At one point or another, all of us have fantasized about walking into a boss’s office and quitting on the spot. Even if it’s a job you love, there comes a time for you to take the next step in your career. Quitting your job can feel liberating, scary, thrilling, and daunting, all at the same time. If you’re on the verge of making a move, here are six things you should do before pulling the trigger.
Get your references in order.
We’ve said it before, and it bears repeating. Your references – the people who can weigh in on what you’re really like to work with – are the most important part of your entire professional portfolio. When recruiters dig deeper for information about a candidate, they aren’t looking to see what grades you got in college. They’re looking for a better picture of you as an employee. Are you punctual? Are you a great leader? A creative thinker? Accountable to deadlines? This is the kind of information your references provide.
Before you quit your job, start a profile on BULLIT. Our quick feedback tool lets you send a link to your favorite coworkers and mentors and start to build a picture of your so-called “soft” skills. Start to create a record of the reputation you’ve worked so hard to establish. It will come in handy, whatever your next move is.
Work on your resume.
In addition to having a profile for your professional personality, you’ll need a strong CV. Are you starting your own business? Congrats! You still need a resume. As @johnrampton writes, “an in-depth and polished resume can be used to convince your potential clients and investors that you possess the talent, knowledge, and expertise to be successful — especially when you’re building your personal brand on platforms like LinkedIn.”
Having a tough time getting your resume down to one page? Keep in mind that your references tell a better story than a list of your credentials and qualifications. Plus, here’s some tough love on what to cut.
Create a game plan.
Whether quitting a job out of desperation or gracefully exiting, you need a plan – financially and otherwise. We suggest starting four weeks out: what’s your plan for your last two weeks in the position, and what will you do for the next two weeks after you quit? If you have a job lined up, how will you spend this transition period? If you don’t have a job lined up, what is your approach for taking the next step in your career?
Many experts will say not to quit your job before you have another lined up, and generally, that’s good advice. If you are in a dire situation, however, The Muse has some advice on how to quit without a backup plan. Of course, you may be quitting to take a side gig full time or launch your own company. In that case, your four-week plan might include networking, storing up cash funds, and creating a business plan that you can follow in the long-term.
Find a mentor.
Now is a good time to solidify relationships with those who have helped you get to this stage in your career. Ask a manager or senior-level executive you’ve enjoyed working with to continue to help guide your career. Alternately, if you’re leaving a negative work situation, start reaching out to others in different industries to let them know you’re thinking of making a move. A career transition is the perfect networking topic. Start conversations with those who have been in your shoes, and build bridges from there!
Give your boss fair warning.
@Lifehackorg recommends you “Provide as much notice as possible if you decide to quit your job and the situation is not dire. Two weeks is standard, but be aware of your particular company’s policy.” It’s not illegal to give less than two weeks notice, but it can hurt your reputation to quit on the spot.
Moreover, your boss should be the first person you tell when you’re planning to leave. “The reason is obvious: you ‘don’t want your boss to hear the news from anyone else,’” @lschlesinger points out in Harvard Business Review. That said, as soon as you let your boss know, you are no longer in the driver’s seat. Your supervisor will be planning the transition, so stay open and flexible with how they handle your departure.
Leave on a good note.
As tempting as it can be to walk out in a blaze of glory, burning bridges never helped anyone. Leave on a high note, even if it’s a company you struggled to support. “Quitting your job without working your notice period, gossiping across the office, not completing your final assignments, and not training your replacement could be the worst decision of your life,” writes @davepeck. You never know where your career might take you, and you may cross paths with some former coworkers later in life!
No matter where you are in your career, the BULLIT community is here to support you! With nearly 300,000 members and growing, curate a profile of your best references for whatever life brings – not just those critical moments like a job change. Sign up today and download our app.
Also published on Medium.