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In the professional world, much focus is put on finding, interviewing for and negotiating salaries on new jobs. What isn’t discussed as much, however, is how employees should handle career changes with regards to the positions they already hold. How a worker leaves their current job is just as important as locating the next one. Here are some of the top tips for exiting a job gracefully:

Write a Formal Resignation Letter

Even though it may seem like a great deal of effort, employees who are quitting their jobs should sit down and write a personalized resignation letter. This letter should include a tactful explanation of the reasons for leaving. If done correctly, a letter of resignation can set the stage for a smooth and professional transition out of a position. An employee should give this letter to his or her boss in person as a gesture of respect and as a professional courtesy.

Give Ample Notice

Quitting a job on short notice can stir bad feelings and may jeopardize the good references you worked to cultivate. Those trying to quit gracefully should be sure to give plenty of notice to their old employers. Two weeks is considered standard, but employees who are in high-level positions should give more in order to promote a smooth transition. Those who are able to should give a month’s notice, as long as doing so won’t affect their ability to start their new jobs.

Keep Working and Tie Up Loose Ends

Some employees start slacking after they give their notice, but doing so could result in negative references from colleagues and even an early dismissal. It’s always best to keep working on projects, attending meetings and providing value to clients and customers. The period after an employee gives notice is also the time to tie up loose ends and ensure that everything is ready for the next person to come in.

Avoid the Urge to Air Grievances

It can be tempting for people who are leaving jobs they dislike to express their distaste on their way out. However, doing so is a serious mistake. Even under the worst circumstances, it’s important to maintain a positive persona and continue to work with the employees who will be remaining. Airing grievances does no one any good and burns bridges that workers may need later on.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that everyone at your current place of employment is a potential reference for a point in time later in your career. By following these tips, employees who are leaving their old jobs to pursue new opportunities elsewhere can ensure that they exit gracefully.