March 7, 2012 – As the number of job openings and workers quitting increases, people may be susceptible to committing one or more of the 10 Biggest Mistakes When Leaving Your Job, according to OI Partners, a global coaching and leadership development and consulting firm.

The number of people leaving their jobs is growing as job openings increase:

  • Quits Up 20%: The number of people voluntarily leaving their jobs is 20 percent higher than two years ago, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (1.92 million workers quit their jobs in December 2011 compared with 1.6 million in December 2009.)
  • Job Openings Up 42%: The number of available jobs is 42 percent higher than two years ago (December 2009), according to the BLS. (There were 3.38 million job openings in December 2011 compared with 2.38 million in December 2009.)

“People spend much more time trying to find a new job than they do planning a proper exit,” said Steve Ford, chair of OI Partners. “However, with pent-up anxiety building over the past few years due to the poor job market, people need to be cautious about leaving abruptly, badly, or not doing as much as they can to ensure a smooth transition.”

“You can never be sure how secure any job is. It’s important that you leave positive professional impressions with every employer so you can receive a good reference and keep the door open to returning if ever appropriate,” added Ford.

Here are the 10 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Leaving A Job:

  1. Slighting your boss. Make sure your immediate supervisor is the first one you notify about leaving. “Do not tell co-workers before informing your boss. Do this in person – not by email or phone – and in private. Do not be overly happy or joyous about leaving, but express some regret and communicate how much you enjoyed working there,” said Ford.
  2. Burning bridges. Do not leave on a sour note and be bitter or angry about actual or perceived slights such as being passed over for promotion or inadequately compensated. “This may come back to haunt you. It’s also not a time to tell supervisors and co-workers ‘what you think of them,’” noted Ford.
  3. Not giving sufficient notice. Two weeks’ notice is customary for staff positions. Managers and executives may need to give more notice to ensure a smooth handoff.  An alternative is to ask how much notice they would prefer and see if this can be worked out with your new employer.
  4. Not offering to train or recruit your replacement. If your replacement has been selected before you leave, offer to train him or her. If no successor has been chosen, volunteer to use your knowledge of the job to help choose a replacement.
  5. Failure to thank employer. Thank your employer for the great career opportunity. “After departing, write a thank you note stating how much you enjoyed working for the company and your manager, what you learned and how much you value the experience,” said Ford.
  6. Not participating in an exit interview. “Participate in an exit interview especially if you want a good reference in the future. Treat the exit interview as seriously as a hiring interview and focus on the benefits the new position presents for you and your career – and not the shortcomings of the job you are leaving or anyone working there,” stated Ford.
  7. Not making a clean break. Leave professionally and do not take proprietary information with you.”It is your reputation that will still stay with your ex employer. Assure them you will not be soliciting other employees to leave,” added Ford.
  8. Leaving unfinished work. Be sure you complete all of the work that can reasonably be expected within your time remaining. Do not slack off or start arriving late and leaving early.
  9. Unwilling to answer questions. Volunteer to answer questions related to the job you are leaving for a short period after departing.
  10. Not staying in touch with your boss and co-workers after you leave. “Keep in contact with them to maintain your career network and bolster getting a good reference. Offer to serve as a reference and networking source for them,” Ford said.
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