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Q: I’m excited! I was finally able to land the job I wanted. Can you give me any pointers on how I should resign my current position?
A: Congratulations! You didn’t say what day your new job starts, but you’ll want to extend the professional courtesy of giving your current employer a minimum of two weeks advance notice. There may be other issues to consider. For example, if you’re working in a sales position, most often your current employer will ask you to leave immediately. The same may be the case if you’re working with highly confidential proprietary information. In these situations, the corporate policy regarding termination will reflect the intent to protect their assets by minimizing the amount of information you can provide to a competitor.
Do you think you may be persuaded to stay if your current employer makes a counter offer? Hopefully, your primary reason for accepting a job offer won’t have been to elicit a better offer from your employer. However, perhaps your company can convince you to stay. If so, they’ll try to do so during that two-week window while they still have your attention. It’s a possibility one should generally consider much earlier in a job search. What could your manager offer that would make you change your mind?
The primary thing to remember is that you don’t want to burn any bridges, no matter what has happened during your employment. In this column, I’ve often emphasized that when you’re interviewing you shouldn’t give a negative reason for leaving a company; you should instead focus on the positive reasons for taking the subsequent position. Similarly, your resignation isn’t a time to rail about all of your employer’s ills.
You need not give your employer any details about where you’ll be going. In fact, I encourage you not to include this in your resignation. Wait until later to share this information with your colleagues, if you wish.
You should give your resignation to your immediate manager, in person. Not on the phone, not in an email, and definitely not in a text or tweet! Make an appointment to speak with her privately. Tell her verbally, and provide a written copy in traditional letter format. Don’t tell any of your coworkers before you speak to your manager. In addition to being proper professional etiquette, this is especially important should you accept a counter offer to stay. Otherwise, it could be awkward.
So, what should you say? Make it simple, and compliment your employer. Tell her that you’re leaving the company on such-and-such date; that you’ve accepted a position at another company. Express that you appreciate all that you’ve learned or how much your career has developed while working at this organization, and how much you enjoyed being able to contribute to the organization’s success. Even if you have a poor opinion about your boss, tell her that you appreciate her contribution to your experience there. If appropriate, reassure her that you’ll work to make the transition of your responsibilities to someone else as seamless as possible.
“I need to let you know that I have been offered a new position at another company and am resigning effective March 25. I have really enjoyed working here, and appreciate your guidance, as well as the opportunity for me to contribute to the success of our program. I realize that transferring my responsibilities to someone else will be difficult, and I will do everything I can to make it easier.”
Be prepared to discuss this with your manager. She’ll most assuredly ask you why you’re leaving. Remember to focus on the positive.
Mauri Schwartz is President / CEO of Career Insiders. Submit your questions to Mauri@CareerInsiders.com.
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