Once you decide to leave your current job, you might feel a weight lift from your shoulders. Just remember, your work has only begun. You have another significant decision to make and then two or three plans to map out.
Land first? Quit first?
First, will you land the new job before quitting? In almost all cases, this is advisable.
The exceptions are when your job or your circumstances are causing so much stress that you are unable to work and search for a job at the same time. These work situations include harassment and bullying, which can have severe detrimental effects on your confidence and even your health. Personal situations can include health issues and needing to care for a family member.
If you decide you must quit your job before obtaining another one, be sure you have adequate financial plans in place to weather the gap. A six-month job search is average in the U.S. The higher your career level and salary, the longer it is likely to take to find a job. Do not assume that your network or your charm will make a job appear overnight. I have witnessed highly capable executives with active national and even global networks struggle for months to find the right position. Although the economy and job market have improved, most of the country is still in an employer’s market.
Job search plan
Next, you need to put together your job search plan.
The biggest myth in the job market today is that all you need to do is apply online and wait for someone to call with an invitation to an interview. This belief has led to untold numbers of disappointed job seekers and abandoned job searches.
That strategy may have worked a couple of times, and that’s the trouble. We all hear about someone’s best friend’s cousin’s husband who applied online and landed this great IT job in a week. The trouble is that it’s estimated it happens 1.5% of the time. If you like those odds, we need to talk about this lovely bridge I’d like to sell.
A better plan is to decide where you want to work and network into that company. Get to know the culture, the people who work there, and the opportunities that become available. Don’t worry whether there is an opening now. Your best opportunity is to be the most obvious solution when the next position opens up. Employee referrals are the No. 1 way people get hired. People want to hire people they know. Make that work for you.
When you have accepted a job offer, you need to plan your transition that includes your:
- Responsibilities: Prepare a document outlining your current projects, responsibilities, and contacts.
- Replacement: Plan to meet with your replacement to answer questions and explain responsibilities.
- Resignation: Write your letter of resignation that offers a brief reason for your decision, gratitude for the opportunity, and closure on any hope of your changing your mind.
- Response to a counter offer: Determine in advance your answer to a counter offer. (Usually, they aren’t beneficial for either party.)
- Recommendation: Prepare how you will ask for one. One reason you are leaving your employee with good information is so that you will receive a good recommendation.
If you are having trouble leaving a job, contact me today. We can talk about what is in the way and what can help you move forward.
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- I quit! Can I work it out without leaving?
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