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Last updateSat, 20 Jan 2018 11am

I just accepted a better job with a competing marketing firm. I work in a big city, but this is still a surprisingly small industry. How can I leave my current employer without burning any bridges?

Dear Working Wise:

 

I just accepted a better job with a competing marketing firm. I work in a big city, but this is still a surprisingly small industry. How can I leave my current employer without burning any bridges? Signed, Moving Up

 

Dear Moving Up:

 

No matter how big a community or industry you work in, you never know how your past relationships may help or hurt you in the future.

 

You can earn your current employer’s gratitude and respect by acting professionally and making your departure as easy as possible for them.

 

Your boss will probably remember your last few weeks with the company more than your last few years and so make them count.

 

Create a positive lasting impression:

o   Give as much notice as you can. Check your contract or your company’s HR policies for what the minimum notice is. If in doubt, try to give at least two weeks notice;

o   Tell your supervisor in person before you tell your co-workers. Use this one-on-one with your boss to thank them for the opportunity and for everything you have learned;

o   Keep what you say positive and professional – you don’t need to explain your reasons in detail, but you should be ready to explain why you are leaving; and

o   Write a letter of resignation.

 

Your resignation letter should:

o   Be brief and professional — stick to the facts — don’t include a detailed explanation of why you are leaving.

o   Include the date, name of the person you are sending it to, the position you are resigning from, and when your last day of work will be;

o   Be positive and polite even if you didn’t enjoy working for the organization — don’t use your resignation letter to vent your discontent; and

o   Sign your letter and keep a copy for your records.

 

Other ways to leave a lasting good impression:

o   Continue your good work habits;

o   Prepare a work plan for your supervisor including: projects you will complete before you leave, the status of any ongoing projects, and written instructions for the person who replaces you;

o   Offer to help look for and orient your replacement (if appropriate);

o   Make yourself available. Your last few weeks on the job are not the best time to use up your vacation days;

o   Don’t brag about your new job to your co-workers or talk about how happy you’ll be to get out of here;

o   Clean your workspace and tidy up your files. Ensure important files or project work is labeled and easy to find. Pack up any personal items and return company property such as keys or supplies;

o   If asked to participate in an exit interview, the rules stay the same—keep it positive and factual.

 

Resigning in a professional way will preserve your relationships with your supervisor and coworkers and build your reputation in your industry.

 

Good luck at your new job!

 

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca. Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Human Services. This column is provided for general information.


I just received a poor performance review from a new manager after years of great reviews from other managers. I don’t feel the review was fair. The manager minimized my successes and emphasized two negative things. Can an employee contest a performance e

Dear Working Wise:

 

I just received a poor performance review from a new manager after years of great reviews from other managers. I don’t feel the review was fair. The manager minimized my successes and emphasized two negative things. Can an employee contest a performance evaluation? Signed, Angry

 

Dear Angry:    

 

Most of us take pride in what we do and how we do it. I can understand why you feel upset—you probably feel underappreciated, attacked, and cheated—but you will have to put your feelings aside to avoid making things worse.

 

Alberta Employment Standards does not address performance reviews—they are a matter between you and your employer. But, there are some things you can do to actively manage the issue and avoid another negative review.

 

Keep doing a good job, getting along with others, and maintain a positive attitude.

 

Don’t discuss your review—or your feelings about your manager—with co-workers.

 

Address the review:

·         Take a day to calm down and separate emotion from fact.

·         Read your review again with an open mind. Try to put yourself in your manager’s shoes—is your manager at least partially right?

·         Make a list of the points you agree with and the points you disagree on. Gather proof to strengthen your arguments, e.g., commendations, emails, kudos, successes, facts and numbers, etc. that show your contributions.

·         Find out if your employer has a formal appeal process. If so, follow it.

·         Ask your manager for a meeting to discuss your performance review.

·         Be calm, respectful, professional and constructive during the meeting.

·         Reassure your manager that you value your job and that you are committed to ensuring that your next review is great.

·         Acknowledge the criticisms you agree with and what you plan to do to improve.

·         Raise the criticisms you disagree with and present your evidence. Ask your manager to explain his concerns—Ask for specific examples to help you better understand.

·         Ask your manager for specific suggestions how you can improve. Use this opportunity to clarify your manager’s expectations of you and ensure your job description reflects your current role.

·         Develop an action plan that both you and your manager agree will address all the concerns. Capture your plan in writing so neither of you forget what you agreed.

·         Don’t wait a year—ask for a three-month follow-up meeting to discuss your progress with your manager. You will avoid surprises and you will be able to remind your manager that you are working to the plan the two of you created. Your manager can also use this meeting to raise any new concerns before they end up on your permanent record.

·         If your meeting doesn’t go well, you can ask your manager to attach a response letter to your appraisal. Your response letter should politely, respectfully, and professionally acknowledge the issues you agree with and what you plan to do to address them along with the points you disagree with.

 

A performance review should not be full of surprises—it is a review, not a reveal. If your manager is not giving you regular performance feedback, start asking what you are doing right and wrong so you can avoid a disappointing review next year.

 

Good luck!

 

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca. Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Human Services. This column is provided for general information.

 

I have been looking for a summer job for the past four weeks with no luck. Do you have any tips?

 
Dear Working Wise:
I have been looking for a summer job for the past four weeks with no luck. Do you have any tips? Signed, Hire This Student
 
Dear Hire This Student:
 
The job market is challenging for younger workers, but don’t lose hope, there are still jobs out there—you just have to work a little harder and try a few new techniques.
 
Write a resumé
Get a resumé if you don’t already have one. More and more employers, even some fast-food restaurants, expect resumes. If you are not sure how to write a resumé, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) web site at www.alis.alberta.ca and check out their tip sheets and sample resumes. 
 
Improve your resumé
Show your future boss that you mean business by ensuring your resumé looks professional and is free of errors. Ask a parent or someone else you trust to review your resume and make suggestions. You can also use the free e-Resume Review Service on the ALIS website. 
 
Network
Use your network of friends and family to get the message out that you are looking for work. Most jobs are not advertised—networking is a great way to tap into that hidden job market.
 
Focus on your transferable skills
Most students do not have that much work experience, but that does not mean you do not have a lot to offer. Highlight the transferable skills that you have gained through school, hobbies, volunteering and life experience. Transferable skills include things like: interpersonal, organizational, computer, time management, and money-management skills. For more ideas on transferable skills, visit the ALIS web site and check out the tip sheets on skills.  
 
Target your search
Do not just look at job postings. Decide what you want to do and who you want to work for and then go after that job. Consider your interests, your strengths, and careers you might want to “try out”. Find out who does the hiring and customize your cover letter and resumé to that specific person, company and job. Who knows, instead of a summer job, you just might land yourself a stepping stone into your future career. The experience and connections you make will be invaluable once you graduate. And, trying a career first may help you avoid investing a lot of time and money in training for a career you actually don’t enjoy.
 
Visit your nearest Alberta Works Centre
Visit your nearest Alberta Works Centre for help with your job search. Alberta Works Centres feature job postings, onsite job fairs, computers, fax machines, and photocopiers for job searches and job-search advice from Career & Employment Consultants. You can find the Alberta Works Centre nearest you at http://humanservices.alberta.ca/offices.
 
Use social media
Like or follow your local Alberta Works social media channel and get job opportunities and news of upcoming job fairs sent straight to your news feed. All of the social media channels are listed at: http://humanservices.alberta.ca/socialmedia.
 
Good luck!
 
Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca. Charles Strachey is a regional manager with Alberta Employment and Immigration. This column is provided for general information. 
 

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