How to leave a job without burning bridges

Everyone will need to resign from a job at some point in their lives. Whether you’ve just landed the job of your dreams, or you’re off travelling, or even if you just can’t take the place any more it is always best to resign in a positive way and leave with dignity. RecruitAbility consultant Adrienne has a few tips on how to leave a job well.

Get yourself organised

Check your contract and your employee handbook if you have one. Make sure you follow the correct resignation procedure. Write a polite and positive resignation letter and be prepared to work out your notice period.

Tell your boss first

You must tell your line manager or supervisor first – and do it face-to-face. The meeting may feel awkward but facing the challenge is the right thing to do and will help you leave in a positive way. Once you have told your boss let your colleagues and clients know, if appropriate.

Stay positive

Even if you would love to give your boss a piece of your mind, resist the temptation! Remember you will probably need a reference so insulting your job, your boss or your colleagues will jeopardise that. If you have an exit interview use it to express gratitude for the opportunities you have been offered and provide positive feedback to help your successor.

Be humble

If your new role is a big step up – in salary or seniority – or if you’ve taken a job at a really exciting company, try not to show off about it.

Tie up loose ends

When working out your notice make sure to finish anything you have been working on. Making handover notes for your successor, or even offering some training to them would leave your former employers with a good impression of your professionalism.

Don’t disappear!

Unless you are in danger at your workplace please don’t just disappear. Leaving the office one day never to return makes life difficult for everyone. You will let down your employer and leave them with work to cover. You will burn your bridges with this employer, who may be well-connected in your industry or town and may be in a position to harm your future career. If you have been employed through an agency the agency will not want to work with you again. No matter how hard things are it is always best to speak to someone before you leave.

What if you’ve just started?

It’s the end of your first day or first week and you know you have made a terrible mistake. What should you do? As above, please don’t just walk out. Call your agent, if you have one, and talk through options. If you are determined to go they may be able to smooth the path with your new boss and perhaps even send over some other CVs. Remember that leaving very quickly may have consequences. It does look bad on your CV, even if there were legitimate reasons. Talking to someone may help you find a positive way through.

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Posted on Monday Feb 24