Worker quitting.
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  • A record number of people are quitting their jobs, but leaving badly could harm your reputation.
  • Insider spoke to three careers experts for their advice on how to quit without burning bridges.
  • They say you should always tell your manager before anyone else and resist being too negative.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

A record number of people are quitting their jobs.

Some are burned out, others are reassessing their careers - a growing number have simply had enough of bad bosses and low wages.

Whatever the reason, it's in your best interests to make sure that you're doing it right. Leaving a company on bad terms can affect your professional reputation.

"We live in a small world," said Naeema Pasha, director of careers and professional development at Henley Business School and co-author of Futureproof Your Career. "If you're planning on staying in the same industry, you're probably going to meet the same people over again."

Even if you're changing sectors, you're still likely to need a reference from a previous employer before landing a new role.

Insider spoke to Pasha and other careers experts for their advice on how to quit your job without burning bridges.

1. Stay professional, polite and prepare ahead

Ahead of handing in your resignation, find out what the company policy is for resigning and how much notice you need to give.

Most UK firms have a set notice period defined within employment contracts. In the US, most employment is at will, but it's usually advised to provide two weeks.

Some companies may ask you to work longer, others may ask you to leave immediately.

"Clean up your desk space and make copies of anything you may need for your portfolio before handing in your notice," said Brie Reynolds, career development manager at remote job search site FlexJobs.

Plan what you are going to say and be articulate with your reasons for leaving, because it will allow both parties to move on once you've had the conversation, said Jill Cotton, careers advice expert at employer insight company Glassdoor.

"Be prepared to be asked why you're leaving, and be as honest as feels comfortable without getting negative because it feels good to blow off steam," she added.

Cotton suggested making notes if you're anxious ahead of any discussions.

2. Tell your manager first

Tell your manager in person before telling your other colleagues, said Pasha. "It's good manners and more human to have the conversation before your resignation email hits their inbox."

Arrange a one-on-one with your manager, said Glassdoor's Cotton. Springing it on them two minutes before they leave for the day will seem thoughtless.

Once you've spoken to your manager, agree a timeframe for how and when the rest of your colleagues will be informed. "It's important to remember that change can initially feel unsettling for your remaining colleagues," Cotton said.

3. Then put it in writing

Most companies will require you to put your notice in writing.

"Be sure you note when your last day will be, express thanks for the opportunity, and let your supervisor and company know that the experiences you are leaving with will no doubt help you in any future endeavours," said Reynolds.

4. Leave a good impression

While you're waiting to leave you'll probably "be feeling half way out the door" and low on motivation, but the last bit of your job can determine what legacy you leave, said Pasha. Stay as motivated as possible.

Tie up loose ends and continue to attend scheduled meetings, said Cotton. Ensure that you've passed responsibilities onto colleagues properly in order to ease the transition.

As tempting as it may be, don't bad mouth the company or your colleagues. Avoid posting anything negative about your job on social media, said Reynolds.

"If nothing else, being nice - or simply just cordial - means you aren't burning bridges you might need in the future.

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