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How To Resign From a Contract Position With Grace

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 an Aerotek expert 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. 

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. 

While providing two week's notice is considered a courtesy, a recent survey by The Harris Poll showed 53 percent of people believe companies would never rehire someone without it.  

Putting in a proper notice to your employer — and working diligently through it — could make a big difference further down the road.

Keep the stakes in mind

If you’re considering resigning, remember the potential consequences.

Recent data suggests that some employees who left their job during the Great Resignation — the surge of voluntary quits which started during the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020 — later came to regret their decision to quit.

A survey of 2,500 workers from job search site The Muse showed 72 percent experienced 'shift shock,' either 'surprise or regret' that the new position or new company they quit their job for turned out to be 'very different' from what they were led to believe. Of those workers, 48 percent said they would try to get their old job back."

There can also be more immediate consequences. 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. 

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. And consider reaching out to an expert career advisor: Aerotek recruiters are available to provide advice you can use.