Most of us, sooner or later, will leave a job to take a position elsewhere. Even if the company downsized or you were let go, you want to maintain your professionalism throughout the transition. After all, burning bridges is never wise. How you behave during your final days with the company will long be remembered and reveals your character.
1. Give notice. Write a letter of resignation that includes the final date of your employment, and then deliver it in person to your boss. No emailed resignations, please! And make sure you tell your boss first, before co-workers.
2. Provide guidance. Offer to train your replacement. If time doesn’t permit that, at least leave detailed instructions for your replacement, including the status of projects. Share any tips, shortcuts or other helpful info that can make the transition smoother for the new person coming in.
3. Clean up. Clear personal files and emails from the company computer, and be sure to collect all your belongings.
4. Don’t slack. Put in a full-day’s work, even on your last day.
5. Keep it cordial. If there’s an exit interview, remain positive or at least neutral. If there’s some bad feelings, try a simple, “Thank you for the opportunity,” or “I learned a lot working here.”
6. Be discreet. No need to brag about the awesome new position you’re moving into and all the amazing perks you’ll be receiving.
7. Ask for references. A letter of reference can be invaluable, even more so if you don’t have another job lined up. Consider asking several colleagues for testimonials.
8. Direct connect. Make sure your former co-workers know how to reach you.
9. Enroll in training. If the company let you go, make an honest assessment of your skills and consider taking a course or two to make yourself more marketable.
10. Create closure. Take some time to reflect on your tenure with the company—connections made, projects undertaken, and skills learned. Then set some goals for yourself moving forward.