Resigning From Your Job

Taking on a new role encourages people to look ahead – planning the next months and years of their lives. Thus with a new job offer in hand, it’s not surprising that some people put little time or effort into making sure they resign from their previous job on a good note. Here are our tips:

  • Prepare: Think of resignation as you would a job interview. Put time and thought into it. Prepare what you are going to say, in what order, and to whom. You can do serious damage to working relationships if you tell the wrong people first (even in confidence) and somebody influential finds out second hand.
  • Be honest: Don’t withhold the truth from your employers and colleagues. Tell them up front that you are leaving.
  • Be succinct: When telling your boss, get straight to the point. Explain why you are leaving, but try to avoid expressing negative feelings.
  • Be flexible: If you can, negotiate a leaving date that suits your employer as well as you. Cooperate fully in handing over the files, documents, projects and clients you are working with prior to leaving. It is accepted common courtesy to give 2 week’s notice; no more.
  • Be realistic: If your resignation is coming “out of the blue,” expect a reaction from your employer. Allow time for the reaction to your news. If your manager becomes aggressive, confrontational or upset, don’t respond with similar behavior. Revert to your prepared comments.
  • Be diplomatic: If you think it is important to express your negative experiences, do it face to face. Don’t do it in writing. Again, use your prepared comments rather than doing this off the cuff.
  • Be appreciative: Thank your employer for past training and other opportunities. Thank your colleagues for what you have learned from them. Accentuate the positives – find something good to say.
  • Follow up in writing: Always send a letter of resignation to confirm – in writing – when you are leaving the organization at the time of resignation.
  • Don’t burn your bridges: You might need to rely on your previous employer for references, advice or even a job! You also never know where people from your current place of work may end up in five or ten years’ time.
  • Look after number one: Make sure you know what you are entitled to when you leave, such as unused holiday. Get someone senior in the company to give you a reference.
  • Dealing with a counter-offer: If you receive a counter-offer, think about it. Has anything really changed? Is this what you really want? Think about the reasons you decided to take the new position in the first place. Given that you have already resigned, will it be easy for you to continue working in the same company? If you are seriously considering accepting the counter-offer, think about the impact it may have on your relationship with your new employers – you may deal with them again in the future. Will you be trusted or more closely watched from your existing employer knowing you once resigned?

Sample Resignation Letter

Dear _______:

This letter will confirm my resignation from ________, effective immediately with my last day being _________.

I want to thank you for the courtesy and consideration shown to me while I was part of your organization.

Please be assured that my decision was based solely on my personal and professional needs and in no way reflects on you or the company.

This difficult and final decision was reached only after thorough consideration. Please know that I am not open to discussing a counter offer, as I have already accepted the position.

I wish continued success to you and to the team here at ___________. Certainly during this transitional period, under your direction, I will do everything possible to ensure an easy and profitable transfer of territorial responsibilities to my successor.