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Quitting your job can be a difficult situation. The one thing that you don’t want to do though, is to burn bridges with your previous employer.

What are the advantages of leaving your previous place of work on a good note? Firstly, they may provide you with a favourable reference when you are looking for a new job. If you have a really good relationship with your previous employer, they may even help you in your search for a new job, or help you connect and network with other people in the industry.

On the other hand, what are the disadvantages of leaving on a sour note? If you leave on a particularly bad note, they won’t give you a good reference, and this can make it difficult when looking for a new job, and having to explain to potential employers why your previous place of work hasn’t given you a favourable reference.

So, what should you do when you want to resign?

There are a few steps that you should follow in order to make it as smooth a transition as possible. Most importantly, you want to make sure that this what you definitely want to do. You can’t just quit your job and then ask for it back again if you change your mind, especially if they have already found your replacement. You also should make sure that you have a backup plan, and know what your next moves are after you finish. Do you have another job lined up, are you taking a short career break etc.

The next step is to tell your boss. You want to make sure that you are the first person to tell your boss that you are resigning. It will not look good if your co-workers, or someone else in the office, lets your boss know that you are leaving before you do. You should be prepared for a reaction, they may not have been expecting this. Your boss may also have a counter-offer for you, to entice you to stay, so make sure that you are prepared for responses like this.

You should also leave the details of your resignation off social media. This is a sure way to burn bridges with your old employer. Don’t vent about your job, or use social media as a platform to talk badly about your old boss. New employers may even see that you were talking poorly about your old boss and co-workers, and they may think that if they are to hire you, you might do the same to them.

Once you have told your boss, you will need to provide them with a formal resignation letter. This is just a written, formal statement from yourself to your boss, making them officially aware that you are leaving. This letter can set the tone for your departure, so do not use this as an opportunity to vent and proclaim all of your negative thoughts towards the company.

Before resigning, you should address your contract or company hand book and see how long a notice period you need to give. This is an opportunity for your previous employer to look for your replacement and make arrangements. Just because you have handed in your notice, does not mean that you should ‘mentally check out’ from work. Commit to your notice period, and if you want to keep a good tie with your previous boss, try and aid them in making this transition as easy as possible. You could even suggest a possible replacement for yourself, and make sure that you tie up any loose ends before you leave. This includes helping with a smooth hand over with your replacement. You want to make sure that you have left your role in a position where your replacement can quickly and easily take the reins.

Finally, thank everyone when you leave. Manners cost nothing, and you don’t want to leave on a sour note. Focus on the positives of the job, you’ve left now, so there is no need to dwell on the negative past (if there was one).

These few tips should help you resign smoothly without burning any bridges with your previous employer, but make sure that resigning is definitely what you want to do!

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