Moving Jobs When You’re a Manager or Director: 5 Tips to a Successful Exit

Across the Technology, Digital, Marketing and Change Management sectors, job changes amongst senior management are becoming commonplace. Whether by choice or not.

The pace of change in technology has created a candidate that seeks out the latest technologies, methodologies and customer trends. It’s also created a more agile client who will replace obsolete or underperforming skills in the race to stay competitive.

We’ve compiled our five key tips to remember when leaving your current post.

1. Have an exit strategy

Whether you like it or not, leaving your current job may not be your decision. The more advance warning you have, the better, but this won’t always be the case. Make sure you have a professional network you can turn to if you need help in finding your next role – and this should include headhunters. Keeping up professional relationships and remaining current with key developments in your sector is essential.

This is certainly one way to have the foresight of any impending challenges that your sector may be open to, and how this could affect your organisation. If you think there may be trouble ahead, it’s best to plan for it.

2. The headhunters

Make sure you keep a book of recruitment contacts that you can turn to. Keep these relationships in tact as what goes around comes around. You should have contacts in the larger, and bigger named recruitment businesses as they will always have access to volume.

Likewise, you should have contacts – ideally at partner or owner level – within boutique search firms. The boutiques will have less volume but more often will have exclusive and “under the radar” vacancies that the bigger agencies won’t always be able to access. Make an effort to meet recruiters and keep contact going periodically.

3. Saying goodbye

There is never a good time to resign, so trying to time a departure is always going to be difficult (but make sure it’s after bonuses have been paid!). I recommend handing a letter to your manager when you resign, as it shows your commitment to leaving and is formal. Resigning verbally with no letter or follow up email to accompany a verbal conversation is a definite mistake.

If you want to give your manager a hint that a resignation is imminent, then you can send a message saying you want to have “an important career discussion”. Unfortunately, in today’s market, redundancy is common place as businesses restructure constantly.

If you are made redundant or let-go unexpectedly then it’s important to try and stay composed. People will remember you in your final hours or days, and these relationships could be important going forward.

I know many people who have said that being made redundant was a blessing in disguise, and you must focus on the future. It is a small world and you will be reference checked – whether directly or indirectly – so it’s best to leave on the best terms possible. Take this into consideration if you are subject to an exit interview as well.

4. Managing a counter-offer

It can be difficult to know how your employer will react to your resignation. You should only ever resign if you are serious about leaving, as accepting a counter offer is never a wise decision, and using another offer as leverage to stay will also hurt you in the long-run.

Try and keep any resignation conversations short and professional. Don’t get bogged down in deep discussions about “why” or what needs to change to make you stay, as this will be unproductive if you are committed to leaving.

Instead, focus on a professional exit which means telling your boss first and agreeing to an immediate handover plan. When a resignation is planned, you should already have an essential handover document prepared to make your departure as smooth as possible.

5. Practical tips after leaving

It’s good to know how you will be referenced after you leave – what is the referencing policy of your previous employer? For trusted peers, you have worked with or senior management, check if they’re happy to provide you with a reference when the time comes. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and reflects what’s in your CV.

You may want to send a thank you note to key contacts you worked with and had a good relationship with, wishing them well and to keep in touch. Small gestures like this go a long way and smart people know that as quickly as you might be hiring and growing your teams, you could be on the way out if things change.

Ask for referrals or help if you need it, whether it be CV advice and feedback, interview preparation, or introductions to contacts that could help you get your next career opportunity.

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If you want to discuss your current situation or advice on how to manage your exit or next career move, then I would be happy to have a conversation.

My contact details are tristan@thechangepartners.com or 07710 463 499