How to Resign With Class Part-2
Resignation "Do's" and "Don'ts"
Shortly after you hand in your letter of resignation, a security guard, an HR rep or your boss might politely―or not so politely―escort you out the door. That's typical at large companies. On the other hand, your company might ask you to stay through your notice period. Either way, you might be watched closely in your final hours. Since last impressions can be more powerful than first, it's a good idea to do all you can to be remembered as a professional and keep your references intact. During reference and background checks, potential employers might contact your former employers as far back as ten years or more.
Below are "do's and don'ts" to avoid burning your bridges, before and after you hand in your letter of resignation. For related and supplemental topics, including resignation letter samples you may download or copy for free, just click the links within the text below. See the sidebar for more.
Do Prepare to Resign
So there's no question about what belongs to you or the company, compile your portfolio, take personal property home, and remove personal files and software from your computer before you resign. Since you might get locked out of the building and computer network soon after quitting, you might not a get a chance to do all of this. Worse, it might look just a tad suspicious if you wait until after you resign to remove stuff from your office, especially from your computer and file cabinet.
Do Give Ample and Proper Resignation Notice
The minimum resignation notice that U.S. employers typically require is two weeks, and they usually want it in writing. Check your company’s policy manual to be sure. If you don't follow company policy, not only might you burn a bridge, but you might also deprive yourself of termination benefits, such as accrued vacation pay. If you’re leaving at a particularly vulnerable time for your company, consider giving up to double the minimum notice. But, if you've got to go, that's certainly generous enough. Don't jeopardize your new job or let your current employer exploit you.
Do Offer to Help
Consider offering to
Assist in finding and interviewing your replacement
Help out until your replacement is on board
Break in your replacement
But don't make promises you can't keep and again, don't let your current employer exploit you.
Do Ask for Recommendation Letters
If they're not too ticked off that you quit, ask bosses, coworkers and direct-reports for recommendation (reference) letters, while they can still recall your finer points. Even if you've already landed a new job, look further down the road. It doesn't hurt to keep recommendation letters on file for later use. They have several advantages, the biggest of which is that you'll already know what your references have to say about you. Not everybody knows how to write effective recommendation letters or might draw a complete blank when you ask, so it's a good idea to offer samples and examples. They might be glad you did. It will also give you at least some control over the quality. One mediocre or poorly-written recommendation letter is all it takes to lose a job opportunity.
Do Say Good-Bye
Take the time to talk with each of your bosses, coworkers and direct-reports. This is especially important to help squelch nasty watercooler rumors, such as you hated your job or were pressured to resign. But keep it positive and light, while choosing your words carefully. If asked why you're leaving, make general statements such as, "It's a career opportunity I just can't pass up." Avoid expressing too much regret, as it probably won't appear to be sincere. (Why would you have submitted your resignation if you truly regretted it?) Instead, express your appreciation and say that you’ll miss working with them. If appropriate, distribute simple thank-you cards, notes or emails.
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