Changing Jobs Job Search Tips

6 Things to Do When Changing Jobs

Written by Joanna Hughes

The days of the “company man,” are in the past. In fact, Americans tend to stay at their jobs for an average of just 4.6 years, according to the most recent report from the Bureau of labor Statistics. That means that these same Americans will hold a total of nearly 10 jobs during the course of their working lives. With the likelihood of so many job changes in your future, understanding best practices for moving on is essential. Read on for six tips to ensure that you leave your job on a positive note.

1. Give Ample Notice

While the phrase “two weeks’ notice” is often heard, there’s no hard and fast standard for how much lead time you need to give your employer. To make sure the timing of your resignation is acceptable, review your employee handbook or check in with a human resources representative.

Also, keep in mind that your job history will stay with you as you move through life. Even if you despised your boss, it’s important to keep your relationship on good terms by turning in a professional letter of resignation.

2. Do Your Job

Even if you’ve handed in your resignation, your job is still your job. Resist the urge to be a “lame duck” and instead use this time to show you’re committed to the team even if you’re moving on. Make your best effort to complete all open assignments, and if you are unable to finish them up on time, leave a detailed report for your fellow workers or replacement.

Speaking of your replacement, offer to help your boss with the search to fill your position. If your replacement has been hired, offer to help with his/her training.

3. Cover Your Bases

Review your vacation days, sick days, commission payments, outstanding salary, and any other compensation which may be owed to you. Schedule an appointment with your supervisor and/or a human resources manager to negotiate a fair settlement and confirm that you’re on the same page regarding what your final paycheck will look like.

4. Don’t Let the Door Hit You …

The old expression goes, “Be nice to people on your way up. You’ll meet them on the way down.” Just because you’re leaving a job doesn’t mean you’re cutting ties with the company and its employees. Before leaving, make sure you have contact information for your teammates.

Also, take a moment to express your gratitude for the time you spent working alongside coworkers.

5. Be Prepared

You may be happy that you’re leaving, but that doesn’t mean everyone else is. Your boss may make a counteroffer to ask you to stay, or your co-workers may make you try to feel guilt about abandoning the team. Keep your interactions professional and pleasant at all times.

At some workplaces it’s standard operating procedure to have an employee escorted out of the building on the spot after tendering his/her resignation. Be prepared for this scenario by packing up all of your personal belongings, removing personal files and software from your computer, and cleaning out your desk.

6. Ace Your Exit Interview

Exit interviews are standard operating protocol at many places of employment. Give some thought to what you’ll share about your reasons for leaving. This is a chance to leave your workplace one last parting gift: the opportunity to make it a better place for the next employee who fills your shoes.

While an exciting new job remains ahead, you’re still employed by your current company until the last time you walk out that door. Following these six steps can help ensure a smooth transition to the next phase of your career.

About the author

Joanna Hughes

Joanna Hughes is a freelance writer who specializes in business, human resources and the job market. She lives with her family in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire.