Benefits: If you've been laid-off, determine if you will be eligible for unemployment compensation and calculate how much you will receive.
- Calculate Your Retirement Income: If you are planning to retire, calculate your expenses and your income with the help of a financial advisor. If you have a 401(k) or other retirement benefits with your existing employer, find out how to roll them over into a new plan if necessary.
Once you land your new job, you might want to brush up on a few ways to hit the ground running with these top 20 tips for starting a new job.