How You Quit Your Job Speaks Volumes

As far as employers are concerned, there’s plenty of bad press to go around, and it only takes one disgruntled employee to spread the word like rapid fire. Personally, I can’t get away from the negative hype people share about their bosses. The grocery store, the spa, heck, even my own office – before they allow themselves to take a seat, candidates entering my office can’t help themselves but complain about the horrible manager they’re trying to get away from.



Rarely do I witness the same level of outburst when an employer is wronged by an employee – and usually, the price paid is unfathomably higher. In the most recent case my team has witnessed, let’s just say the behavior was as unprofessional and unwarranted as it gets – and I’m being kind. I know what you’re thinking – the employer must have done something unspeakable to provoke said employee or it must be a lower-level worker who committed the crime. Wrong, wrong, WRONG!

And here goes the story. Last week, we placed a woman, ironically, in an HR role, with a growth-oriented international manufacturing company that had an incredible work culture and a great boss / soon-to-be mentor. It was a full package deal – the role was a management position that would’ve enhanced her background, and she received a sizable raise with a six-figure salary. If we could pinpoint the perfect career move, this was it.

The trouble was, she acted like a selfish employee, not a strategic partner who values her company’s needs. Within 30 days of starting in her new role, she gave notice that she was leaving because of personal reasons. And when I say notice – I mean that she told her boss she was leaving that day. After the tens of thousands of dollars the company spent taking her on and the hundreds of hours my team put into finding her, she up and left without a care in the world. With such poor behavior, this woman will develop a reputation, and it’s only a matter of time before she becomes unhireable, no matter how good her qualifications are on paper.

Bottom line, how you leave an employer is critical to the long-term health of your career. Leaving a job shortly after taking it or without giving sufficient notice will make landing your next gig more difficult, and references will be few and far between.


  1. Be certain. If you’re not sure about the position you are considering taking, ask if you can spend a day in the office “shadowing” the staff. It may reinforce your decision to take the position or help you decide you don’t want it. If you’ve been in a job for a long time, weigh the pros and cons before taking the plunge. Bottom line, you should have a good strategic decision for leaving your job, such as, the new role your considering enhances your background in a way your current position doesn’t.
  1. Be upfront. If you’re having second thoughts about your position, be forthcoming and let your new boss know about your situation. If you’re unhappy with working conditions or compensation, or feel that it’s time for that next level, voice your concerns. Employers are much more receptive to employees who present their case rather than simply leaving without a good reason.
  1. Give notice. If you have an employment contract that states how much notice you should give, abide by it. Otherwise, it’s appropriate to give two weeks notice. To be even more accommodating, offer to help your previous employer, if necessary, after hours, via email or phone. 
  1. Write a letter of resignation. A resignation letter can help you maintain a positive relationship with your old employer, while paving the way for you to move on. Don’t say much more than you are leaving. Emphasize the positive and talk about how the company has benefited you, but, mention that it’s time to move on. Offer to help during the transition and afterwards. Don’t be negative. There’s no point – you’re leaving and you want to leave on good terms.
  1. Be candid. If there’s a way your position or the company could be improved, share it with your employer in the most diplomatic way possible. They’ll appreciate your feedback. After all, it’s the purpose for exit interviews.
  1. Ask for a reference. Before you leave, ask for a letter of recommendation from your manager or send them a recommendation request on LinkedIn. As time passes and people move on, it’s easy to lose track of previous employers. With a letter in hand, you’ll have written documentation of your credentials to give to prospective employers.

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If you’re thinking about leaving your job, it’s time to start the dreaded job hunt. Most people don’t realize that the hiring process is quite different during the summer months. We’re offering a FREE webinar: Summer Job Search Techniques, Wednesday, July 9 at 12 p.m. ET to show you all the things you should be doing to stay on top of your game.

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