I got the new job I wanted, but how do I give notice?

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Candidates look for new jobs for an assortment of reasons and sometimes the reason may be that they really dislike their current firm, sometimes it has nothing to do with that and they truly love their current employer. In either case, even the people who claim to be miserable at their current firm seem to get nervous when the time comes to give notice! Here are some general guidelines, though your recruiter can help you walk through your specific case since these details can change from firm to firm:

  1. Do not give notice until your conflicts have cleared at your new job. That means waiting until after you’ve accepted the offer, sometimes several weeks, so don’t get ahead of yourself. If there is a snag with conflicts, which is rare but does happen, you will not want to have put your current job in jeopardy!
  2. After conflicts clear, it is time to give notice. You should always offer two weeks of notice to transition your work and not burn any bridges. Some firms won’t have you stay that long, but that is what you should plan on. Your new employer will be expecting that, so don’t feel pressured to offer less.
  3. The first person you speak with at your current job should be the head of your department. You should bring a brief letter of resignation to their office and thank them for the experience you’ve gotten while nicely saying that you will be leaving.
  4. After informing the head of your department, word will likely spread fast. It is best for you to tell as many people as possible on your own, so I’d recommend stopping by the offices of partners you do a significant amount of work for first and then speak to other attorneys in your department. Remember, your new job may call these people as references just as a final precaution, so be sure to leave on the best terms possible.
  5. When you have told most of the people you work closely with, you should make a call to your HR contact and let him/her know as well. You can email your letter of resignation to that person after your phone call for their records.

For specific ideas on what you can say and what your letter should look like, ask your recruiter for sample letters and wording. They can do a run through with you on your resignation speech as well. But first and foremost, make sure you have the process down! I hate to hear that a candidate put their own job in jeopardy or burned bridges at a firm because they didn’t know proper protocol.

Now that you know how to leave a job, it’s time to find a new one!

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