Few of us were taught as kids how to choose a career, find a job or navigate in the workplace. In the old Corporate Ladder era you might only have to job-hunt once or twice during a forty-year career. Now we all need to know how to job-hunt, and how to manage in the new-millennium working world where a job can disappear at any moment!

We all need to know how to manage a job search while we’re still working at the old job, and we have to know how to quit a job. Here are essential things to know about resigning from your position.

1.    If you can’t stand your job for another minute, you might quit the job in order to job-hunt full-time. If you do, you’ll need an answer to the question “Why did you quit your job?” You can say, “I quit in order to focus on my job search. I had learned everything that job had to teach me, and was ready for a new challenge.”

2.    If you can’t stand your job but you don’t have a new job to go to, it may help to remember that you have the power to walk out the door at any moment. Remembering that you have a choice that will help you get through tough days at work. If you can stick it out until you get a new job, that will make things easier for you financially but if you are in a dangerous or abusive situation, then bolt.

3.    When you accept a new job offer, let your HR manager know that your start date may be flexible. Find out whether you can start your new job early if you need to — if your current employer tells you not to stick around for two weeks but to leave right now instead.

4.    Do not assume that if you give one month notice to your boss, you will be allowed to work for one month. Be ready to leave when you give notice. Have your personal things removed from your work space and any personal files removed from the computer your employer assigned to you.

5.    The best way to give notice is in person. Wait until your boss is in his/her office, or if they don’t have an acoustically-private office, ask them to chat with you for a moment in the conference room or any private area. Say, “Boss, I wanted to let you know that I’m going to be leaving the company. I want to give you one month notice. I’ll be working to transition my projects to whomever you tell me to.” Be as accommodating as you can. Don’t explain why you’re leaving; just say “I’m very grateful to you for this opportunity and for your guidance.” Tell your boss you will confirm your resignation in writing.

6.    Once you and your boss agree on your last day of work and who you will train on your responsibilities (if anyone), confirm your resignation through
a letter.

7.    Your resignation letter can be short and sweet: “Dear Fernando, I want to confirm that as I mentioned this morning, my last day at [name of company] will be Friday, June 17. I want to thank you for your support during my time here and wish you and the team great success.”

8.    Find out when your health insurance coverage expires. Find out how much unused vacation time you will get paid for, and tie up any other administrative loose ends before your last day of work.

Before you leave, get the email addresses of anyone at your job you’d like to connect with on LinkedIn, and ask any potential reference-givers if they’d be comfortable providing a professional reference for you down the road.

Make sure to leave your work station and your role in good shape, documenting everything you can to help your replacement succeed in the job. Life is long, and as you travel along your path you want the people you leave behind to think good thoughts about you!

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