Making A Great Last Impression: Seven Steps To A Positive Job Departure, article in Forbes

August 13, 2013
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As changing multiple jobs becomes the norm rather than exception, millenials need to pay attention to not burning bridges with ex-employers.

by Peter High, published on


It once was the aim of many people to work for 30 to 40 years with the same company, and then to retire with a pension and a gold watch. Pensions are mostly a thing of the past, and for many young people, watches are as well. Retiring from one’s first employer will be rarer still. Talented people in the technology field are more likely than most to hop from job to job with greater frequency than many others. In fact, this analysis of how Yahoo! has made a practice of acquiring less than stellar performing companies with grade-A talent in order to secure them en-masse and lock them in for multiple years underscores the point.

Unfortunately, as the millenials hop from job to job, it appears not enough time and attention is put toward ensuring that the bridge that has been built with an employer remains strong even after one’s departure. Carelessly burning bridges or even simply ending one’s tenure with a company on a sour note needlessly can have negative ramifications. When one needs a recommendation for yet another job or for a graduate program down the line, these slights will be remembered. In order to make a great last impression, it is important to follow these seven steps.

Create a plan to hand-off all outstanding work and responsibilities before tendering a resignation

Nothing is more frustrating for an employer than to have many loose ends to tie, without ample time to tie them prior to a colleague’s departure. Even before announcing the intent to leave, an employee should prepare a plan on who can logically take over his or her responsibilities. Having an actionable plan that can be implemented immediately after announcing the intent to depart will go a long way toward easing the minds of one’s soon to be ex-employer.

Meet with each of the people who you have proposed to take over responsibilities, and agree to spend time with each to ensure that each activity is in good hands post departure, and to give each person ample time to ask questions wherever necessary.

Additional topics covered in the article include:

  • Meet with all key people with whom you have worked closely in person or by phone about your departure.
  • In the final days, prove that you care as much about your soon to be ex-employer as you do about yourself.
  • Provide ample time for the transition.
  • Provide open, honest, and candid feedback to your old employer and ask for the same in return.
  • Make yourself accessible (within reason) for questions after departure.
  • Make plans to see old bosses a couple of months post departure, and keep in touch with all past mentors.

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