Even if you’re not planning on leaving with a dramatic exit reminiscent of Jennifer Aniston’s character in “Office Space,” doesn’t mean you should just leave quietly. A good exit takes some planning and effort to execute well to ensure that you don’t burn bridges and that you strengthen key relationships before you fully transition out. Here are 3 tips for a graceful exit that strengthens your network:
Secure recommendations from people who know you well
Most job applicants won’t need to have formal recommendation letters, but it’s always better to be over-prepared rather than under-prepared. Rather than getting a formal letter, reach out to people who know you well and people who you’ve worked with closely, and ask them to write you a recommendation on LinkedIn. It usually helps if you give them some guidance about which skills or projects you’d like them to talk about.
Make a list of people you want to keep in touch with
When you’re in the midst of your job, it will seem obvious who you have good relationships with, and you’ll probably assume you’ll naturally keep in touch with these people. But life has a way of getting in the way of our best intentions. So it’s wise to make a list of people you’d like to stay in contact with, so you can be methodical about checking in with them periodically once you’ve settled into your new role.
Hand off your responsibilities cleanly
This one should go without saying (that and give proper notice), but it’s rarely done and will affect not just your relationship with your former manager, but your relationship with many of your former co-workers. For the weeks before you leave, keep a running list of tasks/duties you handle. If you wait until right before you leave, there will be things that you do without even thinking about it, and once you’re gone, those are likely to fall through the cracks.