You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Job Doc

Leaving on professional terms pays off

Q. I have been looking for a job for several months now. I am expecting a written job offer within the next week or so after the new company checks my references. I realize that I am not sure how to quit in a professional way. Any tips for that?

A. How you leave a job speaks volumes about your professionalism. A few tips:

Continue reading below

Give appropriate notice. Most employers expect at least two weeks notice. There may be extenuating circumstances where three or more weeks might be appreciated. For example, an important deadline may be approaching or a new initiative in which the departing employee is involved will soon launch.

Inform your direct supervisor first in a private way when communicating your intent to leave the company. If possible, do it in person. If your supervisor works in a different location or is traveling, a phone call may be the best alternative. No supervisor likes to hear through the grapevine that one of their team members is leaving.

Put some thought into a transition plan. Who can pick up some of your responsibilities after you leave? How can the work still get completed? The plan may not be perfect, but your supervisor can think proactively so work does not fall through the cracks.

Don’t burn bridges. Don’t sabotage your former employer. Be gracious and helpful about responding to questions even after you have left.

If given the opportunity to participate in an exit interview, try to present your feedback in a helpful way. There may be negatives about your former company, former boss, or former role, but try to weave in some positive comments, too.

Finally, it is a small world. You want to depart on professional terms because you may be working with some of your former co-workers in a future life. One of them may be a future client, colleague, or boss.

Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton.
Loading comments...
Want each day's news headlines delivered fresh to your
inbox every morning? Just connect with us
in one of the following ways:
Please enter a valid email will never post anything without asking.
Privacy Policy
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of
Marketing image of