How to Resign the Right Way


Robert Taylor


September 4, 2020

Whether you’re after a better salary, or you’re just not feeling challenged enough in your current role, you’ll likely have to have that awkward conversation at some point during your working life. Especially considering the days of staying in one job for the rest of your life have long passed, millennials will change jobs 15-20 times on average in their lifetime.

Handing in your notice isn’t exactly something people look forward to (most of the time!), and you’ve got to tread carefully if you want to avoid burning those bridges you’ve spent ages building during your time in your current workplace.

Resigning the right way is a delicate art, luckily for you, you’ve got your favourite recruiters on hand to show you how it’s done.

Double check your contract

If you’ve got your mind made up about leaving your job, you probably feel in a bit of a hurry to get gone. However, you should always have another read through your employment contract to see what your terms are for leaving.

Some companies can require up to 6 months’ notice, so be sure you know how early to approach your boss and HR department. You’ll want to make sure your official resignation letter is in line with your contract and references your notice period, you never know – your employer might even make the decision to put you on garden leave instead.

Whatever you do, you should honour your notice period and avoid making an abrupt exit where possible, choosing instead to leave with grace and professionalism.

Perfect your resignation letter

This is arguably the trickiest thing to master. As tempting as it is to include lots of fluff to soften the blow, you should be succinct and clear, you can always have a broader conversation about your reasons with your manager.

The perfect resignation letter needs to include:

  • Confirmation that you are leaving the business
  • When you plan to leave (this should be in line with your notice period)
  • If your reasons are medical or that you are moving cities, you may feel it’s necessary to include them. However, it’s not compulsory so you may want to go into more detail in person
  • Let them know that you’re willing to work with them to make your exit from the business as smooth and easy as possible
  • A thank you to your employer for the opportunities they’ve given you

Keep hold of your letter until you’ve spoken to your boss, which brings us on to our next tip rather nicely…

Break the news in person

Would you want to be dismissed from your job with no face to face interaction? We didn’t think so. As awkward and difficult as it may be, having a meeting with your boss to break the news is the right thing to do.

It’s completely natural to feel guilty and even upset, particularly if you have a good relationship with your boss, but just remember that you’ve handed your notice in for a reason and it’s clearly something that you want. Your manager is likely to ask lots of questions, so be clear and concise with your answers. It helps to keep your resignation letter in mind and remember your key reasons for wanting to leave.

This is your opportunity to give them feedback too, so don’t shy away from tricky subjects or scenarios that may have contributed to your decision.

Don’t burn bridges

Depending on your reasons for leaving you might well have had some disagreements with your team, or perhaps you’re not the best of terms with management at the moment. It’s really important not to let any ill-feeling cloud your judgement and make you act rashly.

As tempting as it may be to stop giving your all at work during your notice period, don’t throw the towel in prematurely. Employees often slack off in their remaining few weeks knowing that they won’t need to deal with the fallout, this is a bit of a poor show though and will leave a lasting negative impression of you when you leave.

Remember, you’ll still need a reference when you come to apply for new jobs, besides, you honestly never know when you’re going to cross paths with your employers again in the future – so be nice!


Be honest

If there’s some wisdom you can impart on your former employers so they can avoid losing more members of staff, you should let them know.

Obviously there’s a right and a wrong way to do this: the key is to be constructive, you don’t want to ruffle too many feathers on your way out after all. This isn’t an opportunity for you to vent and point out their shortcomings, but rather a chance to help them hang on to their workforce and make things better for your colleagues.

In fact, many organisations actually encourage this and will even offer an exit interview where you can give them feedback on your time there. If your employer doesn’t do this and you really want to let them know what they could have done better, encourage them to set one up.

Prepare for a counter offer

Your boss might just surprise you and come back to you with a counter offer to try and coax you into staying. This is something that businesses will often do as a last resort to retain their valuable resource, but should you accept? Not necessarily.

Weigh up whether whatever they’re offering you is worth sticking around through whatever it was that prompted you to leave in the first place. If your motivations were solely financial, and they’re solving your problems with the promise of more money – perhaps it’s worth sticking around. However, if you’ve got issues around career progression and company culture, we’re sorry to say these are unlikely to go away overnight. Learn more about counter offers and whether or not you should accept one.

Thinking of leaving your current role in search of your dream job? Take a look at our latest vacancies and get inspired.

Business Development Director

Robert Taylor

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