There may be many reasons why you’d like to leave your job, and when it finally comes to resigning from your position, you should always avoid leaving under a cloud or burning bridges. Being calm, polite and clear on any exit interview is essential.
Be a 100% positive you want and are ready to leave your current role
Before you take the big step of resigning, make sure you have thought it through, and it really is the right decision. You should of course have verbally accepted another position, received a contract and signed and returned it, have a start date agreed all before handing in your notice.
Handing in your notice and leaving on good terms
This should be short, concise and confirm your last day of employment.
It is a formal letter but should never be lengthy or wordy. Your letter of resignation should be written as a formal letter, but it doesn’t have to be lengthy.
Book your meeting to hand over your resignation letter
Once you have completed your resignation letter, proofread it, and perhaps ask someone else to check it, then you should book a meeting with your boss to hand your notice letter in. If this is not possible, video calls can be scheduled. Some form of face to face is preferential and never tell work colleagues ahead of your meeting. Your boss finding out before you get to tell them personally puts you in a very difficult position. It will make your exit a difficult one and it will be unlikely to be on good terms.
Prepare for any outcome, including a counteroffer
You may get on well with your boss, but this news may come as a shock. When someone leaves, usually someone has to be found to replace them and this is more work for your boss – so there MAY be a negative response. Try not to take it personally if there is.
Hopefully, there won’t be – after all, not many of us have one job throughout our lives and we will inevitably move around – for better pay, conditions, benefits, work/life balance, etc. We have the right to move elsewhere, but doing it gracefully and with thought for your current employer and colleagues is the best way to do it.
If they don’t want to lose you, you may receive a counteroffer. More money, a promotion, more benefits. You might ask yourself why these weren’t offered before it came to you resigning! This may not happen at the meeting, as your boss may have to discuss it with others, first.
It’s best to prepare yourself for this eventuality – would more money or a promotion make you stay? What were you reasons for thinking about looking for a new position initially, and does their offer deal with that? If there is something particular that would make you reconsider your resignation, prepare your answer.
If you know that nothing will make you stay, you can still agree to hear them out, or just be straight with them if you’re not interested, to avoid wasting their time. Perhaps best not to say something like ‘nothing would make me stay’ but more like ‘I’m going to a great job, and it’s a real opportunity for me, a new challenge, new people, new environment’ all observations that cannot be counter offered by your existing employer.
Important to note is that you should never tell your current employer where you are going to. Quite simply it allows them to make negative observations, offer rhetoric about the business or people deliberately to make you feel you’re making the wrong decision. You have no obligation to inform them where you are going, you can of course advise it is a competitor if you feel bound to offer something.
If you have a notice period, generally you’ll be expected to work as normal for the duration. This however can be open to negotiation and will differ from role type to role type.
Stay strong about the decision to leave your job
Delivering the news that you intend to leave your job is certainly not easy for most people. Stay strong in the meeting, don’t be pressured into withdrawing your resignation or committing to anything and try to remember the reasons why you are doing this and what got you to this point.
Giving a reason for your resignation
You’re not required to give a reason for leaving your job, but you can do if you so wish as highlighted above. Many businesses will automatically book you into an exit interview where they can ask you about your work experience at the company so that they can address any potential issues for existing and new employees.
If not, you could always request an exit interview if you feel strongly about something that has contributed to your resignation. Again, it’s best not to burn bridges here. It’s your call.
A notice period is the period of time you are required to continue to work after handing in your notice. You may have a defined notice period in your contract and if not, then it’s a minimum of 4 weeks. Always check your contract prior to handing in your notice so to manage your expectation.
Work your notice period
You may have resigned but you are still required to work as usual during your notice period unless your employer tells you otherwise. You may be as busy as usual or your work may start to tail off as your work is moved on to other colleagues or departments before your departure.
This is also a good time to prepare some sort of handover letter, pack or email to help with the transition to a new employee if there is to be one. If an existing colleague is taking over your role, make sure you do an effective handover for them.
Is it ok to resign via email?
Increasingly, this is an acceptable way to hand in your notice, particularly if you work remotely or only go in very occasionally. In-person is best, but as long as you follow our guidelines above, an email should be perfectly acceptable. Perhaps offer to come in to discuss it at a mutually agreeable date and time?
Don’t burn bridges by making an abrupt exit. Work out your notice period and do everything you can to make your departure as easy as possible for the company, your boss and your colleagues – and not to forget the person who takes over your job when you’re gone.
Once you’ve handed in your resignation letter, prepared your handover information and worked your notice period as required, you can leave the company and begin your next adventure.
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