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Most of the job hunt is focused on doing everything you can to find a new job. But the last part of the process needs to be handled with equal attention: gracefully exiting your current role.
Quitting a job can be filled with mixed emotions. These feelings are all perfectly normal, and the truth is that you–and the people you’re leaving–will be fine! Especially if you follow these steps on how to resign without burning bridges:
1. Notify Your Direct Manager First
Your departure will affect your supervisors directly. They should hear the news from you, rather than be caught off-guard hearing it elsewhere. It’s also important to remember you may need them for a reference in the future, so don’t let a bad farewell be what they remember.
2. Explain Why You Accepted (Not Why You’re Leaving)
Instead of telling your boss why you want to leave, keep things positive by sharing what excites you about the new opportunity. Bonus points for telling your boss how their guidance helped you grow into that new role.
3. Set a Communication Plan
Ask your manager how they would like to share your news with the team. It’s always helpful to have your own suggestions, but the more they feel in control, the easier your last couple of weeks will be.
4. Offer To Assist in Hiring a Replacement
You know how to do your job best, and could have the best idea as to what skills are needed. Volunteer to help write the job description, vet candidates, and conduct interviews while you are still around.
5. Make a List of Your Current Responsibilities
Think about the projects you have worked on in the last year and make a list of what you do weekly, monthly, and annually. List them out so there is a record of what needs to be done in the future.
6. Offer To Train Someone Internally
Once you’ve got that list together, work with your manager to identify who might be best at taking each task on and offer to train them. This handoff could be a temporary solution or an opportunity for someone more junior to step up.
7. No Touchdown Dances
While this is an exciting time for you, it’s likely to be stressful for the rest of your team who will need to pick up the slack and train your replacement. Your gain is their loss, so don’t rub it in.
In most cases, your manager and team will be happy to see you move on to a new opportunity. At the same time, your departure means that their jobs will get a little harder, at least in the short term. Approach your last days with empathy, thank your teammates for their help, and leave on a positive note that will stick with them when you inevitably meet again.