At some point in your career, you will likely have to quit your job. This is highlighted by the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, which show that 3.5 million people in the US quit their jobs in August.

If you’ve been offered a new job and once you’ve evaluated factors like salary difference, perks and company reputation, you then have to work out the best way of quitting your job. After all, you don’t want to burn any bridges. There are several actions you can take to ensure you’re handling it in the best way possible.

tell your manager first

The first step is making your intention to quit known. Telling your boss is likely going to be the most intimidating part of the process, but you should ensure you’re telling them first. Even though your co-workers may have known about your job search, the fact that you have a new role to go to should be shared with your manager before you share the news with them.

Whatever you choose to tell them, it’s important to express your gratitude. Telling them that you learned a lot and that this opportunity will set you up to succeed will help you to maintain a positive relationship with your current employer even after you’ve departed.

maintain your network

You may not initially consider it important to keep up a relationship with your current employer after you’ve moved on, but maintaining your network of connections is vital in today’s labor market. This ensures that you’ll have access to as many work resources as possible throughout your career.

After all, you never know when you’re going to need to call on someone with the specific skills your current manager possesses. In an increasingly connected world, where outsourcing and contracting lead to more organizational collaboration, it could be a real advantage to be able to reach out to a member of staff at your current employer. 

give plenty of notice

One significant way in which you can ensure you leave your job on a positive note is by giving your employer more notice than they may expect. Your employment contract will dictate the length of time you need to give your company before leaving, but if you know the date you’ll be starting a new job - or setting off on another adventure altogether - you may be able to offer more of your time.

Melody Godfred, career choice and founder of a leading resume firm, suggests that in “giving your employer notice, you maintain the goodwill you’ve cultivated while working there and can facilitate a smooth transition”.

refer someone to fill your shoes

When you’re in your meeting with your boss, it’s a good idea to focus on the next steps and make it known that you’ll be ready to assist them with the continued smooth running of the company. If you can suggest someone to replace you, it could save your boss the job of having to create a shortlist of names.

As you know your role best, your insight into who you think could take on your duties will be valuable for your manager. Volunteering to attend interviews to ask the relevant questions and ensuring your employer is considering the right people would also be an effective way of moving the process forward.

This also has the advantage of getting the new hire on board faster, since applicants hired from a referral begin the new job quicker than applicants found via job boards and career sites (after 29 days compared with 39 days via job boards and 55 via career sites).

offer to train your replacement

In addition to helping find your replacement, you should also offer your services in training the person who does eventually take your job. As you carry out the role every day, you’re best placed to teach your replacement about the specificities and technicalities involved.

However, if you can’t be present to train them in person, offer to compile a training manual with all the essential information they’ll need to know about your daily tasks and how your role fits into the organization as a whole.

It will also save your current employer a significant amount of money on training. According to the 2014 Training Industry Report from Training magazine, the annual amount spent on training by small businesses in the US totaled an average of $308,000 in 2014. Approximately $1,200 was spent per employee. If you can save your employer at least some of this, you’d be giving yourself a far better chance of leaving on a positive note. 

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