Tips to Consider Before Leaving Your Job

  • If you’re thinking about leaving your job, research whether your company has a policy or guideline about resignations — in particular, how much notice you should provide. This policy may be detailed in your employee handbook.
  • Prepare your work computer for your departure before announcing you’re leaving. Save any personal files to a jump drive or CD before deleting them off the computer. Be sure to also delete any personal emails from your company email account (including your “sent mail” folder). Of course, this is also a reminder not to use your company email account for your job search!
  • If you are worried about jeopardizing your current employment by looking for a new job, be sure to emphasize to prospective employers and recruiters you are working with that you are conducting a “confidential” job search.
  • Let your current supervisor know you’re leaving as soon as it is practical — for most jobseekers, this is when they’ve accepted a new job offer. Consider writing a letter of resignation to clarify the details of your separation (including the date you are leaving).

Don’t “check out” of your job before your last day. Make sure you complete any projects you are able to. Be willing to train your replacement, if asked. Document any processes and procedures that will help your successor. Leave a good last impression.

Four Tips for Answering The Tough Question About Why You Left a Job

  • Don’t lie. A quick phone call to your previous supervisor can verify — or disprove — the reason you provided. Better to be honest than get caught lying.
  • Never be negative about your previous employer when asked why you left the previous job. You can mention parts of the job that weren’t a good fit for your personality or experience — but only if you are sure those responsibilities are not a part of the new job too. Don’t criticize your previous supervisor or co-workers.
  • Don’t be defensive. Instead, focus on objective reasons for your departure. Avoid negativity or blame. Don’t position yourself as a victim. Stating that the position wasn’t what you expected it to be is a better way to describe the situation than “My boss didn’t give me clear expectations about how to do my job.”
  • Emphasize the positive. Why are you interested in this job? Position yourself as moving forward. If this is your ideal role or dream job, say so!

Bottom line is be sure you have a plan before you go into an interview. Whatever the circumstances are that find you in a job search, be ready to articulately and concisely express the reason which will lead to a smooth, successful interview.