Job Search Tip of the Week #10 (2017)


The Case for the Perpetual Job Search

Part IV: It’s OK to Go Your Own Way

Don't Burn Bridges Giving Notice

Decided to leave your current employer to pursue a new opportunity? Follow proper resignation etiquette to avoid negatively impacting your future employment.

Announcing Your Departure

You should always inform your supervisor and/or employer of your intent to leave your job:

  • Before your coworkers. If management hears about your resignation through the grapevine, you can forget about your professional and courteous reputation.
  • With an appropriate amount of notice. The standard, regardless of industry, is two weeks. However, you should always consult the resignation guidelines outlined in your employment contract or union agreement.
  • In person, and in written form. It is customary to include a projected date of departure, recommendation requests, and a reason(s) regarding your decision to leave.
  • With consideration of the costs of your exit. Your team may experience understaffing and a loss in productivity as management seeks your replacement. If your position is one of great responsibility (e.g., you hold a senior/team lead or executive-level position, or just spearheaded a major project), you should consider remaining on the job for at least one additional week to train your successor.
After Tendering Your Resignation

In the technology industry, where software engineers and web developers tend to change jobs every two to three years (and often within a specific niche, like financial software companies or the advertising and marketing agencies), it is highly likely you’ll work with the same people a few times over the course of your career. To avoid burning those bridges:

  • Respect your current employer. If you haven’t secured a job already, engage in an active search on your own time. Use your personal phone and email account for all communications unrelated to your current work, and don’t check such messages on your company’s dime. Don’t be ill-mannered and gloat about your new job and its perks, or how your future employer is better than your current one.

  • Continue following the rules. Remember, although you’ve submitted your resignation, you’re still employed. Don’t take advantage of the fact that you’re leaving in a few weeks and act differently than you normally would. You’ll need to leave on a positive note if you want to be looked upon favorably should you wish to return, of if you want to receive glowing references.

  • Maintain your productivity level. You’re still a member of your development team and should continue giving your coworkers 100%. You should aim for completing the project you’re currently working on before your departure date. If that’s not feasible, ensure that your successor is caught up-to-speed on your involvement and the project plans before you leave. Don’t leave a coding mess for your former colleagues or your replacement to clean up, because teh next time your paths cross, they’ll remember you as the unreliable one whose contributions lack quality!

  • Remain positive in your exit interview. Be honest when giving your reasons for leaving, but don’t bash. If possible, advise your interviewer on what could be done to prevent similar departures in the future.
Following Up Once You’re Gone

Maintaining good relationships you’ve made with former supervisors and colleagues may lead to future job prospects. So:

  • Write thank-you letters. To references, for providing positive recommendations. To your former superiors, to express your appreciation for all that they’ve taught you and how working for them benefited you. To your former colleagues for being there for you on a day-to-day basis. To your former employees to thank them for their support.
  • Open a line of communication. Use social media to network and keep in touch with your contacts, as well as new developments and opportunities at your old company.

Remember: Don’t burn bridges with your former employer and colleagues! Make as graceful an exit as possible in order to maintain your positive professional reputation and protect your career outlook.

Photo credit: rCrundwell / Flickr

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