Transitioning out of one job and into another can be an exciting, yet sometimes stressful experience. Don't burn bridges when leaving your old employer, as you might be able to use the networks you created in the future. Instead, create a professional transition plan that allows you to graciously move on to your new opportunity.
Talk to Your Boss
Sit down privately one-on-one with your boss and announce your resignation before sharing the news with anyone else. Write out a formal resignation letter, and bring an additional copy for human resources. Give at least two weeks’ notice, and assure your boss you will make the transition as smooth as possible to avoid disrupting productivity. Your supervisor might be excited for your new opportunity, or she may be resentful that you’re leaving. In either case, be professional and thank her for the opportunities you had while in the position.
Create a Project List
Make a list of all the projects you’re currently working on and create a timeline for each one to show its progress. If you can complete projects prior to leaving, do so. If that's not possible, try to write out as much direction as you can for the person who takes over your position. If you have project plans, attach them to your list and provide any collateral materials that might be helpful for the next person to handle the work.
Train Your Replacement
If you're leaving on good terms, you might be asked to help screen, interview and even train your replacement. Help this person understand not only the core requirements of the position, but the day-to-day responsibilities as well. For example, show her how office equipment works, give her contact phone lists and email addresses, and walk her through a typical workday. Not only will the new hire appreciate this, but your goodwill will leave a positive and long-lasting impression on your employer.
Handle Final Details
You might be asked to complete an exit interview on your last day at work, as well as clean out your workspace and return keys and identification badges. Be certain you will be compensated for unused vacation time and outstanding bonuses, and have a plan in place for rolling over or transferring your retirement account. The human resources director can provide you with options for transferring or continuing your health care coverage if you have it. Be gracious in leaving the office, saying goodbye to colleagues and making plans to stay in touch.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.