So you’ve landed a great job that recognises your talents, gives you the salary you deserve and takes your career to the next level. For some people, the temptation might be to go back to your current employer, wave the offer in their faces and tell them that they’ve always underestimated you.
No matter how good or bad your current employer is, resist the temptation of settling old scores. Working in events and marketing jobs can be a small world. You never know when you might come across the same people again – if not as an employer then potentially as a client or influencer – and stories can spread in this industry remarkably quickly.
So how should you leave your role in a way that enhances your reputation?
10 Ways to leave your job professionally and positively
1) Discuss it before it happens
In some mature company cultures, discussing your intention to leave a role or your ‘wider ambitions’ before you start your job search can be a positive move. It could uncover forthcoming opportunities in the company you may otherwise never have heard of. Or your boss may even be willing to look out for opportunities for you in their network.
A couple of caveats here. First, don’t delay your job search on the basis of vague promises of promotion or a pay rise. If there is no concrete evidence proceed with Plan A. Secondly, make sure you understand the company culture correctly before trying this approach.
2) Get the offer in writing
In less mature organisations, or if you are unsure of the culture, say nothing until you get an offer in writing. A verbal offer is exciting, but very occasionally things can go awry when the line manager goes to their boss to get an offer signed off, so hold fire until you have written evidence of all the facts, including the package.
3) Speak to your line manager first
Follow the correct protocol. Tell your line manager about your new job in private first, ideally face to face, before handing over your written resignation. Agree with him or her who will tell your colleagues and others and when it will happen.
Not only is it courteous, it ensures your boss doesn’t discover your news from another source.
As an aside, and for the same reason, avoid updating your social media accounts with the news. Your manager would rightly be annoyed to discover you are leaving because you’ve changed your company and job title on LinkedIn, or are receiving “congratulations on your new role” messages from mutual contacts!
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4) Express gratitude
In both your verbal and written resignation, thank your employer for the opportunities and development they have given you – even if you feel you haven’t had the support you would have liked. It costs nothing and can help to avoid bad feelings that could impact your references or reputation.
5) Beware the counter offer
One of the most frustrating responses to handing in your resignation is to receive an attractive counter offer from your current employer. It can be tempting, but it’s worth asking why they haven’t realised your worth before you forced their hand.
It can at the very least muddy the waters at what can be quite an emotional and stressful time for you. There are so many reasons to reject counter offers we’ll make it the subject of a future blog. For the time being it’s simply worth remembering why you started looking for a new role. The large majority of people who accept a counter offer still end up leaving their employer within six to twelve months – and often the timing is not their choice.
6) Offer to help find your replacement
A really positive move you can make, and one that will be remembered by your boss and colleagues, is to offer to apply your expertise to finding a good replacement.
The help you provide can range from sharing the opportunity with your personal network, through to updating the job description to include what the job really entails, meeting with applicants to explain the job, and perhaps even participate in the interviews.
7) Prepare a comprehensive handover
We all like to think we are indispensable and that our shoes are impossible to fill. But organising your systems, processes and notes for the next person who will perform your role will demonstrate your consummate professionalism.
Spend your last week clearing up outstanding projects and compiling an extensive handover notes that includes progress reports, next steps and key contacts.
8) Build your LinkedIn contacts
Everyone says, ‘keep in touch’ but that’s hard to do if you haven’t captured people’s contact details before you leave. Send out LinkedIn invitations to those friends and colleagues with whom you’d really like to stay in contact. In the world of marketing and events jobs you never know when you’ll be able to help each other out again.
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9) Use the exit interview
Many organisations now have an ‘exit interview’ in which departing employees are invited to discuss their reasons for leaving. It’s important to keep your responses factual and professional, and backed up with examples, rather than personal.
That said, if you have been forced to leave because of bullying or other inappropriate behaviour and have felt unable to raise it before, this is your opportunity. And your colleagues will thank you for taking it.
10) Try to avoid disgracing yourself at your leaving do!
Of course, you’ll want to enjoy your leaving do and your colleagues will want to give you a great send off, but remember your paths will undoubtedly cross again. Better to be remembered as the organiser of the company’s largest ever public event than the person who threw up in the Finance Director’s handbag at their own leaving do!
A professional recruitment specialist like Regan & Dean will help you through the tricky period between receiving an offer and starting the new job. We won’t be there to look after you at your leaving do however – that’s down to you!