handing in your resignation

Handing in your resignation can be awkward and stressful. However, there are some best practice methods you can follow to make it easier, including the 6 dos and don’ts featured in this article.

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Changing jobs is inevitable. You could be unhappy in your current role and want a new challenge. Or you may want to make your next career move. Whatever the reason, it’s important you leave on a professional and positive note.

Most people have several different jobs throughout their life, which means they will have to resign on more than one occasion. However, it doesn’t make the process any easier or less stressful, especially if you haven’t had chance to think about the best way to do it.

Do you need some guidance on resigning the right way? These dos and don’ts are designed to help:

do write a formal letter

Write your resignation letter as soon as you receive your new job offer. It should include the current date, position you’re resigning from, notice period stated in your contract and your intended last day.

Keep your letter short and sweet and be gracious. Thank your employer for the opportunities they provided you with. Avoid focusing on why you are leaving, even if you are unhappy. Print your letter out and hand it to your employer. Don’t email it to them as it can easily get lost in their inbox.

don’t let your employer be the last to know

Once you’ve written your resignation letter, tell your manager about your decision immediately. You may want to share your news with your colleagues, especially if you’re leaving for your dream job. However, your manager won’t be impressed if they’re the last to know. It may not put them in a good frame of mind when it comes to writing your reference either.

Pick your moment to deliver the news. Avoid stressful times, such as, before an important meeting or first thing on a Monday morning. If you need to, schedule a quick meeting with your employer to guarantee that one-on-one time with them.

do get straight to the point

When you meet your manager, be clear about why you want to speak to/meet with them. Tell them you would like to resign and then share your resignation letter with them. If they didn’t realise you want to leave, they may want to discuss the reasons with you.

If this happens, try to be as tactful as possible, even if you’re leaving on bad terms. If you feel you really must offer criticism, make it constructive. Better still, stick to the facts. For instance, your new job may have a better salary, prospects and training opportunities. On the other hand, if you don’t want to share your reasons, you don’t have to.

Your manager may even come back to you with a counter-offer. If this happens, seriously consider the offer while assessing which role is best for you based on your future career goals.

don’t refuse to work your notice

You’ll find details of your notice period in your original employment contract. If you don’t have a formal notice period, it’s normal to allow between 2 weeks and a month. However long it is, you are legally obliged to work it unless your employer agrees to waive it.

If working your full notice period means you won’t be able to start your new job on the expected date, check your holiday entitlement to see if you have any outstanding days you can use up (do this before resigning).

Meanwhile, if you’re leaving to work for a rival company, your manager may ask you to clear your desk immediately.

do remain professional throughout your notice

While it may be difficult to give 100% to the job you are leaving, how you conduct yourself during your notice period is important.

If you stop making an effort, your employer could refuse to provide you with a reference. And if your new job depends on a reference from your last employer, your new job offer could be retracted. Even if you no longer enjoy your current role or have grievances with your employer, try to remain positive and professional. Keep your thoughts to yourself and definitely don’t share them on social media.

don’t leave your co-workers in the lurch

When working your notice, make sure any colleagues, who may be taking over your work are up to speed with everything. If you can’t tie up all of your loose ends, make sure you fully brief the relevant people on where you got up to. This information should naturally be covered off in your handover notes.

Unless you’re leaving to embark on a completely new career, it’s possible you may end up working with one or more of your current co-workers, or even your manager, at some point again in the future. Make sure you’re missed, not resented, when you move on. If you’re leaving on good terms, ask your manager if they would be happy to be contacted for a reference in the future and ask them to endorse you on LinkedIn.

Are you thinking of resigning, but don’t have a new job to go to? Is there something else you could potentially do besides leaving? Our online help and guides section is full of useful information. For furthur advice and support, contact us today.

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