Cover all your bases when you resign from a job

If you are planning to resign from your job, there are some practical matters you should be aware of. Here are some tips for quitting your job the right way.

As we all know, the employment outlook is dismal. In the face of unemployment, some folks wouldn't leave their jobs if they had molten lava pouring into their cubicles.

But others, however, are still on the move. As with everything career-related, you must exercise some care and finesse even when resigning from a job. Here are some tips for doing it right:

  1. If you've already been offered another job, be sure to get the company's offer in writing before you resign.
  2. Before you turn in your resignation, find out what your company policy is regarding severance, the return of company property, and unused vacation time. Some states (like California) will pay you for your unused vacation time upon termination.
  3. If you're quitting before you've found another job, learn the reference policy of the company you're leaving. In particular, find out what information will be disclosed to a prospective employer. Most firms will give only dates of employment.
  4. Be formal in how you tell your boss. Make an appointment with him or her, be direct, but not necessarily rude. Give at least two weeks notice and make an offer to help with the transition. After the discussion, put your resignation and all the information you've gleaned in the conversation in a hard-copy letter that includes the last day you will work.
  5. Of course, some companies, particularly those with security concerns, will just escort you out the door and not take the two weeks. In this case, you will want to clear your personal information off your computer. Clear you browser cache, remove passwords you use for non-work-related Web sites that you sometimes access from work (e.g., your online bank account).
  6. And above all, behave responsibly.