5 ways to resign with class—and keep your professional network

Even though you are leaving your employer, you are not “leaving” your connections and reputation. Do everything you can to leave on a strong note. It’s a small world and you never know who knows who, who you may need help from and who you will be working with in the future.

These five tips will help you maintain and enhance your relationship with your manager and co-workers after you give your resignation.

Go above and beyond

Think about new conversations and tasks you can initiate. Do you have any ideas, suggestions or insights that could help your boss and team? Are there any processes you should document before you leave? Is there a project you could kick-start, make an impact on, and then pass on to another team member?

Going out of your way to make your boss and teammates successful will surely leave them with a positive and memorable impression.

You should also proactively and enthusiastically ask your manager and co-workers if there is anything you can do to help them. A day or two before you leave follow-up with an email to ensure you don’t owe anyone anything. This will remind everyone of how committed, detailed and organized you are.

Ask for feedback

While you may think you have a good idea of how your manager and colleagues view your personality and work, you should ask them directly. This is a great time to ask for feedback because people are more apt to provide you with candid and constructive suggestions. Asking someone to give you feedback also shows you respect their opinions and your relationship with them and allows you the opportunity to strengthen your performance.

Schedule out “goodbye” sessions

It’s likely you have many friends, colleagues, and mentors in the office who deserve a proper goodbye. Take a moment to identify these people and be sure to schedule some private face-to-face time with them before you leave. Depending on your relationship, you could plan a lunch, evening cocktails or a 15-minute meeting at your desk.

Planning your farewells in such an intimate and well-thought-out fashion will make these significant people feel special and will help strengthen your bond.

Write thank you notes

Taking the time to give someone a handwritten card is an easy and effective way to express your gratitude. When writing your note be sure to add a personal touch by mentioning something specific you are grateful for. In addition to showing your appreciation, thank you cards get the person thinking about you and all of your great attributes (like your thoughtfulness).

Keep in touch

Within a month or two of leaving your last employer, you should make an effort to reconnect with former colleagues that are important to you. Staying connected with past co-workers requires organization, hard work, and discipline. Fortunately, email, social media, and texting makes communicating easier (although these channels should never fully replace the occasional call or meetup).

The benefits of keeping in touch are endless. A strong network ensures you are kept up on industry trends and new opportunities, as well as always having a group of people available to provide you advice, support, and professional recommendations when you need them most.

It’s easy to become disengaged after you give your notice and it’s even easier to fall out of touch with former teammates. Be mindful of this and remember your relationships and reputation are your greatest assets. Staying committed and connected is the best way of ensuring doors continue to open for you in the future.

Good luck and safe travels on your new journey.

Danielle Clark is a human resources manager with more than 10 years of HR and customer service experience in healthcare and retail organizations. Her work with Fortune 500 companies, in addition to a diverse professional and academic background, has trained Clark to be results-driven, people-focused and a thought-provoking leader. Her goal is to educate and inspire professionals to change their way of thinking. She is also an adjunct professor, active community volunteer, wife, mother and passionate lifelong learner.

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