10 Tips for Transitioning Gracefully

Once you’ve accepted a new position and resigned from your job, you have an opportunity to execute your transition in a way that enhances your professional reputation. Handling it well is important to your long-term career success and requires advance thought and planning. It’s something you won’t want to leave to chance.

I thought that the 10 tips below, from an article posted on “The Ladders” , provided some very good advice on this topic and was worth sharing. It’s by William Arruda, a Personal Branding Guru and president of Reach Personal Branding, author of Career Distinction and creator of personalbranding.tv. Learn more about him at www.williamarruda.com.  The full article can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/2dzggz8

Ten things to do before leaving:

  1. Wrap things up. Finish any unfinished business and provide documentation on where things stand. Organize materials and files so they can be used by your successor. Clean your office or work area, removing any personal items like that old Rolling Stones poster you hung fifteen years ago.
  2. Brief your manager, colleague or successor (if that has been decided). Offer to make yourself available even after you have left the office for the last time.
  3. Finish any unfinished personal business. If you have some business relationships that need mending, now’s the time. Remember Harry down the hall who always seemed to take the opposite viewpoint from yours? Make amends.
  4. Reach out to those who have helped you in your current role. Sometimes we’re too busy to thank people who have mentored, challenged or supported us. Thanking them before you leave is the perfect way to acknowledge them and let them know how they made a difference in your career.
  5. Thank your team. You couldn’t have done it without them. Think of a special way to express your appreciation. I was sitting on a plane next to a woman who was on her way to start her new job in Boston and relocating from Los Angeles. She told me that she invited her whole team and their significant others to her house for a pool party before leaving. She had photos taken of them and was planning to send the photos to them once she had settled into her new role.
  6. Prepare your ‘so-long’ e-mail. You will want to publicly acknowledge those who have been helpful to you in your career. Include your new contact details to make it easy for your colleagues to stay in touch. A client of mine who is extremely articulate and has a very commanding speaking style created an audio version of his ‘so-long e-mail.’ It was on-brand for him and enabled him to deliver something that was memorable and exactly what people in the company expected from him.
  7. Reinforce bridges. You hear it all the time: Don’t burn bridges. My advice goes beyond that. A friend of mine was in the process of leaving his job. He was an account manager with unbearably demanding clients who really made him suffer throughout the years in his job. He bought those clients small tokens of his appreciation for having helped him grow professionally. Although they contributed to the number of grey hairs on his head and to more than a couple of sleepless nights, he acknowledged that he is a more polished and accomplished account exec because of the constant challenge.
  8. Reconnect with contacts who have  left the company since you started. Leaving gives you an opportunity to reconnect. This is a great way to increase the value of your social capital.
  9. Provide constructive feedback. Either during your exit interview or with your manager, share your thoughts on how things could improve. Don’t use this as a time to complain or vent. Provide valuable, actionable input on how things could be better.
  10. Stay in touch. Once you’ve landed in your new seat in your new office, recontact those in your close personal network, letting them know that you’re thinking of them. A client of mine had a postcard custom-designed, featuring himself in the middle of Times Square, which he sent to all his former colleagues and contacts. On the back it said “This city doesn’t sleep and neither have I thinking about the incredible times we had. Thanks and stay in touch!”

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