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10 Tips for a Smooth Resignation

So you’ve accepted a new opportunity… Congratulations! While this is an exciting time, there are a few final – and important – steps in your job search. Even though you’re looking forward to your new position, it may still be difficult to resign from your current job. At the same time, it’s easy to forget some critical steps in winding down your search in your haste to move on.

Agile’s top ten tips for a graceful exit can make the transition to your new work place as smooth as it can be.

1. Be firm, positive and decisive. Your decision is final. It meets your criteria and you are moving forward. Think about saying, “I have thought this over carefully for a long time,” or “I’m moving on to a career opportunity which suits my desires and goals.”

2. Be professional. Always! Be firm and professional when resigning your current position. “Thank you so much for the opportunity you provided me,” or “The experience I gained here was invaluable.”

3. Inform, don’t discuss. You are simply informing your employer of the situation, not discussing whether you should resign.  Be assertive in stating, “I am now submitting my 2 weeks notice,” or “I have made a firm decision with un-biased data.”

4. Put it in writing. Not email, but a formal letter. Remain professional, always, and reference the date of your notice and your last day of work, which should be 2 weeks from the date on the letter. This is also an appropriate place to thank your employer for employing you!

5. Practice. Delivering the news that you’re leaving isn’t always easy. Practice what you want to say so that you feel comfortable. Your employer might be caught off guard by your resignation and ask difficult questions, or they might clam up and end the conversation quickly. Don’t take your supervisor’s response personally and be prepared that this might not be the last discussion.

6. Questions. There can be difficult questions at this phase of your job search. Be ready to answer inquiries like:

  • “Why are you leaving?”
  • “Where are you going and what will you be doing?”
  • “What can we do to change your mind?”
  • “Will you think about this before you leave?”
  • “I want you to talk to our VP first.”
  • “How much money did they offer you?”

These are all valid questions, and you should be prepared in advance with appropriate responses, even if your response is, “I prefer not to say.”

7. The offer and money. It truly is in your best interest not to discuss the offer, money or your new employer. A good way to answer tough questions is to say the offer was fair and you are happy about it.

8. Remove your profile. Now that you are resigning to move on to your new opportunity, it’s time to shut down your job search. Take your resume off all job boards. If you leave this profile up and active, it indicates to your new employer that you may still be looking!

9. Deactivate. Send an e-mail to all staffing agencies and recruiting firms you are working with to inform them that you have accepted a new position. Don’t expect the agency to let you go easily. If the opportunity is truly a good fit for you, an agency with integrity should be pleased you have found the right position.

10. Shut down. Email the companies that had you under consideration for a position. Express your appreciation for their interest and tell them you have accepted a new job. Do this out of courtesy! There is no such thing as burning a bridge, if you are professional. This creates goodwill and it may benefit you in the long run.

Following these tips will ensure a smooth transition to your new job, avoiding awkward situations and setting yourself up for a great new professional beginning.

About the Author

Pauline C. Battaglia is Agile’s Organizational Effectiveness Manager, focused on sales coaching, training and productivity. Pauline has over 15 years of experience in IT Staffing and professional services. She was as a top performing Sales Manager with companies including IBM, and served as an associate Recruiting Director. A former independent sales coach and consultant, Pauline is an expert in sales productivity, business process re-engineering and strategy development. Pauline graduated from Mercer University with a double major in English and Mass Communications.

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