You know it's time to leave your job. You've tried everything to make your current situation work. You've taken your boss's coaching to heart, you've pursued all the proper channels toward a promotion, and you've completed every task that's been asked of you to the best of your abilities.
But your promotion hasn't materialized, your conditions haven't improved, and it's time to face reality: as long as you stay in this position, you'll stay on the fast track to nowhere. It's time to say goodbye.
Just because you're ready to go, doesn't mean it's time to leave a trail of awkward memories and burned bridges behind you. Generate feelings of positivity and goodwill as you step out the door, and keep these moves in mind:
1. Make your job search your top priority. If you suspect that you're about to be dismissed or laid off, start searching for work, and start immediately. Don't use company resources to conduct your search if you can avoid it, but use every spare minute to polish your resume and focus on your future.
2. Give as much notice as you can manage. Two-weeks notice is a minimum for general courtesy, but the more notice you give, the warmer your employers will feel toward you. At the same time, don't say anything until you're ready; if you announce your intention to leave in a month, a replacement may be found within a week and you may be hustled out the door.
3. Leave your projects in good hands. Make sure your coworkers and managers understand every detail of your process, your filing system, and your relationships with clients and vendors. Don't leave a tangled mess behind if you hope to receive positive recommendations.
4. As you go, say goodbye with courtesy and respect. After you've given notice to your boss, send an email to each of your clients and outside contacts in which you thank them and express positive feelings about your relationship. Provide clear contact information, as in: "Starting February 2, please direct your questions and correspondence to Sally Johnson, who I've copied in this email."
5. Be discreet. Share your future plans and goals only with those who need to know. Don't tell everyone where you'll be working next, since this can generate conflicts of interest and questions about your loyalty.
6. Give every parting conversation your full attention. Your behavior and demeanor during your final week will leave a lasting impression with your employers, and may have even more impact than the initial impression you made on the day of your interview. Smile, dress well, stand up straight, and be courteous and respectful to everyone you encounter.
Know Where You're Going & How to Get There
No matter what your future plans entail—and even if you don't have any future plans just yet—a strong resume can keep your options open. Your resume and cover letter will be your most important assets as you step out into the unknown, so start creating and polishing these two vital documents long before you need them. Visit MyPerfectResume for guidelines, professional templates, and formatting resources that can help you get started.