GNcareers, from Gulf News

How to make sure you have a graceful exit when changing career

How to make sure you have a graceful exitImage Credit: Supplied

When changing career, it is common that employees have to serve a notice period of at least four weeks after they resign. Although this period may not be the best time of your employment, there are many ways to turn it into a positive experience, which can help you maintain a future professional relationship with your former employer.

This period is, particularly, a critical time for you and your co-workers in terms of making a lasting good impression. Here's your career advice.

Regardless of your reasons for resignation and your relationship with co-workers and supervisors, it is often in your hand to turn this period into a good time to rebuild and restore connections. To do so, however, you have many areas that will need consideration during those weeks.

To make the best impression on your way out, follow these points:

Wrap up

You may be leaving, but that doesn't mean work will stop or even slow down. With many eyes on your performance, you must show everyone that you'll keep the company's interest at heart until the last minute.

That can be achieved by being punctual, showing enthusiasm and participating actively — as long as you're allowed — in future projects. Meanwhile, wrap up any loose ends before your depart.

You probably will be needed to conduct a transition with the person who takes over from you. Make sure that this transition is done appropriately, and that you always stay positive about the workplace and the job.

Restore connections

It is not uncommon that the weeks go by without a chance for people in the same office to connect. Make sure that you stop by people's offices or workspaces and have quick chats. You also can do this over email to avoid excessive socialisation.

Doing so, especially with the ones that you've always maintained positive relationships with, can help you establish that you've left on good terms. It is important not to leave this part to your last day, which can easily turn hectic and you leave without a chance to communicate with others.

Get paperwork

Do you consider your work experience with the company positive? Document it. Ask for endorsement letters and a work certificate.

Today, many people try to keep in touch with previous supervisors and co-workers over professional networking websites such as LinkedIn. Even if you've haven't used these before, try to get an account. At least, get a couple of letters in your hand before you take off.

Many people who've already secured another job may overlook this step. But it is important to remember that getting these letters now will be a lot easier than trying to get them later when connections are lost and the face-to-face pressure has faded.


Now that you're officially on the way out to changing career, try to reconcile any pending issues and make sure that you're not leaving hard feelings behind. That may be difficult if you feel that some relationships are well beyond repair.

However, keep in mind that reconciling doesn't mean that you will regret, apologise or reverse any of your stands. It is only a matter of acknowledging that you're now out of the conflict situation, you may be in position to just keep a civilised relationship with everyone — if these people are interested, of course.

If you had a complicated work experience, you may still be left with a person or two who are happy to see you go, and wouldn't even say goodbye. Although that is not uncommon in many workplaces, try to keep it to the minimum.

Exit interview

Many companies ask outgoing employees to conduct an exit interview, which probably discusses your experience and helps the company improve. If you're invited to such an interview, think twice about what you and its implications on others who are still in your team.

Taking this interview opportunity to vent about every single problem, co-worker and supervisor doesn't only jeopardize others, but it also discredits you. Instead, try to look at the bigger picture, mention the pros and the cons without getting personal, and focus on particular areas where there is a room for improvement.

Career advice, get it right at the end

- Make a positive last impression.

- Don't burn bridges.

- Be professional and help with the transition.

- Don't badmouth others in an exit interview.

- R.O.

Source: Rania Oteify, Special to

The writer, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editor