Feeling tanned, rested, and ready for a new job? Autumn is a great time to land a new gig, after the summer slowdown and before the holiday season gears up. According to job site Monster.com, late September and October see some of the strongest hiring of the year.
If you’re planning to move on to a new job this fall, career experts have some advice about what to do right—and what to avoid.
Don’t send out a mass email. Whatever you do, do not announce that you’re quitting your job via a group email to your colleagues. You’ll catch your boss by surprise — never a good thing — and you’re almost guaranteed to kick off a highly annoying round of “reply all” responses.
Tell your boss first. Step one is to inform your immediate supervisors, said Lesley Mitler, co-founder of Early Stage Careers, which offers career advice for young professionals. “You should never share this information with coworkers before giving your boss a chance to manage damage control,” she advised. Do it in person as opposed to over the phone or via email. (And don’t even think about texting your resignation; for one thing, your employer might not accept it.)
Read next: This Is When You’ll Quit Your Job
If you have a good relationship with your boss, it’s nice, although not a requirement, to ask how he or she would like you to handle announcing your departure to others.
Keep your cool. “The number one rule is to remain professional at all times,” said Elene Cafasso, president of executive coaching firm Enerpace Inc. “As tempting as it may be to tell people what you really think of them on your way out the door, please don’t do it.” That includes throwing any shade at the exit interview or in a farewell email. It’s just not worth the hit to your professional reputation — and yes, your image will take a hit if you do this, Cafasso warned.
Establish boundaries for staying in touch. There’s no rule that says you have to connect with all your former co-workers on LinkedIn, and you definitely shouldn’t feel obligated to stay friends with them on Facebook or other more casual social networks. If you had a good working relationship then sure, go ahead and connect on LinkedIn, Cafasso suggested. If you were also friendly outside the office, ask if they’d rather stay in touch via Facebook. For everyone else, ‘The safest thing to say is ‘I wish you all the best.’ No more is necessary,” she said.
Don’t poach. It might be tempting, especially if you work in a competitive field, to try to bring your colleagues with you, but give it some time, Mitler advised. Even if you have colleagues pleading with you to pass along their resumes, wait until you’ve settled in a bit and gotten a feel for your new employer before you do so.
“Raiding your former employer is bad form,” Mitler said. Depending on the type of work you do and any employment contract you might have signed, it could also violate your company’s policy.
Prioritize what to finish before you go. “The projects that people should wrap up before they leave are those where it would take a great deal of time or inconvenience a lot of people if they were left undone,” Cafasso said. If the work you do can’t easily or reliably be picked up by someone else, focus on that. If you’re leading a team of colleagues on a particular project, you’ll leave them with a positive impression of you if they’re not stuck tying up loose ends after you go. It’s never a bad idea to ask your boss which projects they’d like you to wrap up before you sign off for the last time, and you should certainly make a list of your current duties and activities to hand off to whoever will be taking over for you.
Make introductions on your way out. Make things easier for the person who will be inheriting your role by introducing him or her via email to your most important contacts, be it clients, vendors, donors, or similar. Contact those people, let them know you’ll be leaving and when, and cc your colleague so he or she can start building their new contacts list, Mitler said. (It also helps to throw in something nice about working with your colleague, she added, to reassure clients that they’ll be in good hands after your departure.)