ACA 30 Years of Experience: Top Tips #5 How to leave a job

You’ve got yourself a new role but how do you leave the old one gracefully? A smooth transition between roles can help you maintain good relations with your previous employer and get you onto the right track with your new one. Here we guide you through the process so you can make the best changeover.


Finalise details for your new role

First and foremost, make sure that everything is finalised with your new role ahead of you resigning from your current one. No one wants to quit their job only to find that the new position falls through and their old firm have already lined up a replacement. Most importantly make sure you have a signed offer letter and contract, you’ve successfully negotiated the salary and benefits package and you’ve got a start date.


Back up your files and records

In some employment, as soon as you resign you’ll no longer have access to your PC and phone so ensure that you have copies of anything important backed up and stored (within legal limits). Even if you are likely to have access to your files after you’ve officially handed in your notice, it’s a good idea to have everything backed up first; it’s likely you’ll be very busy finishing off projects and preparing for handover so you won’t want to spend extra time on copying files.


Prepare your narrative

Think of your resignation letter as a thank you note, keep it brief and express your gratitude for the opportunity to work at your company and with your boss, also include the date of your last day. It’s worthwhile looking at samples on the internet to make sure you get the tone right. See your boss in person, tell them verbally that you’re resigning and give them your letter. If your boss works at a different location, tell them verbally on the phone and then follow up with your letter via email. You’ll also need to prepare the story you will tell your colleagues (make sure you tell your manager first and agree with them how other colleagues will learn the news) keep it consistent and with a positive reason for leaving rather than a negative one.


Plan for the handover

Unless you’re going to work for a direct competitor (if that’s the case you may be supervised by security whilst you pack up your belongings and are escorted immediately from the building) there will likely be a handover period. Plan how you’ll transfer your responsibilities so that your manager is not left with a ton of unfinished projects. If a replacement is hired you may have a period of overlap whilst you show them the ropes, otherwise create a list with your recommendations on how your duties could be completed by colleagues until your position is filled. Once your departure is official you can start to remove personal items from your desk to ensure it’s clean and tidy for the new starter.


The final leg

Make sure you work hard right up until the end and attend an exit interview if asked (this is normally conducted by HR to find out how the company can do better or whether there are any issues with specific managers). Take the time to write a personal email or note to the colleagues who’ve supported or mentored you and with whom you wish to maintain contact. Once you start in your new role, update your social media and networking profiles and make sure you don’t speak negatively about your previous employers.