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How To Resign From a Contract Position With Grace

Bird's eye view of man and woman shaking hands over a desk

If you won the lottery, would you quit your job?

Do you have an elaborate fantasy of this scenario that involves monster trucks, marching bands or billboards? If so, you’re probably on the wrong track.

In the real world, the way you resign from a position can have consequences that impact the rest of your career. We spoke to Aerotek experts to learn the best approach to this situation. A word of caution, though: none of their recommendations include monster trucks.

Communicate with your recruiting partner

There are a lot of reasons why you might want to move on, most of which are perfectly understandable. One thing they all have in common? Your recruiter wants to hear about them right away.

Aerotek Senior Professional Recruiter Bethany Jordan says, “Let your recruiter know as soon as you feel a need to move on, even before you interview with other companies. We may be able to change something in your current role to make you happy, or find another position for you.”

But how should you have this conversation?

“Definitely through a phone call, rather than just a text or email,” says Aerotek Senior Professional Account Recruiting Manager Jane Champion. “That way it’s more of a dialogue, where your recruiter can ask follow-up questions and find out why you’re resigning. Maybe it’s something we can fix. If so, I’d prefer to try to make it right.”

Letting your recruiter know that you’re looking for another position can have immediate benefits. According to Champion, “I’ve had a few contract employees who discussed their reasons for leaving openly, and as a result their manager bought out their contract or moved them to a different role that paid more.”

Give proper notice

Giving your recruiter and/or employer a two week’s notice before leaving sends a message of accountability and respect, and leaves the relationship on a good note.

“I once worked with a gentleman who resigned from a position because he got another job. He put in two week’s notice, and worked hard up until his last day,” says Aerotek Senior Professional Account Recruiting Manager Rachel Klick.

This worked out in the man’s favor. Klick adds, “Two years later, after the job he went to didn’t work out, he called me to ask for help. Because he’d honored his commitment to a proper notice, I was glad to endorse him as a reliable employee. We found him a great opportunity that paid more that he’d been making, with a company that aligns with his goals, skills and interests.”

Putting in a proper notice to your employer — and working diligently through it — can make a big difference further down the road. It’s also just the right thing to do.

Keep the stakes in mind

If you’re considering resigning, but can’t get the image of monster trucks and marching bands out of your mind, remember the potential consequences.

“One employee walked off the job without telling anybody,” says Rachel Klick. “I never heard back from him about why. Six months later, the job he left for also didn’t work out. He called and asked me to help him find another job. But due to his previous lack of communication, it was more difficult this time around.”

There can also be more immediate consequences. Aerotek Recruiter Lead Travis Young says, “If you just walk off of a job, it’s not just a professional relationship you’re jeopardizing. Unemployment benefits are also likely to be denied.”

Leave the job better than you found it

You and your employer are not the only people involved in the position you’re leaving. Your recruiter, and everybody they might eventually find to replace you on the job, will also benefit from a graceful resignation. The more information you share, the more the situation will improve.

 “I want to know why you want to leave, not to sell you on staying, but to give accurate feedback to the employer,” says Travis Young. “I also want to make sure that your issues are added to the screening process, so the next employee understands what the environment is like or what expectations are.”

Think of open communication as a professional courtesy. Jane Champion says, “If you haven’t been doing what we initially told you the job entails, that’s a problem we’d need to address with the employer. Or if it’s something I didn’t explain or could have done a better job with, I’d need to correct that on my end moving forward. Otherwise, the same situation could just happen again for the next person.”

If you need any extra guidance about how to approach your resignation, ask around! Experts, such as the ones you’ll find at Aerotek offices across the country, are available to help.

If you’re looking for a job, visit our job board to find your next great opportunity. Create a free career account today to customize your search. And consider reaching out to an expert career advisor: Aerotek recruiters are available to provide advice you can use.