Leaving a Job After 3 Months (With Risks Involved)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 29, 2022 | Published October 18, 2021

Updated September 29, 2022

Published October 18, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Beginning a new job can be challenging, and it may seem hard to integrate into the new role. It can take some time to adjust to a new work environment, but after three months or the typical probationary period, you may realize that other jobs have more to offer you. Understanding more about how to leave your job after three months can help you leave your current position responsibly and respectfully.

In this article, we explore the reasons you may have for leaving a job after three months, review the risks it typically involves, explain how to leave your job professionally, and discover how to plan for your departure.

Related: Tips From a Recruiter: How To Stand Out When Changing Careers

Reasons for leaving a job after 3 months

There are many reasons for leaving a job after 3 months, particularly if the role isn't what you expected. Sometimes, your work situation may improve after working through the three-month probationary period. If not, any of the following situations can justify leaving a position after this period:

Issues with management

If there's a fundamental issue with the workplace culture or management team, this may strongly motivate you to find a new job. Some management styles may be more compatible with your way of working than others. Usually, this type of interpersonal issue can become clear after a few weeks. Communicating the issue to the management team is a good first step. If they don't offer a helpful response or make the required changes to help you work productively, you may wish to leave your job after three months, which is the typical probationary period for most jobs.

Different role than promised

While most jobs match the advertised description, it's important to check that the role is consistent with the position you accepted. For example, if you agreed to work as an office manager but ended up working in customer service, then that was a clear misrepresentation of your role. Choosing positions that match your experience and skill set can help motivate you, improve your productivity, and avoid creating any gaps in your professional history. This is a common reason to leave a job after three months.

Receiving a better offer

One of the most common reasons for resigning after three months is finding a better job opportunity. Whether the new role represents the next step in your career or simply offers an increased salary, this is a logical cause for leaving employment. You may feel more comfortable in your current role, but leaving it is a necessary step toward accepting the newer position, and you may eventually become just as accustomed to your new workplace.

Professional risks of leaving a job early

Regardless of how responsibly you leave your job, the change can come with risks, such as affecting the employees at your former workplace. Some matters may be beyond the control of the employee resigning, including the reactions of their coworkers or the management team. If you handle the matter gracefully and quickly, you can minimize most of the following issues:

Less accurate reference

Though there are laws that demand employers issue an accurate reference for former employees, interpersonal communications may not always be this simple. If you leave a position after only three months, it may surprise the management team, or affect other employees' plans that included you. Your choice to leave the job so quickly can also call attention to issues in the workplace, possibly affecting your former coworkers. All these factors can affect your professional reference.

Affected reputation

If your resume shows that you've spent three months in a role, you can balance it by including one or more long-term positions. It's important to communicate your reason for leaving clearly while also focusing on your skills and strengths. Showing your commitment to professional self-respect and your motivation to advance in your chosen career path can help convince prospective employers that you may work with them for far longer than three months. Carefully handling the narrative around leaving a job after three months can help you avoid any potential issues regarding your loyalty.

Monetary issues

If you're transitioning to a new workplace, it may take some time to establish pay dates or to receive your first payment. If you can save a sufficient amount of money before leaving your current position, you can increase your likelihood of comfortably starting your new role while avoiding any financial issues. It's important to remember that if your employer ends your employment, you may be eligible for employment insurance or other benefits while leaving voluntarily can prevent you from being able to claim this kind of financial support.

Related: How To Quit a Job You Just Started in 6 Easy Steps

How to leave your job professionally

The key to maintaining beneficial relationships within your professional network is to leave your role responsibly. While there may be many tempting job offers available, it's usually better to make this decision for practical reasons rather than emotional ones. If you focus too closely on the advantages of other jobs, you may forget to consider what you can still gain from your current one. The following steps can help you communicate your resignation in a clear, respectful manner:

1. Meet with your employer to resign in person

One of the most important components of leaving a job professionally is to issue your resignation in person. The human resources department typically handles this, but speaking directly to management can help maintain this professional connection. Resigning professionally, speaking respectfully, and expressing gratitude for the experience can show your former employer the value of keeping you in their professional network.

Related: Why Is Networking Important? (With Benefits and Tips)

2. Provide a professional resignation letter

Most companies require a letter of resignation, including your resignation date and last day of work. Resignation letters typically note the resigning party's name and professional role. Their tone may change according to the situation, but it's important to stay professional. If interpersonal issues affected your departure, the letter may be short and to the point. Conversely, if you want to keep this professional contact, you may use the letter to express gratitude for the opportunity and explain your reasons for leaving.

Related: Employee Leaving Announcement (With Steps and Example)

3. Give two weeks' notice

When leaving a job, the expectation is usually for you to give minimum reasonable notice. After three months, it's respectful to give two weeks' notice and to keep working dutifully until you leave. This can give the management team enough time to find someone to fill the position. If you help train the new person they hire, this can help maintain your professional reputation while allowing the business to operate as usual during the transition. It may even improve your reference or help strengthen your professional network.

Related: Should You Put References on a Resume? (And Other FAQs)

Gaining new employment

Typically, those planning to leave their job may look for other offers before formally resigning. It's important to check that there are enough job openings in your field before you exit your current role to avoid creating a gap in your employment history. Even if you've already found another job, there may still be some critical measures to take, like updating your documents and contacts. When leaving a job after three months, the following steps may be essential to your long-term success:

Update your resume

Regardless of whether you have found a new position, it's important to update your resume to reflect the skills and experience you gained over the past three months. Include the details of all your duties and accomplishments at your former job on your resume. Though three months is relatively short on a professional scale, it's sufficient time to develop new skills. Highlighting these on your CV or resume can showcase what you learned to prospective employers.

Contact references

Updating your professional contacts about your career change can help improve your professional relationship. It's most important to update those who may soon serve as your references, as they can directly help you find a new job. If you tell them you're looking for a new position while also speaking highly about your former role, they may write a positive reference about your merits as an employee.

Related: How Long Does It Take To Find a Job? (Plus Helpful Tips)

Begin applying

Whether you choose to wait until after submitting your resignation or not, it's important to start applying for a new job. Considering the similarities between your new position and your old one can help you write a cover letter that highlights your skill set. You may also customize the cover letter to each employer and explain what you learned in your most recent role. Provided you remain professional in your job search, leaving a job after three months can be a key step to improving your career.

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