How To Leave a Lasting Impression on Your Last Day of Work

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 4 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Regardless of your reasons for leaving, departing a company can be both exciting and challenging. Your last day can be a time to celebrate with co-workers, but it's also important to prepare for your absence. In addition to completing any exit paperwork or interviews, it's essential to you leave your workspace in a way that helps your replacement easily take over. In this article, we discuss why the last day of work is important and show how to leave a lasting impression on your employer and colleagues as you leave.

Why is your last day of work important?

Your last day of work is a chance to leave on good terms with your employer. Building a long-lasting relationship can assist you later in your career if you want to apply to a new organisation and need a quality reference from your manager and the human resources department. Spending your last day saying goodbye to colleagues can also show them that you value their help and guidance during your time at the company. Lastly, making sure that you've completed all tasks and left them ready for your replacement to take over can ensure that the company can keep running efficiently after you leave.

How to leave a job the right way

Follow these tips to maintain your professional connections on your final day at work:

1. Help your team prepare

Bring some notes on any projects you've started on, and try to compile a full list of all the contacts that your replacement might follow up with once you leave. Consider providing them with a list of tasks they may complete. Ideally, you can provide a full overview of each project and its progress. If you're unsure about the status of a project you're turning over, let them know that they may seek assistance from another co-worker. The more information you have, the more prepared your replacement can be.

2. Collect employee contact information

Approach employees who you want to stay in contact with after your departure. A few examples of employees you may want to stay in touch with include your manager, members of the executive team, the human resources manager and fellow co-workers with who you maintained a good relationship. You can contact them in the event you need a letter of recommendation or if you want to stay friends outside of the workplace.

3. Clear your company computer and phone

Clear out your email messages and forward anything important so your replacement or other colleagues can follow up on the message after you leave. It's important to keep your personal and business information separate, especially during your transition to another organisation. A manager from the human resources department can go over this step during an exit interview as well.

4. Return company possessions

Whether you're working alongside your replacement or they're coming into the business after you have left, be sure to do a final handover over all company-related material. This could include electronics, like tablet computers or general office supplies. This ensures these materials aren't taken out of your final paycheck.

5. Complete an exit interview

HR may want you to do an exit interview before you embark on your new position. There may be some instances where you may request an exit interview with your employer. Either way, the purpose of the interview is to state your opinion about your time and experience with the company.

Here's a list of questions that an HR professional may ask you during an exit interview:

  • Why are you leaving your position, and what led you to make a career change?

  • What is your feedback about the company's management, and can you give feedback on how the organisation can improve?

  • Can you state an accomplishment you had in your role?

  • Do you get the proper training for your position?

  • Would you recommend this organisation to others looking for employment?

6. Write your goodbye messages

When writing goodbye messages, you can either do hand-written letters or emails. You may decide to do the former for colleagues you have developed friendships with over the course of your employment. In your letters, show your gratitude for your experience at your workplace. Consider sharing some fond memories you share with your colleague and that you hope to keep up in the future. Use this letter to share your personal contact information if you wish to stay in touch. Here is an example of a thoughtful goodbye message you might send:

Hi Min,

The day has finally arrived, and I am not sure I am ready to say goodbye. Working with you for the past five years has been a pleasure. Over this time, I had the job of seeing us both excel from interns to project managers. I have learned so much alongside you, and I am inspired by the work that you do. I hope that even after I leave, we can keep in touch.

Here is my personal email:

joe.lin@email.com

Best,

Joe Lin

7. Clean up your workspace

You may use the last hour of your workday to clean up your workspace. Consider emptying any file drawers you have and throw away any garbage you have accumulated. Clear your desk of any personal trinkets or photographs too. After removing your personal belongings, you can wipe your desk down with a disinfectant. Essentially, you want your workspace ready for whoever is using it next.

8. Attend any farewell parties

If you have been with your company for a while, they might throw you a farewell party or goodbye lunch. Make an effort to attend the entire celebration, so that you can catch up with colleagues and discuss how you might all keep in touch. You may use this opportunity to celebrate your next professional endeavour while also showing your gratitude for the time spent at the company.

9. Reflect on your job

At the end of the day, take a moment to reflect on your now former job. Consider what you liked about working there and what you're not going to miss moving forward. Appreciate the opportunity you had to grow as a professional while also looking forward to a new and exciting opportunity. This can help you prepare for your next step and career goals.

Tips for leaving a job

Here are several tips that can prepare you for your final day of work:

  • Do what's right for you: There may never be the perfect time to leave a job, as there are constant deadlines and projects to complete. While it's important to prepare your team for your leave, you can focus on your own well-being and growth opportunities, too.

  • Keep your decision quiet at first: Before sharing your decision to resign with any colleagues, make sure to tell your manager first. This ensures they're hearing this information from you first.

  • Resign in person: Rather than sending an email or text message, schedule a time to chat with your manager in person. If you have a remote job, you can schedule a video call or phone call to share the news.

  • Give your team ample notice: The general rule is to let your employer know about your departure at least two weeks in advance. This gives them time to allocate your duties to others and begin to look for a replacement.

  • Help with the onboarding process: If your employer hires a replacement before your final day of work, offer to train them. You can also be helpful by typing up any training documents or recording training tutorials for them to reference after you leave.

  • Keep your reasons for leaving vague: Unless you have a strong desire to vent about your reasons for leaving, it's usually best to keep these to yourself. Simply sharing that you found a new role can ensure you leave your job on good terms.

  • Offer actionable feedback: If your manager insists on an exit interview, give them feedback that can help them improve the workplace. When doing so, give feedback that is polite and constructive.

  • Keep in touch: Checking in with your favourite former colleagues can help you maintain your professional connections. It's also helpful if you're ever in need of a job reference,

  • Feel excited about your new job: Oftentimes, professionals focus on the prospect of quitting and may forget to celebrate their new role. Remember, this is an exciting time for your career, so focus on the possibilities ahead.

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