10 Essential Things to Do Before You Quit Your Job

Here are a few things to keep in mind before you hand in your resignation letter.
Updated May 1, 2024
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Man quitting job

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Are you thinking of putting in your two weeks? Whether you're looking for a new job to move beyond living paycheck to paycheck or you simply are craving a change, you don't want to quit without having a plan.

Before you hand in your resignation, here are some things you may want to do to ensure a smooth transition away from your current job.

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Check on your final paycheck and PTO

Pormezz/Adobe Man getting paycheck

Employers may handle your last paycheck in a variety of ways. Some may pay you on your last day of employment, and others may stick to your typical payment schedule.

Before you leave, check with your human resources department to get a clear idea of when your final payment should arrive. You should also check on your company’s policy for any accrued vacation and sick days. Ask if they will be paying you for those days, how they will be paying, and what you can expect in payment.

Knowing all of this will also help you lower your financial stress during your transition.

Ask for references

bnenin/Adobe coworkers talking

If you don’t have a new job lined up, now is a good chance to talk to your supervisors, co-workers, or others you may have been in contact with about being a reference.

It may be good to ask them for their contact information such as personal phone number or email address so you can have it handy for future employers.

Tip: Check on your employer’s policy as some companies may have specific limitations on recommendations from current employees.

Review and update LinkedIn

pressmaster/Adobe Woman working on computer

LinkedIn can be a great resource. The first thing you may want to do is update your profile, including your current job description, accomplishments, and awards or certifications.

You also may want to check in with your network to find out if they know of any job openings, have any advice on your job search, or could leave a recommendation on your profile for potential employers to see.

LinkedIn is also a good place to search job listings for opportunities and find out if someone in your network may have a connection to a particular employer.

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Update your resume

goodluz/Adobe man working on computer

If you’re updating your LinkedIn profile, it’s also a good time to update your resume as well. Freshen up your job descriptions and responsibilities, adding specific accomplishments.

Make sure your contact information is up to date. You may also want to look at reformatting your resume to make it look clean and crisp to potential employers.

Figure out health insurance

nenetus/Adobe Doctor visit

Many employers in the United States have health insurance as part of their employment package. But when you’re no longer employed, that could cause disruption with your insurance.

Research options on what you can do to cover any insurance gaps, such as enrolling in COBRA through your employer.

Collect work samples

Syda Productions/Adobe Man working in office

This may be a good time to save your work externally for personal use so you have examples of what you’ve done during your employment.

Perhaps you designed brochures or worked on presentations that could be tangible samples of your work experience. You also may want to save emails that have praised your work.

Check on unemployment benefits

goodluz/Adobe man working on computer

Sometimes leaving your job isn’t voluntary, such as if you get let go. In these cases, check with your human resources department to make sure you have any paperwork you need to file for unemployment. This could include proof of employment or proof that you were let go.

Look over your retirement accounts

WONG SZE FEI/Adobe Retirement savings

Many employers offer retirement accounts such as 401(k) plans to their employees. These plans are usually administered by a third-party financial company, so give them a call to find out more information about your plan.

You may be able to roll over your 401(k) to an IRA or your new employer’s retirement funds. You could also withdraw the money, but be aware you may have to pay taxes if you do.

Be respectful

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe Coworkers talking

Try your best to leave your company on good terms, or at least not burn any bridges on your way out the door. You may want references from coworkers and supervisors, or work in a field where everyone knows everyone else.

Your reputation as a current employee can be affected by what you’ve done as a past employee, so try to leave your company with your good reputation intact.

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Build up savings

Nana_studio/Adobe Saving in piggy bank

Leaving a job could be a major hit to your budget, and it may be difficult to find how to make extra money immediately after a job separation.

If you’re planning to leave a job in the future, consider saving some money now. You may need funds to move to another city or state. You also could have cash on hand if there’s a gap between your paychecks.

Bottom line

BullRun/Adobe training a coworker

Starting a new job can be incredibly rewarding, particularly if this move comes with a pay increase where you'll have more opportunities to get ahead financially

Be sure to consider any loose ends that need to be tied up before you leave your current employer, though.

Something as simple as a thank you note can make all the difference in maintaining your reputation as a fair and honest employee. After all, you never know where your next adventure will take you.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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