You’ve completed the interview process and accepted an offer, so how will you transition smoothly into your new role?
Giving adequate notice, tying up loose ends properly, and building your existing work relationships at your current job will ensure that you leave on a high note and build your reputation as a consultant. You can also use this time to gather the tools and information you need to start your new position successfully.
Preparing to leave your current job
The first step in your transition is giving notice to your employer in a way that will enhance your professional reputation. How you handle the conversation with your manager will of course depend on your working relationship, but it’s a good idea to follow some or all of the suggestions below:
■ Schedule a face-to-face meeting to notify your manager of your departure
■ Prepare a list of reasons why you’re leaving and bring it with you
■ Be respectful towards your employer, they have invested time in developing your skills
■ Let your manager know you’ll create the necessary handover documentation during your final weeks to ease the transition for your replacement
■ Immediately follow up the meeting with an email detailing also include a detailed list of projects, tasks, and documentation you’ll complete before leaving
Following these steps will help put your manager at ease while he or she deals with your pending departure.
Once you’ve given notice and the shock of your announcement has subsided a bit, it’s important to keep your working relationships with your coworkers intact. Your co-workers or employer may have some questions for you after you leave, so it’s good to stay in touch. Be sure to work professionally through the end of your notice period and complete the tasks on your to-do list as promised. Your reputation as a consultant starts here, and ending your current role with respect and dignity is absolutely the correct thing to do.
Preparing to start your new job
There are a number of important ways you can start to prepare for your career in consulting during your notice period with your current employer. I’ve found as a consultant that the same issues and scenarios tend to crop up repeatedly with Oracle clients, and it’s tremendously helpful to record these as personal notes as they happen, creating a knowledge base you can draw upon going forward. Having this knowledge at hand will put you in a very good light with your new client. One of the best managers I’ve ever had was able to recall low-level details from previous projects—just being able to recall and review these details really set him apart as an expert.
You can start building your personal knowledge base by reviewing what you have learned in your current job. If you haven’t started keeping notes on these issues already, you can begin by grouping and classifying your emails using keywords or tags and then pull these notes into a searchable, formatted document. You can use this to develop a formatted system to record issues and solutions going forward.
You’ll be able to draw upon these notes to display your knowledge on future projects. More importantly, building a searchable, formatted knowledge base to bring with you in your new role will put everything you’ve learned at your fingertips. There are many applications suitable for storage of these notes, but my preference is for one that is accessible from the internet, rather than carrying external disk drives with you.
Additional from the frontline:
Preparing to leave a permanent job to begin consulting can be a daunting experience. You are leaving an environment that is fairly structured and entering a life that is the opposite.
When I left my permanent job to start consulting, it was a very exciting time. I was starting a new phase in my career and moving to a new country at the same time. My first consulting role was with Oracle Corporation, and I would be working in their UK HQ near London.
I remember being nervous before the first day in Oracle HQ, but I soon realized that the skills I had were comparable to my colleagues, and that I got on well with all of them, so I loved the role. My advice is that if you have been up-front and truthful about your skills and experience, you have absolutely nothing to fear, and so much to gain!