Make no mistake, there are right and wrong ways to resign when leaving a job. Resigning calls for diplomacy, good sense, calm, deep consideration and strength of character. So command your emotions and do what is right for you.
Think before quitting a job
First of all, it’s essential to know your mind before you make such a big change. List your reasons for wanting to leave (you should also read our what do you want? article). Ask yourself if you have exhausted all the possible avenues within your current firm. Leaving a job is a big step to make if all you want is a new challenge and a change of environment. You may well be able to get this where you are.
How to resign
So, you’ve weighed it all up. The money, location, opportunity for career development and the nice people you met at your recent interview. You’ve decided to resign from your current employer.
Typically you will need to write a letter to confirm the decision, and in some form there will be a meeting to discuss your decision, even if it is not a formal meeting. So you’ll need to plan. That means knowing what you want to say, knowing how you want to say it, and sticking to the plan.
Always emphasise the positives of your time with your employer. You never know when you might see them again and how important they might be to you down the line. Always expect a reaction. Prepare for an emotional or confrontational response and stick to your prepared comments. Don’t be drawn into a slagging match that may harm your chances of a much needed reference. Stay calm and exercise calm breathing techniques if necessary.
Letter of resignation
A written resignation letter is an opportunity to take time over what you want to say in a controlled way so make sure you spend time on it. It’s worth noting that your new employer has a right to see your resignation letter so it’s important to keep this positive too. There are some bare essentials that any resignation letter should include:
- Person it is addressed to
- Notice of termination of employment
- When this is effective from
But it’s also a good opportunity to thank your employer for the opportunities given. Again, you never know when you might meet your boss again.
Other things to consider
Make sure you give your firm enough time to consider your resignation. Dumping them in it at a critical stage in a project could well back-fire on you. Your new employer may want to speak with them for a number of reasons, and you want people to be positive about you at this critical time. Be prepared for a counter-offer, so set your boundaries first.
If you are indeed changing jobs purely for money then a counter-offer could be a godsend, but don’t lose sight of the other reasons you had for wanting a change. Accepting a counter-offer could impact your integrity with your would-be employers and you could find yourself wanting that job six months down the road after all. Furthermore, having resigned once, how would that affect how your current employers trust you. It could be viewed as disloyalty and tarnish you for years.
Make sure you negotiate a fair settlement for any outstanding holiday entitlement, pay or commission. Don’t let this ride. It is your due and your part of the bargain is to deliver on any outstanding project and remain positive about the firm to your colleagues.
All in all be as cooperative as you can be and make sure they know that you’re keen to complete any outstanding work to the best of your ability.
Remember a letter of resignation is the last reflection of your character. So make it graceful and professional.