Millennials, those born after 1980, expect to change jobs at least every three years. That means that every few years—unless you’ve been fired—you will need to resign. This is especially true in media and advertising where change is constant and new opportunities come along frequently.
Since you may need to resign more than a dozen times during your career, it’s important to do it right. Here’s how:
Do it in person. If you care at all about the person who hired you or your manager then let them know in person that you plan to leave. Believe it or not, I have seen Millennials quit their job via email. This disrespects the manager who will need to tell their boss. Put on your big boy pants and deliver the news in person.
Don’t burn bridges. Resign with dignity, even if there were things you did not like about your current job. The high road is always the best one to take in business. If there is an exit interview be honest but fair.
Give some notice. Companies today are stretched thin. If you are a junior employee, give two weeks notice. If you are senior, offer to stay on for another month. The company you are moving to should not pressure you to start immediately. If they do you should ask yourself what kind of company you are joining.
Train your replacement. When you leave someone else is going to get stuck doing your job. Offer to teach them everything you know. If you want to be really thoughtful, give them your personal email address in case they have any questions after you’re gone.
Keep putting in the effort. Even after you’ve resigned you still need to do a good job. Sure, take a long lunch on your last day, but otherwise keep putting in the effort. Don’t undo months or years of hard work by checking out early.
Don’t have a party. It’s great to have a going away party for someone who’s meant a lot to the organization over a long period of time. But if you’ve only been at a company for a year or less don’t expect or encourage a going away bash. On your last day say your goodbyes, trade contact info with people you’re close to, and then get out.
If you’ve done it right, people will think fondly of you long after you’re gone. Which may be important when it comes time to change jobs again in a few years and you need a reference.