How to resign from your job

The importance of how you submit your resignation is too often overlooked by candidates eager to start their new jobs. Just because you’re leaving a particular job doesn’t always mean that you’re leaving that industry.

So whether you love your current job, or can’t wait to be out of it, it’s important to remember that how you act in the run-up to leaving can have a lasting impression on your reputation.

Applying for a new job can throw a barrage of hurdles your way – spring cleaning your CV, researching prospective companies, and preparing for and attending multiple interviews, all the while taking the time off from your current place of work without your colleagues getting suspicious. While getting that all important new role can seem like the summit of the job application mountain, there’s still one element of the process that can fill many with fear – resigning from your current job.

The average person will change their job 12 times in their life, with the new age of millennials changing companies or career paths at a higher rate than the generation that came before them. But whether you’re a seasoned job hopper or it’s your first time drafting a resignation letter, leaving doesn’t necessarily get easier with experience, with each company having a different protocol when it comes to official resignation.

With this in mind, here are our top tips on how to resign and still be remembered warmly by your employer and colleagues.

Don’t do anything before you’ve got that contract in your hand

First and foremost, don’t be hasty! Make sure that you’ve got your official contract through from your next employer before you resign from your current one. It’s a very rare occurrence, but you wouldn’t want your offer of employment to fall through once you’ve already had the talk with your boss!

Have you read up?

Your current contract should be clear on the length of your notice period – these can vary, but the minimum is a one week. Make sure you’re 100% certain on the length of your resignation period so there’s no mismatch between when you leave one job and start your next.

Speak to your boss­

Now for the hard part! While it might seem easier to tell your boss via email, they’ll almost always appreciate hearing it from you in person. Plan ahead, and make note of what dates and times they’re around so that you can catch them in good time. It is a good idea to get in early, or stick around after work to catch them.

If you think it will be difficult to approach them directly for a meeting, send them a message asking for a quick chat. They’ll most likely pre-empt what you’ll want to discuss anyway, but it’s never the easiest of conversations, and once it’s out in the open you’ll feel much better for it!

When speaking with your boss, it’s possible that they might give you a counter offer. Prepare yourself for that, and think about the terms that you’d be happy to stay for. It can be easy to say yes to a new role and salary in the moment, so be sure to remind yourself of all of the reasons why you want to move on.

This is also a good time to air any grievances you had whilst working there. Don’t be too harsh, of course, but they should appreciate the feedback in the long run. Remember, you might need to call upon your boss to give you a reference for your next job, so it’s important to maintain a good relationship with them to maintain your positive and professional reputation.

How to resign from your job

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Writing the notice letter

Once you’ve spoken with your boss, your HR team will need your resignation notice in writing, too. Be prepared and craft a resignation template. Have a look at our guide for how to write resignation letter here.

Honour your notice period

While it’s easy to think of pastures new during your notice period, it’s important to continue to maintain the standard of work you were producing before your resignation letter was handed in. You’re still being paid, after all, so keep turning up on time, and carrying out tasks that fall within your remit to ensure you don’t go burning any bridges and serve out the statutory notice period

Handing over your job

Whether your team is big or small, make sure your colleagues are fully up to speed on any outstanding work when you’re gone. You want your team to remember you in a good light, rather than the one that left them in the lurch! Similar to having a reference from your boss, any future job application might require a reference from a colleague for future job applications, so it’s definitely a good idea to stay in their good books!

How to resign from your job

Image: iStock

Celebrate!

Make sure you have a final send off, and keep in touch with your colleagues where possible. As previously mentioned, you never know when your paths might cross again – just be sure to act sensibly!

Whether you’re working in engineering, tech, accounting or finance, chances are that your path will cross with one of your ex-employees at some point or another in the future. Make sure you make your resignation notice period as painless and as constructive as possible, allowing you to start your new job on the best terms with your new employers and the support of your old ones.

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