Job transition is often a whirlwind of change, challenges, excitement, stress and high visibility. Many people may have been involved and affected by your job search and transition, and those relationships are important for your future.
So, some of the items in this checklist are about maintaining relationships and nurturing your network.
Other items are about putting your job search away neatly, like a set of tools you won’t need again for a few years. Chances are, this isn’t the last job transition you’ll ever go through, so why not make the next one easier?
And above all, there are several steps you can take to make sure you get your new job off to a great start.
Job Transition Checklist
Get Ready to Give Notice:
☐ Get the new job offer in writing. Make sure everything is very clear, including start date, role and title, salary and all benefits. Complete any negotiations and obtain written confirmation of any changes agreed to.
☐ Gather resume-fodder from the job you’re leaving. If you can do so without violating any agreements, take home copies of your performance reviews, details about your accomplishments (how much you increased sales last year, etc.) and work samples.
☐ Know what’s yours and what belongs to the business. Who owns your LinkedIn profile if your employer helped you set it up and it’s connected to your business email address? Who owns your customer contacts? Disputes have arisen over these types of information.
Break the News:
☐ Give notice. Do this verbally first, and then in writing. Keep the vibes positive and appreciative. Offer at least two weeks’ notice, and maybe more to prevent hardship for the team. But remember that your future is with the new company, so put that relationship first.
☐ Offer to train your replacement and/or create documentation for the next person in the role. Share those tips nobody knows better than you.
Wrap Up Your Job Search:
☐ Communicate and appreciate. Nurture your network by sharing your good news and gratitude with everyone who helped you during your search in any way, large or small. Plan on continuing those relationships.
☐ Update and improve your LinkedIn profile now or soon; this is the best time to do it. Doing an overhaul a year from now could arouse suspicion. A good profile will help you look good to your new colleagues.
☐ File away information for your next job search. If you’ve created various versions of your resume or gathered a lot of data about companies, job titles and contacts, make sure this information is easy to find in the future.
Relax, Regroup and Get Organized:
☐ Take some time off if at all possible to renew your energies for a great start.
☐ Know how your first day will go.How will you get to your work station? Are there any meetings you should prepare for?
☐ Study up to “hit the ground running.” See if there are materials you could review ahead of time.
☐ Program your manager’s direct line into your phone before your first day.
☐ Plan what to wear.
Ace Your First Day and Week:
☐ Leave home early.
☐ Bring any required personal identification documents.
☐ Meet the people you’ll be working with. Listen more than you talk. Respect their time. Learn about how your role and theirs will effect each other. At this point, relationships may be more important than results.
☐ Understand your team. Find out what each member’s role is, both officially and in terms of go-to specialties.
☐ Carry a notepad and pen. Take notes and review/consolidate them later. (Beware of taking notes on your phone or other device, which can give the appearance that you’re “playing on your phone” instead of working.)
☐ Assess your toolkit. Check whether you have all the necessary equipment, accesses and software you’ll need to do your job. If not, make a list of what is still needed and when you should expect it. Plan to follow up as needed.
☐ Understand the organization. Get an org chart if possible and discuss it with your manager. Learn the names of department heads you will be interacting with. Get familiar with the workflow.
☐ Look for high-visibility “early win” opportunities. With your manager, figure out what you can accomplish within your first month to establish your value in people’s minds.
☐ Prepare to ace your first evaluation. Get clear on when and how your work will be evaluated and plan how you’ll nail a high score. And don’t just wait for your three-month evaluation – arrange one-on-ones with your boss, and maybe others on the team, “because I’m excited about this job and I want to make sure I’m setting myself up for long-term success.”
What else to you need to do during this pivotal time? Adjust this job transition plan to fit your own needs, then check in with it frequently and reap the immediate and long-lasting rewards of a conscious career transition.