Getting a Job

When to Quit a Job and How to Move On

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As you grow and develop in your career, you may decide to quit a job and move on to a new one. Whether you want to quit your job because your circumstances have changed or because you have a new job opportunity, it can be beneficial if you quit professionally. In this article, you can learn about the process of quitting a job, how to do it respectfully and how to move on to other possibilities.

When to quit a job

You may be thinking about quitting your job if you want to gain additional experience, have the chance to learn new things, or you want to relocate. You may have a new job offer that feels more exciting or challenging and matches your skills and talents better. And sometimes you may decide to change careers entirely, try self-employment or become an entrepreneur. 

Whatever your reasons for quitting your job, there are some methods that may make the conversation with your manager easier and help you transition to the next phase of your career. 

How to quit a job

Follow these steps to professionally quit a job:

1. First, schedule a conversation with your manager

In order to keep a positive, professional relationship with your supervisor, it is important to quit your job in person, if possible. Arrange a meeting so that you can have their full attention and time to discuss your plan for leaving.

2. Second, prepare your explanation for quitting

You can explain as much or as little as you like. Sometimes, a simple statement like, ‘I am leaving for personal reasons’ is enough, or you could outline your plans in greater detail. If you intend to ask your manager for a recommendation or anticipate your next employer may contact the company, keep the conversation positive. You may thank your managers for specific opportunities and explain how they helped with your career growth. 

3. Third, give adequate notice for your last day of work

It is usually best to tell your supervisor that you plan to leave at least two weeks ahead of time so you can finish any outstanding work, organize any files or projects for the person who will do your job next, and try to ensure you do not leave any work unfinished.

4. Fourth, offer to help with the transition before you leave

If it is appropriate to your circumstances, you could offer to train a replacement or spend some time passing along work to a coworker who will take over some of your projects. Even telling your supervisor, ‘Let me know if I can help with anything’ shows you are willing to be flexible and helpful, which will be beneficial to maintain a positive relationship.

5. Fifth, submit a letter of resignation

After you’ve had a conversation with your manager, follow it up with a formal letter of resignation. Send this to your manager and Human Resources department. It should explain your plans in the same amount of detail you offered in the one-on-one conversation with your manager. Keep it professional and short and let it serve as a summary of your reasons for quitting. 

Sample resignation letter

Dear James,

This letter serves as my formal resignation from my position as a marketing manager. My last day will be Friday, August 23, 2019. 

Thank you for the opportunity to work in the marketing department. I have enjoyed working with the team and the projects we completed. I am especially thankful for the work we did for our annual trade shows. Those experiences have been invaluable for my career growth, and I will never forget the lessons I learned.

During these next two weeks, I will do everything I can to organize my work for other members of the team and/or train any new employees. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to help make a smooth transition.

I wish you great future success and hope we can keep in touch.

Tom Jones

How to move on after you quit a job

Follow these steps to give you insight for moving forward:

1. First, perform a self-assessment of your past performance and your future goals

Whether or not you have your next job in place, take some time to reflect on your experiences at your previous job. Analyze the reasons you decided to quit and determine if you can improve any habits or practices for the next phase of your career. You could set goals in a journal so you have a written record of the kind of success you would like to see for yourself.

2. Second, connect with your network for career advice and next steps

Talk to trusted friends, family members and people in your professional network. Let them help you evaluate and learn from quitting your job. An outside perspective can be invaluable in understanding past experiences. Your friends can tell you what they observed about you while you worked at your last job. And consider anyone who can help you with your job search or who could recommend you in a new venture. Send emails, connect via a professional networking site or meet in person.

3. Third, look for freelance or contracting opportunities

If your career has an avenue for freelance or contract work, short-term clients and jobs can give you a sense of freedom and some income during a job search. It can also help you create a network of people who may hire you for your next full-time job.

4. Fourth, plan for the future

Just like you spent time reviewing and contemplating why your last job necessitated a change, spend time making a plan for your future. You could make a list of the companies you want to work with or the roles you want to fill. You could do research on prospective entrepreneurial projects or additional schooling if you want to change careers. Try to turn analyzing the past into self-motivation for the future.