People are so wrapped up in finding job opportunities, that they often forget the importance of how to quit a job. If you’re not using the final weeks, months, days and hours at a job to reinforce your passion and expertise, you are missing out on a golden personal branding opportunity. The people you work with today, from the newly minted intern to the curmudgeon in clerical, could be the lead to a new job tomorrow.
Work hard until the very last second
The reality is that people WILL talk about you after you leave a job. They’ll likely blame you for things that you had nothing to do with. Imagine how nice it would be for someone to come to your aid, defending your honor, even after you’re gone. It is possible! Give people very little reason to bad mouth you. Not only do you need to work hard and tie up all loose ends when you come to the end of the road at a gig, but you need to be your own cheerleader too. Make it known that you’re giving the job your all until the very end. You’ll be amazed at how impressed people will be to find you still there at 5pm on your very last day. Or how thrilled they’ll be when you leave them instructions on how to do something that only you handled. Not only will it help you brand yourself in a positive light, but it’s also good career karma.
Do not bad mouth the employer you are leaving behind
It’s no secret that people like to be surrounded by positive and upbeat people. Upon quitting a job people will instantly expect you to bite the hand that is no longer feeding you. It’s an easy trap to fall into, but an important one to avoid. Even though you have the good fortune to move on, there are plenty of people you are leaving behind. Adding fuel to their fire about the employer’s faults is pointless. In fact, it could end up having a negative effect on you. The spillover could leave them resenting you for moving on. No matter how you feel about the company, or the folks who work there, hold your tongue and only speak about the good. In this what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world, leave people with memories of your positive attitude.
Don’t skip good-bye parties
As someone who does not enjoy being the center of attention, I have waved off goodbye parties in the past upon exiting a job. You know the drill. Co-workers want to send you off in style so an e-mail circulates requesting everyone’s presence for an after-work drink. Whether the party is in your honor or a colleague’s, it’s easy to decline the invite. After all, in a few days these folks will be a distant memory. Why should you spend extra time on ‘them.’ You should be viewing this casual encounter as extra time for ‘YOU.’ It’s one final chance to brand yourself and leave a lasting impression of your valuable skill set and magnetic personality. Fight the urge to decline or be a no-show and use the opportunity as a final effort to control your legacy and create meaningful contacts.
Ask for their contact information
When quitting a job, the most common play is when people send around a mass e-mail with their personal contact information. Rather than give out your information, I recommend that you ask soon-to-be-former co-workers for their contact info. You’ll make them feel important, and there’s a 90% chance that they’ll ask for your info in return. Sometimes the easiest self-promotion is promoting others.
From the resignation letter you present to your boss, to the way you treat your-co-workers on your last day of work, how you quit a job is an often overlooked personal branding opportunity. Don’t let it pass you by. There are no second chances.