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Five steps you must take before quitting your job for a new role

Woman leaving entrance door carrying two suitcases, low section

Leaving one financial services job for another is never an easy thing to do, and each step of the process of quitting to one employer before joining another requires a bit of thought. Here are the steps you need to take before you give notice and say sayonara to your soon-to-be-former colleagues.

1. Do research and read the fine print

Before you give notice, Janet Raiffa, an investment banking career coach, the former head of campus recruiting at Goldman Sachs and a former associate director in the Career Management Center at Columbia Business School, suggests doing your due diligence to understand the firm’s policy for employee departures.

“If you have access to very confidential information or are in a sensitive position, a company might ask you to leave sooner than you’d like,” Raiffa said.

2. Check the calendar and consider scheduling issues

One of the biggest steps to take before giving notice is to consider the right timing. Think about your pending departure and the impact it’s going to have, according to Maggie Mistal, career consultant, executive coach and founder of MMM Career Consulting.

“For your current employer, is there a big meeting coming up that you are scheduled to run or is a client deliverable due that you were slated to finalize?” Mistal said. “For your new employer, is there a new project or team that has an urgent need for your skills and expertise?”

3. Negotiate with your current employer

Ask yourself: Do you need to give more notice or do you need to help transition your role? Are you accepting another offer because you genuinely want it and it’s the best time to leave the company, or are you simply feeling undervalued or underappreciated?

“If a change of title or compensation could keep you at your current company, I’d suggest trying to negotiate with your current employer based upon the new opportunity,” Raiffa said. “Sometimes companies just don’t show their appreciation for an employee until they fear losing them.”

4. Negotiate with your future employer

Always negotiate with the firm that’s made you an offer before you accept it, and be willing to reject it if they aren’t willing to meet you half-way.

“You also need to understand your time frame for accepting the offer and try to do any negotiation and get any questions answered before you’ve accepted,” Raiffa said. “I know of people who have tried to negotiate salary or other benefits after they have accepted, and it’s rarely successful.”

Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio, career coach and partner at SixFigureStart, urges professionals to clarify the status or negotiate explicit agreements for the following:

  • Stock options: What is your current state and what is the vesting period? Your new company should “make you whole” so you should have that discussion as soon as possible.
  • Benefits: When will your new benefits kick in? And are they as robust as your current benefits? For example, will 401(k) benefits be similar? Will you have to wait three months or a year until you can participate in that?
  • Bonus: When is your bonus payout going to be? Will the new company buy out your bonus so you don’t lose out on not getting a bonus after working hard for an entire year?
  • Get contact information: Nothing is more important than networking for your long-term career prospects, so make sure you have the contact info of the people you’ve worked with and keep in touch with the group after your departure.

5. Take a break

Before giving notice, make sure you take time to think through the timing between ending your current job and starting a new one.

Once give your current employer two weeks’ notice and get to the point of fixing a start date with your new employer, factor in time off for yourself in between jobs. Don’t sacrifice that for either your current employer or your new one, Mistal said.

“Taking time off between jobs allows you to slow down, rest, revitalize,” she said. “I’ve had clients who’ve not heeded this advice and only took a weekend off in between jobs.

“They started the new job with less energy and more resentment than if they had given themselves a break.”

Also, time between jobs is one of the few times as an adult that you can truly relax without any work obligations – there’s no email to check, no one calling you, no project deadlines hanging over you, nothing that needs doing. Enjoy it.

Photo credit: GettyImages

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