New Job? What to Do Before You Give Notice

5 Ways to Leave Your Job on a Positive Note

Have you just landed a great new job? Whether you love your boss and dread telling him that you’re leaving or hate your job and want to tell your firm to shove it, take a deep breath and put these thoughts aside. They’re for your therapist not the workplace. Instead think about making your departure positive for you, your boss, your colleagues, your staff and your firm. Your goal should be to leave the door open.

Before you give notice, take time to handle things that you want to get done because once you make your plans public, you may not have control. Regardless of what you think, I’ve seen executives told to leave the building within the hour (This often happens where sensitive or customer information is involved.) Therefore, here are my five suggestions to ensure you make the most of this time to build the foundation for your career and your network.

  1. Catalog your current job routine(s). What do you do on a regular basis? Think in terms of daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually. Are there changes that should be made and why? Rationale: Help your successor get off to a good start. Also, if your new job is undefined or you’re working remotely, you’ll need to set up your own schedule. It helps to have a basis from which to work.
  2. Outline reports you need. Go beyond the weekly finance report or website analytics. Note what data you use, how to calculate it and what it tracks. Understand that this doesn’t mean walking out with company information! Write down in your words, what’s important to you. Rationale: Your goal is to be able to have the same or similar information from which to work at your new job. Having prototypes enables you to replicate what you need.
  3. Gather phone numbers and contacts. Think broadly about colleagues, suppliers, business contacts and others. Remember, your personal network is a critical aspect of your business life. Are there people you only contact via email? Again, I’m not suggesting you take proprietary information but rather to make sure that your contacts are up-to-date. Rationale: You want to be able to keep in touch with people you like and work with. Further, don’t just think in terms of peers and senior executives. Consider staff and cross-functional colleagues as well. This is a good time to connect with people on LinkedIn to ensure that they’re part of your business network.
  4. Assess your staff. While most executives hate writing reviews and you may feel like you’re saved from the work since you’re leaving, it’s a good idea to at least write a draft of reviews in case your staff comes back to you with requests for references. Also, you can help provide them with useful insights. Rationale: Think about the skills your staff has and which ones do you want on your next team. If you could take them with you, who would you want to hire? Also, go one step further and write short recommendations on LinkedIn.
  5. Show you care. Think about who you want to say good-bye to. Don’t overlook your boss’ support staff. Is there anyone that you should send flowers or a small token of your appreciation to? Rationale: Support staff are often under-appreciated for the work they do. Also, you want to keep your channels of communication open. You want to get your calls through and keep up with the gossip.

While you may think that this is a lot of extra work, remember what a good friend who works in Human Resources always tells me, how you leave a job is as important as how you start one!

Is there anything that you wished that you had done before you left your last job that can be added to this list?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Note: While this is targeted at people who are resigning, they’re useful if you’ve been laid off as well especially if you’re allowed some time to continue working.

Here are some related articles on careers and job search.

Photo credit: Rick via Flickr

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  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene Kingston

    I love this post! Thanks for writing it, Heidi.

    So many people want to cut and run, but taking a little time to do the things you mentioned here make a world of difference to the people you leave behind, and shift your legacy. Smart advice!

  • http://barrettrossie.com Barrett Joseph Rossie

    I second what Charlene said! The points all well taken, and so is the rationale for each point. Heidi, I’m curious — does this list come from personal experience?