Turning in your two weeks notice can be a stressful and stress relieving process for anyone involved in making a career transition. You may be wildly loyal to your current employer but presented with a career opportunity you know you can’t pass up. On the other hand, you may dread turning into the company parking lot every morning and can’t wait to sever ties with your responsibilities and move on to a new and exciting career opportunity. Regardless of your situation, it’s important to focus on turning in your two weeks notice in a manner just as professional as when you originally interviewed for the position.
A good recruiter will help by coaching you through this stage of the process. Their work isn’t finished just because you have accepted an offer with their client. Your recruiter should be helping you think through the conversation you are about to have with your current manager and the correct way to deliver your intentions to move on. If you don’t have much experience changing jobs throughout your career, this is likely unfamiliar territory.
Before you even consider turning in your notice, it’s critical to make sure you’ve eliminated any potential issues that might become roadblocks to starting your new position. Review the written offer package in detail and sign relevant employment agreements, understand all benefits costs/plans, PTO policies and any other non-monetary details that will be affected by making a career change. If there are background checks, drug testing or an educational verification that need to be completed, make sure these are done prior to turning in your notice. These types of items should be thoroughly reviewed prior to accepting any offer but often times it’s easy to overlook small details that could become larger issues down the road.
Once you are ready to move forward with your resignation, make sure you are giving at least two weeks notice!! You may already know your manager will ask you to leave the day you turn in your notice but you want to extend the professional courtesy of offering a minimum of two weeks notice. You will want to be able to use your manager and potentially your colleagues as references further down the road in your career. Leaving on poor terms will all but guarantee issues when it comes to asking for references later on in your professional career. These types of mistakes can follow you for years to come.
Prepare a written resignation letter in your own words explaining the basic details of your departure. Keep it professional and avoid getting into specifics. By this point, you have made your mind up in regards to making a career change and discussing specifics of why you aren’t happy with your current situation only creates animosity and opens the door for negotiation. Counter offers can be amazingly flattering and sharply career damaging at the same time. In order to avoid potential counter offer discussion with your manager, your resignation letter should include verbiage that clearly states your position. I prefer the wording mentioned in the blog post here as a good template for the basic framework of your resignation letter:
Dear (Supervisor’s Name):
This is to inform you that today I am submitting my resignation of employment which will become effective as of (Last Day of Employment).
I appreciate all that (Company Name) has afforded me, but after careful consideration I have made an irreversible decision to accept a new position. I am confident that this move is in my best interest, as well as that of my family and my career. I know that you will respect my decision.
I wish all the best for (Company Name) in the future. I will use the remainder of my time to help make the transition of my responsibilities as seamless as possible over the next two weeks.
Once you’ve drawn up your resignation letter, sit down with your manager and encourage them to read your letter of resignation prior to discussion so you can gauge their response. You can expect at least one of three common outcomes: Your resignation letter will be ignored and your manager will go straight into problem solving mode in order to try to keep you. Your resignation will be accepted quickly and discussions regarding the transition of your responsibilities will begin to take place. Lastly, you get the nod to pack up your desk immediately and you get escorted out of the building within a matter of minutes.
Regardless of the outcome, stay calm and stay professional. It may be a shock to the leadership team and your colleagues that you are leaving but you have to be committed to avoiding getting into back and forth details regarding your decision to leave. Should you be asked what can be done to keep you from leaving, let your manager know you appreciate their intentions but you’ve accepted an opportunity you are unable to turn down and your main objective is to help make the transition of your responsibilities go as smoothly as possible.
It’s always a good idea to avoid discussing where you are going to work, how much money you were offered or how you found your new position. These are confidential details that are best kept out of the conversation as they can lead to back and forth negotiations that could become tempting. You also never know which one of your least favorite colleagues might try to sabotage your new opportunity if they have enough anger or jealousy in regards to your departure.
If you find yourself in a position where you are preparing to turn in your notice, take some time to think through the most professional way to handle the situation. It’s important to stay focused on leaving on good terms in order to avoid burning bridges. The manager you are giving your resignation to today could end up being a decision maker later on in your career. Above all, stay committed to making the decision to make the career change once you’ve turned in your notice. Although flattering, counter offers can be career damaging for a number of reasons. When it’s all said and done, you want to walk out the same way you came in: Professional and moving forward in your career.