Your Job Transition Checklist: What to Do Before You Leave
Are you preparing to leave your current job? Transitioning out of a job can be a busy time, which makes it easy for important to-dos to slip through the cracks. Avoid that by using this job transition checklist to keep you on track.
Before You Go
There are a few things you need to do before you announce your departure at your current job. These actions will help make your transition a little smoother:
- Update your résumé and, if possible, accept an offer for another position before you quit your old job.
- Pad your emergency fund or cash reserves so that you have something to fall back on if you don't find a new job as soon as you expected.
- Give your two weeks' notice and submit your resignation to your manager. However, hold off on telling coworkers until you finalize the details with your employer.
Make It Official
Even if you're tempted to walk out of the door without a backward glance, making a graceful exit is a better decision. You never know when you'll need a reference from your former employer, so it's best not to burn bridges. Before you leave, help your old employer by documenting your transition. The first items to mark off in your job transition checklist should include:
- Talking to your supervisor about when your official last day of work will be, and agreeing on when you'll return company equipment, access keys, and other property that you used as an employee.
- Asking if any unused paid time off will be included in your last paycheck and confirming when you'll receive that check.
- Asking your HR department about your employee benefits; when will you lose access to them? Do you have an option to continue paying for an existing benefit out-of-pocket even after you leave your job?
Plan for Gaps in Pay or Benefits
Once you know the date of your last payday and when you'll lose access to benefits like insurance, your next step is to ask your new employer (if you already have another job lined up) when you can begin using any employee benefits they may offer. Continue down your job transition checklist by marking off these items:
- See if there's a gap in coverage on any important policies, like health insurance. If there's a period of time between jobs when you won't have coverage, consider using COBRA to cover the gap.
- Check if you qualify for unemployment. In most cases, workers who voluntarily leave their jobs aren't eligible — but there are exceptions.
Bring Your Money with You
The job you plan to leave may currently provide you with compensation beyond your paycheck. Think about your retirement plan or an employee stock purchase program. Your job transition checklist should account for taking these valuable benefits with you if you can. Here's what to think about:
- Do you have a retirement plan? This might be a 401(k) or SIMPLE IRA. You need to decide if you'll roll these accounts over into your own IRA or roll them into your next job's retirement plan.
- Do you have company stock? If you have equity compensation, the type of stock you have may determine what you can do with it. If you have stock options that have not been vested, unfortunately, you won't be able to take them with you when you go. But if you have vested options and you can exercise them, you may want to consider doing so before you leave.
Leaving a job is a big event. You'll be busy (and probably a little stressed, too). But by creating a checklist of to-dos to work through, you'll stay organized and be prepared to handle all of the tasks that come with a job transition.