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How to Quit Your Job the Right Way

As a recruiter, one of the most common questions I’m asked by candidates is how to quit. Depending on the circumstances, quitting a job can be a joyous or anxiety-inducing task. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, it’s important to resign in a professional manner.

Ready to quit? Follow these guidelines to end your employment smoothly:

  • Quit for the right reasons. People seek out new employment for a lot of reasons – better compensation, cultural fit and working environment, work/life balance, commute, professional development opportunities, etc. Keep these motivations in mind when assessing new job offers and any counteroffers.
  • Review your contract with your current employer for resignation terms and non-compete clauses. Be sure to give the appropriate notice as per your contract; this is usually anywhere from two to four weeks but can be much longer depending on your seniority. If you have a non-compete clause, you may want to obtain a legal opinion before quitting. Be sure to inform your recruiter so they can discuss arrangements with your new employer.
  • Resign in person whenever possible, and always inform your direct manager first. You should let them know when your last day of work will be, and the status of all projects you’re engaged on. You can also use this time to recommend any internal colleagues you believe would be a good back-fill for your role.
  • Participate in exit interviews and give constructive feedback. Your manager and/or HR representative will likely ask about your motivations for leaving and your experiences at the organization. Be as honest as possible, but be careful not to burn bridges.
  • Expect a counteroffer. In today’s uber-competitive hiring market, managers will do whatever it takes to hold on to great employees, and it’s not uncommon for compensation plans to suddenly increase. If you receive a counteroffer, think back to why you started your job search in the first place. Will more money alleviate the original pain point? I was once working with a candidate who got an offer that was in-line with their job search criteria. When their current employer offered a 15% raise, they decided to stay in their old role. I wasn’t too surprised when they reached out to me six months later to re-start their job search as they were still unsatisfied with their role.
  • Be certain you want to quit. Don’t accept an offer until you’re sure – rescinding an offer can damage your credibility and taint your reputation with hiring managers, companies, and recruiters.

As you go through your job search, remember to keep your motivations for leaving your current employer at top of mind. Constantly remind yourself of what you’re looking for and why you’re looking, and try not to be sidetracked during the process. When you’re ready to accept a new role, always resign in a professional and respectful manner. Quitting with dignity will enable you to maintain a positive rapport with your previous employer and protect your personal brand.

Need help navigating the quitting process? Email me at zfoster@lannick.com and I’d be happy to help you out!

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