8 Steps You Should Take Before Quitting Your Job

The last year and a half changed the way we live, work, and even quit our jobs. Forbes, NPR, Linked In, and many media outlets call the new trend of massive resignations in the labor market for 2021 #TheGreatResignation.

In April 2021, 4 million Americans quit their jobs, setting a 20-year record. Back in September of 2020, 865,000 women left the US workforce, 4x more than men.

Before you follow this trend, check out the eight steps you should take before quitting your job.



Why is everyone quitting their jobs?


There are many reasons why millions of people around the globe are quitting their jobs. As a leadership coach, I work with professionals from the education, human service, and tech field and found that folks, especially women, are fed-up with their employers' responses around shutdowns, remote work expectations, and hiring freezes. In a time where everyone has high stress levels and a feeling of uncertainty, watching your work friends get laid off and the lack of response from leadership around racial justice issues "emptied your emotional buckets."


Social distancing and lockdowns required you to take time to think about the inequities and microaggressions you experience at work every day.

The pandemic also gave us something most of us never had, which is time. Before the pandemic, it was "easier" to stay at a toxic job because you would plan your burnouts around your vacation and sick time, always living for the next holiday break. But social distancing and lockdowns required you to take time to think about the inequities and microaggressions you experience at work every day. Even as venues opened this summer and lockdowns ended, what you experienced last year opened your eyes, and you have decided it's time to move to the next phase in your career.


The power dynamics that have allowed employers to take advantage of candidates during the interview and offer process are shifting to benefit job seekers (about time!).

Another thing you have in your favor? Options. 2021 is a seller's market, and it's also a job-seekers market. In June 2021, employers reported that there are 8.1 million positions open. Companies are getting creative with benefits to attract candidates like tuition assistance, sign-on bonuses, and FINALLY sharing salary information on job descriptions. You have the leverage to negotiate your salary and benefits on your terms. The power dynamics that have allowed employers to take advantage of candidates during the interview and offer process are shifting to benefit job seekers (about time!).

As you are updating your resume and LinkedIn, there are several things you should consider and do before you submit your resignation letter or order your "I Quit!" cake.


Image of a cake with chocolate frosting with the words "Sorry for your loss its me I quit".
Image of a cake with chocolate frosting with the words "Sorry for your loss it's me I quit".

What should I do before I quit my job?

1. Update Your Resume - it might seem obvious, but it's not just updating your resume with your previous work experience. The modern job search requires you to create an attractive resume for hiring managers and Applicant Tracking Systems. Create your resume on Word or Google Docs, start every sentence or bullet point with an action verb (example: Co-led, Analized, Organized, Researched, etc.), and keep it to 1-2 pages. Focus on your impact rather than a description of your role, and always include your town/state/zip code, phone number, email, and LinkedIn URL.



2. Update Your LinkedIn Profile - yes, even if you haven't logged into your account in years. Over 75 % of people who recently changed jobs used LinkedIn to inform their career decision, and 4 out of 5 LinkedIn members drive business decisions in their companies. I've also learned that your LinkedIn profile usually appears on the first page of a Google search for your name, most times before other social media or even your website, so a presence on the platform is a must.



Woman sitting down on a black chair while writing on a laptop wearing a white blazer, pink pants, and a pink blouse.
Woman sitting down on a black chair while writing on a laptop wearing a white blazer, pink pants, and a pink blouse.

3. Create An Exit Strategy - you can't plan (and shouldn't) every second of every day, but create a calendar for yourself of how your exit will occur. Don't share your plans with anyone at work, so your manager only finds out directly from you. Consider upcoming vacation or paid-time-off you have planned, upcoming deadlines or projects you want to be a part of, and anything that might affect your departure. It's not for the benefit of your employer but for you to have a smooth transition. Write a letter of resignation so you can present it after your in-person (or virtual) conversation with your manager, and


4. Activate Your Network - they say your "network is your net worth," and it doesn't matter at what leadership level you are in; your network can open doors you had not considered before. Let your network know you are exploring a career change and share what types of roles you are looking for. Don't focus on the title; every company has its jargon, and let them know what type of salary, responsibilities, and impact you are interested in exploring. Once someone shares an opportunity, ask them if they'll introduce the hiring manager or staff, and set up a 10-15 min informational interview. This type of connection allows the hiring manager to wait for your application materials versus applying with thousands of other applicants.


5. Create A Budget - transitions always require money, and quitting your job is a big financial decision—plan for the transition between your last check and your first check at your new role. If you are applying for unemployment benefits, it might take weeks for you to receive your first payment, but creating a budget will allow you to have the confidence you need to resign rather than staying in a role that no longer serves you.


Male sitting down in a dark blue sofa while he is on the phone and using a pink laptop.
Male sitting down in a dark blue sofa while he is on the phone and using a pink laptop.

6. Delete Personal Information From Your Work Computer - even if you give your employer a 2-weeks notice, they can ask you to leave immediately if they believe you might work for a competitor or have access to highly private information. Sign out of your email and social media accounts, delete personal documents from folders, and empty your recycle bin.

Your contract might include a Non-Disclosure Agreement, Confidentiality Clause, or Ownership of Intellectual Property. These clauses mainly state that you cannot share certain information about the decisions, strategies, or programs the company is launching and that the business owns the work you created for them. Be careful about downloading or saving company data that is not yours or has any client information; everything can and will be tracked back to you.

7. Look At Labor Market Trends - when job searching, we get hyper-focused on the title rather than the opportunities for growth or how the day-to-day work will feel. Your friends might be changing fields and landing roles, but the labor market will be changing in the next couple of months, and many industries, like construction, retail, residential care, and tourism, will take years to be back to pre-pandemic levels. This cha