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Job Offer Series: To Accept or to Quit First?

You’ve just received an exciting job offer. Congratulations! It may be very tempting to celebrate the end of your job search by cleaning out your desk— leaving the stapler, because you’re a nice person— and riding off into the sunset with your awesome new job. However, you should be very sure about what this job offer entails before handing in your resignation. Here are some things to watch out for as you transition from one job to the next, and some tips for deciding whether to accept a job or quit your job first.

It is a very good idea to accept a job offer before quitting your current job. This is because of the possibility that a job offer could fall through, and you could find yourself back on a job search…but without a job this time. It is important to note that for some jobs there are different stages of being offered the position. According to the Houston Chronicle, a verbal job offer is not always trustworthy enough to justify quitting your current position. Verbal job offers are often only the beginning of the road for a potential new hire at a company. For example, a verbal job offer might be given before references have been checked. Furthermore, your employment may depend on a background check, drug screening and possibly an employment assessment. It is wise to wait until all of these hurdles have been cleared— especially if you are concerned about any of them— before you hand in your resignation at your current position.

It is also important to have the final salary, benefit and job description details ironed out with the new job before you quit your current job. Until a final, written offer is on the table, it is possible to be deceived about job responsibilities and compensation. It would be a shame to quit your current job, only to find out that the new job doesn’t pay what you thought it would. It is important to accept a final, written job offer (and find out your start date) before quitting your current job and ending your job search.

Some jobs, of course, do not have all of these hoops to jump through. A verbal job offer may very well mean the end of your job search, without any fear of the offer being withdrawn. When you receive the verbal job offer, be sure to iron out the next steps in the hiring process. Should you look for a written job offer? Or will you pick a start date on the spot? If you feel confident in the next steps your employer has offered you, then your job search is at an end and it is time to hand in your resignation.

Of course, when you give your future employer a start date, be sure to factor in two weeks to finish up at your current job. It is very rude— and a good way to burn professional bridges— to hand in a resignation with less than two weeks’ notice. Your current employer may give you permission to leave earlier, but you should always offer to stay for two weeks.

What are your tips for transitioning between jobs, and resignation etiquette? Leave a comment below, or send me a tweet: @ithinkther4iamb #jobsearch

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by fuzzcat

Written by

Kristin has a B.A. in English from the University of Iowa, with an emphasis in creative writing. In her free time she enjoys long walks, kitchen adventures, and making puns.

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