Have You Planned Your Exit Strategy From Your Current Employer?

So, you’ve made the decision that you want out. The job isn’t what you expected, the new manager is intolerable, or you’re just keen for a fresh challenge (or a bigger, better salary).  

It’s exciting, isn’t it? In the current market, there are so many exciting opportunities out there for candidates in the financial sector.  

However, don’t let your enthusiasm carry you away, or worse still, make your current manager twig that you’re on the hunt for something better. And you don’t want to be making any grand announcements about your resignation until you have your next role comfortably secured.  

Your exit strategy shouldn’t have an air of drama about it. Your exit strategy should be cool, calm, and considered. It can even be deadly boring. When it comes to exit strategies, dead boring is good.  

Here are a few pointers on how to manage an excellent exit strategy.  

Know your timeline

This isn’t just about knowing when you want to leave the job, although that’s the starting point. You need to be looking strategically at your current workload and ongoing projects. Where do you plan to fit in the interviews? How will you prepare to hand over your workload in a professional manner to your replacement? Leaving a job well takes planning.  

Assess your skill gaps and how to fill them 

The great thing about an exit strategy is that it gives you time to make your CV really shine and plug any of those skills gaps that could prevent you from getting your dream job. If there’s time to upskill, book that time in, and modify your departure timeline accordingly. If you’re unsure how your CV stacks up against other top applicants in your field, give a specialist finance recruiter a call to ask them their opinion.  

Continue as if nothing has changed

Unless you want your manager to suspect you’re planning a move, you’ll need to continue in your role just as before. Continue doing overtime. Agree to schedule those meetings you’ll never be there for. Join in on long-term planning and strategy meetings. This is your little secret.  

In fact, even if your manager does know you’re leaving, you should probably do most of these things anyway. Most people lose enthusiasm after they’ve resigned, so buck that trend and really impress your manager by keeping your foot on the accelerator until your last day with the company. 

Find a specialist financial recruiter

Of course, we’d say this; we’re a specialist financial recruiter. But it makes logical sense: you want a recruiter who knows your sector inside out, who has the contacts and trust of the financial sector. You really don’t want to be explaining the responsibilities of a banking Regulatory Compliance Manager to a wet-behind-the-ears generalist recruiter who normally recruits reception temps.  

Choose your recruiter wisely and have a thorough chat with them about your dreams and expectations for your next role. We suggest only reaching out to one or two recruiters, and be sure to tell them that you’re conducting this search without the knowledge of your employer. The fewer recruiters you contact, the less chance that word will get out that you’re looking for a change.  

Avoid the red flags of ‘oh-so-obvious’ job hunting

Don’t use work phones or computers to look for roles.  

Update your LinkedIn profile discreetly, don’t flood it with new info, know your privacy settings, and make sure your changes aren’t published to your network! It’s often advised just to send your CV to recruiters directly to avoid too much action on your LinkedIn page.  

Don’t talk about job hunting on social media. Or mention that work isn’t going well.  

Use your network to your advantage, but only the trusted people within it, particularly where you have shared contacts or work in the same local area.  

Schedule interviews outside work hours where possible, and don’t loiter surreptitiously in hallways talking to recruiters or hiring managers on your mobile phone. (Just say you’ll call back later; the recruiter will understand.) 

Don’t apply for lots of jobs just because you want out of this one

A scattergun approach to job-hunting rarely ends well. It normally ends in more job-hunting. Even if you’re desperate to leave your current role, make sure that your next move is a good one, into a role you genuinely want, that fits your skillset and allows you to grow. 

Start backing up your files 

If your emails and files aren’t protected by a data retention policy, you should start backing up your files, personal music and contacts before you resign. Remember that some workplaces have the policy of paying out your notice period rather than keeping you on-site, so you should be prepared to leave by the time you resign.  

Know what to expect financially and contractually

Firstly, if you’re going to have to take time off for study or if you’re planning to retrain and move into a more junior role, know how your income drop will affect your financial situation.  

Secondly, you should know exactly what the resignation policy is, as well as how your unused leave and entitlements will be paid out. So get out that contract you signed and have a good read.  

Finally, don’t resign too early

As recruiters, we’ve seen far too many people call us in a hurry for a job because they resigned far too early. A manager must act in the best interests of the business, and if they think that’s recruiting immediately for your replacement, that is what they will do.  

Don’t resign early, no matter how nice you think you’re being by giving plenty of notice. There’s a reason there’s a notice period included in your contract: that’s how long your employers think they need to replace you. They wrote it; you just must follow it.

Most finance roles have multiple rounds of interviews, and you can expect to be waiting at the very least a month for your next role to begin, so don’t jump the gun on this one or you may find yourself without an income for several months. 

Also, remember, it’s easier for us to place you if you’re currently in a role. New employers always wonder why candidates are currently unemployed, and often jump to unflattering conclusions: did you get pushed out of your last role? Did you have a big blow-up with your manager? Being in a role right now makes you a more attractive candidate. So don’t jump too early! 

See, we told you it was cool, calm and considered. Your dream of resigning might be to yell ‘I QUIT! , throw your computer out the window and leg it towards the door to freedom with a big grin on your face, but we promise: our way leads to a better future. Even if it is a bit boring.  

Until next time,