So you’ve decided the time has come to move onto greener pastures at work. You’ve told your manager you’re resigning and handed in your official notice to HR. Now that you’re heading out the door soon, you’re thinking you can coast along until your last day. Not so quick.
Just as you invested effort into creating a strong start for yourself when you first joined your organization, you need to similarly invest the same amount of effort now that you’re leaving. How you leave an organization when you no longer have any skin in the game speaks volumes about who you are as a professional. Use this time between your resignation and last day to solidify your reputation and strengthen some relationships by remembering to do a few simple things.
Set up coffee chats with colleagues
If you haven’t already done this before handing in your notice, set up informal catch-ups with teammates, cross-functional counterparts, and influential stakeholders at your organization including your manager’s manager, before your last day. Whether you choose to do these in person or virtually, use this time to reconnect with colleagues you hope to stay in touch with.
Moreover, take the opportunity to explain why you’re leaving in your own words, share your future plans, explore ways you can continue helping one another in the future, and thank them if they’ve helped you in any way during your time in the role.
Transition your projects
While it may be tempting to just step away from all your projects as your final day approaches, now is the time to demonstrate you’re the type of professional who remains fully committed to your organization until you hand in your badge. Ideally, you’ll want to create a project transition handover document that captures the current status on each of your projects, key contacts, critical milestones, and any contentious issues that still need resolving.
Passing along this instructive document or manual to your manager or successor demonstrates your interest in ensuring your projects continue moving forward with little disruption.
Document your accomplishments
Updating your résumé turns into a stressful process when you can’t remember exactly what it was you did in your previous job.
Before you lose your access to your company’s shared project folders and cloud storage, make sure you’ve taken the time to capture every single one of your major accomplishments for each of your key projects. While your projects are still top of mind, document the impact your work had on your organization and its progress. When you apply to future roles, this is a tip you want to consistently adhere to.
Ask for LinkedIn recommendations
Approaching a colleague or supervisor for a LinkedIn recommendation may feel a bit awkward when you’re headed out the door; however, getting ahead of this process now (versus later) is better for everyone. Your coworker or your manager’s recall is stronger while your working relationship is still fresh in their mind.
Moreover, asking someone for this face-to-face also tends to feel more personal and less forced than asking over email or LinkedIn months after your departure. If you’re trying to reinforce an element of your personal brand, be sure to ask them to comment specifically on those ways of working or skills for which you want to be known.
Send a farewell email
At the start of your last day on the job, send an email out to everyone you’ve worked with during your time there. Yes, everyone. Even the people you feel may be part of the reason why you’re leaving. A mass email can do. Customized emails that go out to various teams are even better. Even if your organization has been going through a tough time, make sure you’re gracious here.
Express gratitude for having the opportunity to work there, share a snapshot of your plans, and let people know how they can contact you in the future.
Schedule one last one-on-one with your direct manager
One of the most important professional relationships you’ll have in any organization is with your direct manager. Regardless of how much (or how little) you’ve enjoyed working with your manager, you owe them the professional courtesy to say a proper farewell before you leave the organization.
Your manager may be busy trying to backfill your position or even pick up slack until a new hire joins, so the onus is really on you to proactively schedule a final one-on-one well in advance and ideally on your last day.
The meeting may only last a few minutes, but use it to thank your manager, check off any final requests, express your interest in remaining in touch, and wish your soon-to-be former boss the best.
Give it your all until the last day
After you resign from your job, wanting to check out and just count down the days until you’re out of there may feel quite natural.
However, demonstrating your commitment to your role, the organization, and the people until your very last day will ensure you leave people with a positive impression of who you are as a professional. You’ll often hear the refrain “you never have a second chance to make a first impression.” What also can be true is you will never have a chance to make a final impression.
Your professional circle is smaller than you think, so make sure you do everything you can to end this chapter in your career graciously, professionally, and thoughtfully.