3 Things to Do Before You Leave Your Job (Or Even If You Stay)
Are you thinking about leaving your job? Or maybe you sense layoffs coming your way? Either way, it’s a good idea to be prepared for your next move.
But how, exactly, do you prepare to leave your job? Here are three tasks you should accomplish before leaving your job so you can position yourself for success in the future. If you’ve already left your job without taking these steps, don’t worry, we’ll help you recover, too.
1. Make a List of Quantified Accomplishments
Your resume should focus on accomplishments, not responsibilities. But it’s easy to forget what you’ve accomplished once you leave one job for another, and even easier to forget the details, like how many hits your campaign drove to your organization’s website or how much money you saved your company.
So while you’re still working, take the time to write down a complete list of all the things you’ve done (even the not-so-impressive things) and quantify every last one as best you can. It’s much easier to access (and ask for) this data while you’re still employed.
To go above and beyond (because you’re aiming for rock-star status, right?), schedule half an hour each month to record and review your accomplishments. This can be a great time to celebrate your wins, consider your challenges and keep yourself in tip-top, super-ready-to-hire shape.
But what if I’ve already left and I don’t have the list?
Don’t panic. Make the list of accomplishments and quantify them as best you can. If you need to, reach out to your references and team members from each experience and see if they can refresh your memory.
Keep in mind that when you’re in doubt, round down. You don’t want a potential employer to find out that you exaggerated or even lied – especially if it was unintentional!
2. Pack Up Your Portfolio
We often think portfolios are only for creative types. Not true! In fact, I know of a boss who helped his financial analysts amend their models in a way that demonstrated their Excel prowess (without compromising any information about the company, of course). This kind of tangible item is a great value-add for interviews and follow up, with the added bonus that they show rather than tell your skills.
What have you (or your team) done that shows off your skills? Try to keep your portfolio as diverse as your experience, as you never know where the road could lead in a couple of years.
But what if you have already left and don’t have access to the files?
Never fear, this is where your network saves the day. Email old co-workers to ask for assets you’d like to use. Being as specific as possible while still flexible will make this an easy task. If you’re in doubt about whether you can share certain assets, don’t forget to check with your boss.
3. Meet with Potential References
This will help you get in the habit of maintaining relationships and keeping them positive. Having a great lunch or after-work drink with your favorite references can go a long way. You don’t have to talk about work or plans; instead, your goal should be to transition the relationship from work to beyond work (occasionally called life).
Bonus tip: If they’re as busy as the rest of us, offer to chat over breakfast, and you can bring the bagels and coffee.
And one final piece of advice: when you do give your notice, ask your boss for a few hours or even a day of discretion, so that you can have one-on-one conversations about your departure with the key stakeholders in your career, including anyone you might consider for a reference. They’ll appreciate hearing about your next move from you rather than the office gossip.
And if you’ve already left…
It’s never too late on this one. Seriously, stop reading and give them a call right now.
What was the most important thing you did before leaving your last job?
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