When you are seeking an opportunity to make a strategic career move, it is important to not burn bridges on either end. With your prospective employer, how you portray your reasoning for making the switch, whether that is your opinions of your former employer or motives in general, they will leave an impression on the interviewer. How you handle parting from your current employer will determine how strong the bridges will be after you’ve left the office. As you never know when you could cross paths for any party in your professional future, it is beneficial to leave and arrive in the best light possible.
Whether you are interested or not interested in divulging your answer, interviewers will often ask why you are looking to move into a new role and leave your current company. What may seem like a simple question tests your professionalism and courtesy. No matter how negative of an experience you had or how realistic you would like to portray why you are leaving, it is in your best interest to be courteous and kind with your answer.
While you may feel incredibly relieved to speak fully how you need to move on to greener pastures, it could leave a sour taste in the potential employer’s mouth. If you are so willing to poorly speak about your current employer, how would you speak about your next employer in the case you left that organization? Perception is key and a positive impression will go a long way.
When the time comes that you are leaving your position for a new opportunity, it is in your best interest to do so with burning as few bridges as possible. You will set the tone for your departure. Always begin by speaking with your manager. It is up to them to decide how to move forward with the remainder of your time at the company. As a courtesy, you should offer to work at least another two weeks in your current role. This will allow your team to plan for your departure by training other team members on your tasks, starting to search for a replacement and prepare for who will take on additional responsibilities an in the meantime. Your employer may choose for you to take more or less time dependent on company policy, but it is customary to offer the two week window.
It is also important to be consistent with your story. People will talk about your departure; it is inevitable. The last thing you should wish to have happen is be the talk of the break room. Be consistent with your story of departure. It will negatively impact you by choosing to share different versions of a story with varying detail. All details will be discovered in time, especially as soon as your update your professional profile. The more transparent you choose to be, the more likely you will likely be able to preserve and continue the professional network you already have with your current employer.
At the end of the day, be grateful. If it was a positive experience, you likely gained lots of positive memories and grew immensely as a professional. If there was room for improvement, now is not the time to spam your manager with every way their business could improve. While feedback is beneficial, it will not change an organization overnight. This is not the time to be emotional or vent, but instead thankful for the experience and opportunity. There is the opportunity to find positive in each role.
The move from one role to another can be both exciting and nerving. In order to create as seamless of a transition as possible, it is beneficial to leave a positive impression with both parties. Don’t speak negatively with prospective employers, speak courteously and consistently with current employer and don’t let emotions pull you. A positive attitude and perspective will go a long way and prevent unnecessary burned bridges. You never know when paths will cross next.