Millions of people have quit their jobs this year. Some are looking for better opportunities while others are simply taking their leave from the American workforce. Collectively, the massive exit wave — nicknamed the Great Resignation — is a surprising effect of the coronavirus pandemic.
As a result, there are more than 10.4 million open roles across the United States, according to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In a recent study, credit score tracker Credit Karma found that 41% of employed respondents are thinking about quitting their jobs in the next six months.
Chances are you could be one of them, and luckily for jobseekers, it’s a competitive market out there.
When you land that new job with a bigger salary, better work-life balance, or greater benefits, don’t make any hasty decisions when leaving your old post behind. Experts agree there is a right way to leave your current role before starting a new opportunity that will keep you from burning any bridges along the way.
“If you're considering leaving your job, remember it's in your best interest to leave on good terms,” Colleen McCreary, chief people officer at Credit Karma, told Yahoo Money. “Plus, the job market is small, particularly if you’re looking to move jobs within a specific industry, there is a likely chance your paths could cross with those you’ve worked with previously.”
Don’t leave if you don’t have to
Leaving a job can feel daunting, McCreary said, but it doesn’t have to be. Before making a switch, give yourself time to think about whether you really need to leave your current job.
“The first thing to consider before making the jump is understanding why you want to leave. If there are things you like about your job, think hard about the things you dislike and if leaving your job is the only way to fix them,” McCreary said. “If you’ve been at a job for some time and need a change, that’s one thing, but if it’s higher pay or a new manager you’re looking for, those are things you can try to resolve at your current job.”
Even if you’re leaving a less-than-ideal workplace, giving notice is recommended. Vicki Salemi, Monster career expert, said two weeks is still accepted as the standard and you should first try for a face-to-face conversation with your boss, whether it’s in person or on video chat.
“Talk to your boss confidentially and this begins by asking for time on your boss's calendar, send a meeting invite and prepare what you'll say ahead of time,” Salemi said. “Keep it short and sweet. Try to be positive even if you're exiting a toxic workplace and you can't wait for your last day to finally arrive. Be professional, light, and polite.”
Then, send an official written resignation clearly stating your last day of employment to your HR department.
Keep it positive
After you submit your resignation, it’s best to keep up with your responsibilities as you normally would. Career Development Coach Michelle Enjoli said that could also mean offering to make your departure a smooth transition.
“Offer to assist with documenting any necessary information or procedures for training, transferring information to another colleague, and recommending candidates internally or externally that could be a good fit,” Enjoli said.
Salemi suggested that even if you’re leaving a bad situation, try not to badmouth your employer, boss, or the situation.
“Stay positive and avoid the grapevine,” Salemi said.
Take an exit interview
You could be asked for an exit interview, and experts suggest taking the opportunity to share feedback about why you’re leaving. Mark Herschberg, author of “The Career Toolkit,” suggested using the interview to share insight that will help the company improve.
“Talk in affirmative changes, instead of negative critiques. For example, saying, 'You made us work very long hours,’ is seen as a negative criticism, even if true,” Herschberg said. “Instead say, ‘I'm looking for a place with better work-life balance,’ or ‘I think people like me would want to spend less hours at work.’”
Say thanks and keep in touch
Even though you’re moving on, you should take the time to thank the colleagues you worked with. And in most cases, networking with such colleagues could prove to be valuable in the future.
Consider sending goodbye messages either via email or handwritten notes, Salemi said.
“You may want to send your group your email address/phone number if they don't already have it. It's a nice touch to mention if they have any questions when you're gone to reach out and stay in touch,” she said. “Be genuine and authentic. If you don't really want them to stay in touch, don't mention it, just state something like, ‘If any questions come up, you know where to find me.’”