If you are currently employed, that’s a good thing. Not everyone in this country is so fortunate. Although the economy and the job market are slowly but surely chugging along and getting better, there are still plenty of people out there without jobs.
But even if you do have work, that does not necessarily mean you are satisfied. You may want to work your way up the ladder or you might just not like the position or the place you are working in at the moment. So maybe you are searching for something new and already have plans to make your way out. But before you up and leave, make sure you take the necessary steps to leave on a good note.
Making a gracious exit is extremely important, and not everyone realizes this. Employment relationships last for years. You always need references for new positions, and you never know what’s going to happen in the future. Some position down the road in your career advancement might be with your current employer. Or maybe the job you are leaving for doesn’t work out and you come crawling back. This is not always the most appealing option, but sometimes you have to do you have to do.
We all have days at work where we imagine just getting up and walking out. Maybe the scenario in your head is something out of the movie Half Baked where you tell off half the staff and burn your bridges in the process. Before you go and do this, analyze and assess the situation. In these tough economic times, you can’t make any rash decisions when it comes to flirting with unemployment.
One of the most important things you can do in leaving a job is to write a strong resignation letter. It should be professional and to the point. You shouldn’t drudge up past instances that led you to your decision to leave. If you are leaving for a better opportunity, it’s okay to say so, but don’t mention anything negative about where you currently work.
The resignation letter should basically state your planned date of departure (ideally two weeks from the date you informed them of your quitting), the reasons why you are leaving, and then a nice little brief statement about your experience working there. This paves the way for asking for recommendations and references which you will undoubtedly need in the future.
Even if you are leaving on negative terms, have no plans to return and can’t imagine ever using them as a reference, you should still tough it out and come up with a nice resignation letter. With technology these days, your employment history is out there and easily accessible by potential employers. If there is something on your track record of an abrupt resignation or negative work experience, it will raise some questions.
Another way to leave a job professionally and respectfully is to request an exit interview. By discussing your reasons for leaving with the employer, you can leave the door open for future employment or references. You never know what’s going to happen. You may just need a contact or a job somewhere down the line.
The exit interview is also helpful in determining how you can progress in your career. Ask for constructive criticism; what can you do to improve and what are your weaknesses? Also, take the opportunity to request any documentation that shows your strengths as an employee during your experience with the company, such as performance reviews, letters of praise and samples of your best work. Take this stuff with you because you might need it.