How to Resign

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How to Resign

Top tips on how to resign

Let’s be honest, no one looks forward to the conversation with their boss where they hand in their notice.  It can be a daunting, emotional and sometimes fractious situation but, handled the right way, it should simply be a professional conversation.  We’ve helped hundreds of people find their way through the resignation process so here are some of our tips to take the pain out of it for you.


Remember it's just business

No matter whether you have a great or a testy working relationship with your boss, try to take as much emotion as possible out of the equation and remember that it’s a job you’re leaving. People do it all the time and the person you’re resigning to will also have gone through the same process.  Most importantly, never hand in your notice when you’re angry!  


Can I have a word with you in private?

It’s important to type up a letter of resignation to make the process formal and as clean as possible (more on this later). But, just leaving a letter on your boss’ desk or sending them an email is not the way to go.  It’s highly advisable to sit down with your boss and let them know you’re moving on, for whatever reason, and to give them your letter at this meeting.  You don’t have to give reasons but it’s a good idea to frame this conversation in a positive manner.  For example, “I’ve been offered a great new opportunity” or “My new role is going to offer me great progression opportunities”. Even if you hated your job, always try to give some positive feedback rather than focusing on the negatives. Remember, you’re going to need to get a reference so this isn’t a time to vent!

  • A letter of resignation is a legal requirement. However, it is courteous to tell your line manager in person and they will also appreciate being given as much notice as possible.
  • Discuss with your line manager how they wish the rest of the team to be informed. They may want to keep it confidential for a while or be responsible for telling the team, but make sure the decision is theirs.
  • Prepare your reasons for leaving in advance and inform your manager of this. Try to emphasise the positives and talk about what you have gained from working there.
  • You do not need to reveal where you are going if you do not wish to do so.
  • Reassure your line manager that you will be helpful and cooperative regarding your duties, role and handover period until you leave the organization.
  • Ask for a reference / letter of recommendation from your employer. This will help you in your next job application.
  • Speak to your line manager or HR department regarding your final entitlements, such as holiday pay owed or any bonuses you have acquired.


Handling Counter Offers

What happens when you have decided to leave your current employer and they present you with a counter offer?

Firstly, it’s important to take all counter offers seriously but always remember why you wanted to leave the organisation in the first place. Statistics show that if you accept a counter offer you will be back on the job market within 6 months, so take your original intentions into account when considering a counter offer. 

Things to think about when considering a counter offer:

  • What were the underlying reasons that made you want to leave? They are likely to repeat themselves in the future. Is a company that waits until you resign before agreeing to pay you what you are worth really one you want to work for?
  • Playing your new and old employers off against each other may harm your reputation with new employers.
  • Where is the money for the counter offer coming from? Is it just an advance against your next rise? Are you likely to get another rise again?
  • Your employer is now aware that you are unhappy. So if you stay, your loyalty will always be in question.
  • When promotion opportunities arise, your employer will remember your request to leave the company and this will affect their decisions.
  • When times get tough and your employer makes cutbacks, the people with inflated salaries and a perceived lack of commitment will be the first to go.
  • Your company may start looking for your replacement immediately in case you decide to resign again.
  • Remember, only YOU have your best interests at heart. Your employer will always put their company’s interests first.

For more information, see Counter Offers From Current Employers


Starting a New Job

When you are offered a new job, make sure you receive a written offer from your new employer so you can respond in writing. As you prepare to start your new role, do as much research on the organisation as possible to get a good grasp on what to expect and make the first day transition a lot smoother.


Having second thoughts?

The first few weeks of a new job can be nerve-wracking and second thoughts are common for many new employees. Keep in mind a few things if you find yourself having doubts:

  • Don’t panic, these feelings are normal. It takes time to settle into a new organisation, so you might just need to be more patient.
  • Get to know your colleagues and become familiar with their practices, technologies and ideals. Once you are more comfortable and confident in your role, your doubts should fade.
  • A new employer will take their time in forming an opinion of you, so be courteous and do the same with them.

Should you still feel uncomfortable after a few weeks, you can request a meeting with your manager and discuss your issues in private. Most managers will take the time to try and alleviate your concerns and will do all they can to help you feel more comfortable within the organisation. This discussion and its follow up should help you to make an informed choice about whether or not this has been the right move for you.

The right role helps you maximise your potential. Call one of our consultants today on +44 (0) 28 9091 8529, fill out an enquiry form by clicking here or take a look at the job opportunities currently available via our job search.