Judging the right time to make a career change involves a variety of considerations. To begin with, look at your drivers and what’s motivating you to find a new opportunity. Why do you think you want to leave? Is it money, opportunity, the scope of your job, a missed promotion, location, or something more personal? Discuss your situation and feelings with friends and family, or anyone in a professional role that you can trust. Most of all, listen to your own feelings.
Now that you have accepted the offer, what do you do? How do you go about resigning? Should you tell your employer where you are going?
The Resignation Process
When you’ve made your mind up, take a look through your contract and company handbook to see what specific procedures your employer has in place. Make sure you’re aware of the length of the notice period you are required to work. If you don’t have a formal period of notice in your contract, you should allow at least two weeks for the handover period as a sign of good will.
So, once, you are ready to announce your resignation, how can you make as smooth a transition from your current employer to your new one? You’ll again want to act professionally and follow company guidelines. Specifically, you need to consider:
- Timing. Give enough notice. The standard notice has traditionally been two to four weeks, but you should consult your employee handbook in case your employer expects more (or less) advance warning.
- Negotiating the Details. Be sure to get a fair settlement for any outstanding salary, vacation (and sick and personal) days, and commission payments or other compensation due to you.
- Hiring Replacement. Offer to help your current employer find your replacement.
- Training. Volunteer to train or work with your replacement to show him or her “the ropes.”
- Wrapping up at Work. Don’t disappear during the last weeks on the job. Stay an active member of the team. Avoid taking a short-timer’s attitude or aligning yourself with any discontented co-workers.
- Complete Your Assignments. Be sure to do your best to complete all open assignments and leave detailed progress reports for your supervisor and co-workers.
- Departure. Before walking out the door for the last time, be sure you have contact information for key supervisors and co-workers that you want to keep part of your network of contacts and be sure to thank them again for their support.
Preparing your Resignation letter
Your resignation will most likely include two parts, an oral and written resignation to be presented in conjunction with one another. Have your written resignation letter prepared when you give your oral resignation.
1) Oral Resignation – Resigning orally may place you in the compromising position of having to explain your decision on the spot. Words are very powerful. Choose your words with care. Your boss may want to probe for factors which led to your decision. You may be asked who or what is the reason for your leaving, or may be invited to offer suggestions to help make the organization more effective. Refer and go back to your resignation letter.
2) Written Resignation – A written resignation gives you the time to effectively prepare what you wish to communicate, and gives you greater control over your delivery of the message. A written resignation also reinforces the fact that you are really leaving and are not simply threatening in order to re-negotiate your position. Keep your resignation letter short, simple and positive.
What exactly should you say in your letter of resignation? Here’s a basic outline:
1) First Paragraph: State your intention of quitting your job and leaving the company. Give a specific last day of work.
2) Second paragraph: If you feel comfortable, give a reason why you are leaving — relocating, better job, career change, graduate school, etc. Or, reinforce your value by mentioning your key accomplishments with the employer.
3) Third Paragraph: Thank both your supervisor and the company for the opportunities you had working for them. Be sure to end the letter on a positive note.