How – and Why – to Leave a Good Impression When You Quit Your Job

You’ve received a new job offer and the time has come to leave your current position. Whether you hate your soon-to-be former job or love your job, you should always maintain a professional attitude when you quit.

The reason why boils down to this: you never know when you will need a good reference from your previous employer to turn to in the future. Unfortunately, many people think that just because they’ve put in their notice, the final two weeks can be spent goofing off and chatting with their coworkers. Or even worse, some people make a scene and burn any bridges they have. If you find yourself tempted to do something similar, consider this: do you really want your manager’s last memory of you to be of someone who slacks off and is unreliable or downright rude? Don’t sabotage your future opportunities because of a momentary whim.

All right, those are the reasons why you should leave a positive impression when you quit. But how do you go about doing so?

Put in Your Two Weeks’ Notice

This should go without saying, but unfortunately, I’ve learned that far too many people don’t follow this rule. Unless you have important extenuating circumstances, you should always put in your formal resignation at least two weeks before your last day. It’s considered highly unprofessional to do otherwise. I’ve seen people put in their notice a few days before their final workday, or people who couldn’t even tell their manager when their final day would be. That gives a very unflattering lasting impression of the employee, even if their work had been stellar up until that point.

Put Your Affairs in Order

Obviously, it’s highly unlikely that any company can interview and hire your replacement in the time between when you put in your notice and your last day, so why the focus on two weeks? It’s because this time is necessary for you to finish up any projects you’re working on or hand them off to your other coworkers. Use this time to organize all your files and explain the status of every project you have with your manager and teammates. That way, when your replacement is hired to fill your old position, they will be able to get off to a running start.

Thank Your Boss for the Opportunity

Whether or not you had a close relationship with your manager, I recommend you take the effort to thank them for the opportunity they gave you when they hired you. I prefer leaving a handwritten thank you card, so your boss has something to easily remember you by. It doesn’t have to be a long note, but if you can, try to mention specific opportunities you appreciated, skills you learned, or projects you worked on.

Stay in Touch With Your Former Colleagues

You never know who might be able to provide you with a potential job lead in the future. That’s why it’s a good idea to stay in touch with your former colleagues. At the bare minimum, you should follow each other on LinkedIn.

If you’re interested in learning even more important workplace etiquette, be sure to read the other posts on my blog. And if you want a personal consultation, send me an email on my website to get in touch!