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How to Correctly Handle Your Resignation

If you are an IT professional, you likely receive constant phone calls and emails about new opportunities from companies and staffing agencies alike. And, if you have entered into a job search, and that search has progressed to the point where you have accepted an offer, here are a few important things to remember about how to properly handle the resignation process from your current employer.

Resist the Temptation

First, don’t jump the gun. Be sure to wait until you do have a formal offer in writing and in hand before resigning. The natural temptation when you’re resigning is to tell your employer of all the reasons why you weren't happy. Resist this temptation. Nothing is gained by finally letting them have it just before you walk out the door. Just leave your response to “why are you leaving?” to something like “I found a better opportunity for me and my career goals & aspirations”. You never know where you or the people you work for will be down the road so keep your comments positive as to why you're leaving. Good advice would be “if you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all”.

Do the Right Thing

When resigning, be sure to offer a full two weeks' notice and truly do all you can during those two weeks to leave things in order before your last day. Short timer's syndrome often sets in after you resign. You arrive late and leave early and just aren't as focused as you once were. Stay focused on the job to the end. Offer to train your replacement and make sure your coworkers are up to speed. Ask your supervisor what you can do to make the transition easier. Document any processes, user id and passwords, and other tasks that someone would need to do your work. Clear and effective communication before you leave should result in fewer calls and interruptions from your previous coworkers once you have started your new job.

The Counteroffer

The best way to handle a counteroffer is to make sure you don’t receive one in the first place! In large part, this has to do with what you say and how you say it when resigning. When you resign, keep in mind that you are there to inform them of the decision you have already made vs. being there to discuss this decision to leave. Having a written resignation letter to present also helps demonstrate the certainty of your decision. The last thing you want is to have your current employer come back and make an offer of more money or perks to get you to stay. Be prepared; you may hear something like “I’m shocked, I thought you were happy here. Let’s discuss this and see what we can do before you make a final decision”. Politely, but firmly let them know that you have already made your decision to move on. By the way, you do not want to accept a counteroffer regardless of how enticing that offer may be. After accepting any counteroffer, your employer will never view you the same. They will now know they can’t necessarily rely on you and doubt your commitment to the organization. Do you think this will lead them to give you more responsibility? And it is likely that many of the reasons that made you consider leaving will still exist. Statistics show the vast majority of those accepting a counteroffer will leave the company within the next 12 months.

Finally, be sure to stay in touch with those at your previous company. Exchange personal email and phone information with coworkers before your departure, and connect with them via LinkedIn or Facebook. Your colleagues will likely be a great source about future career opportunities. Not only will they be excellent business references, they can be great sources of information regarding other companies as they move on to new opportunities as well. Most people find their next position as a result of a personal or professional referral, so be sure to stay in touch.

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