Discuss your resignation plan with a friend.
Ask a friend to do a sanity check on your resignation statement. A loyal and objective third party can help you de-spear your parting words and blow off a little steam before you head into the boss’s office.
Keep your plans under wraps with co-workers.
It’s hard, but keep quiet about your resignation plans until after you’ve made it official with your manager. Your reputation could be foiled by a gossipy co-worker who gets to your boss before you do. It’s unprofessional, and the implication is that you’ve been speaking negatively about the company to others in the office. Plus, no one likes to be the last to know — especially someone you’ll need as a future reference.
Plan your reply if you are made a counter-offer.
“No way,” is probably not the best response here, although it would feel great. Politely thank him or her for seeing you as such a valuable employee and say “no, thank you”. Counter offers are common these days, because talented employees are difficult and expensive to replace. The first question that should come to your mind when you get a counter offer is “why are they giving me this now?”
Request an exit interview.
If your company does not require this step, request to hold an exit interview a few days before your departure (if you are harboring any ill will, it should be almost gone by this point). This is your opportunity to (confidentially) cite improvements, inconsistencies and management issues. Create talking points for specific and targeted suggestions to help the next employee avoid such conflicts.
Prepare information for your manager/successor.
If there is a sure-fire way to make a good last impression with the boss, this is it. Managers and co-workers often have only a limited understanding of your project/client status. So that they don’t feel like you’ve left them holding the bag, create a status report for your manager prior to your departure. It may take a few extra hours, but your managers will be singing your praises long after you’re gone. Good luck!
Anticipate the inevitable three questions: why, where and when?
Why? Always take the high road! Despite how you may feel, this is not the time to turn to criticize the company and co-workers whom you are leaving behind. Keep your answer brief and professional. It’s important to leave behind an impeccable record, because it’s a small world and you never know whether you’ll work with — or for — some of the same people again.
Where? Translation: “What does that company have that we don’t?” Fill your manager in on the new opportunity, but don’t gloat over your good fortune. And never compare the two jobs. The goal is to protect your reputation and to leave people feeling good about your tenure.
When? It’s customary to give two weeks notice, however, if you are deeply entrenched in a project that needs you to see it through, discuss a later start date with your new employer. Both your current and future employer will see you as a true team player.