How to resign

Whatever your reason for leaving, it’s always important to resign in a calm, calculated and diplomatic manner regardless of how stressed or excited you are.

When looking for a new job, you may have noticed what a small world it is and how everyone seems to know each other. Don’t use your resignation as a means to get even or vent your anger as you don’t know who knows who and what implications this could have on your future career.

Here are a few tips on how to resign with your reputation and dignity intact.

Be clear about why you’re leaving
It is hard to know how your employers will react and it could show you a different side to someone you may think you know very well.

Make sure you are clear about why you’re leaving. If your employers are surprised, angry or emotional, calmly explain your reasons for leaving.

Be positive
When you resign, be positive and emphasize the things you have enjoyed whilst working for them. This could also help get a positive reference from them as well.

Be professional in your resignation letter
Make sure your letter is clear, grammatically correct, and includes the following:

  • Name
  • Date
  • The name of the person it’s addressed to
  • When your notice is effective from
  • Highlight any other information you may want to raise such as holiday entitlement
  • Your signature 

Be open and honest, not underhanded
You will achieve far more respect by telling your boss face-to-face of your intentions to leave rather than slyly dropping your notice into your boss’ office just before you head home.

Be diplomatic about your notice period
Your notice period and remaining holiday will need to be discussed. You may have an idea of what this should be, and that may differ from what your employer says.

Don’t be pushed into anything you’re unhappy with and check what HR says is correct. You don’t want to leave on a sour note so make sure you are not being unreasonable with your requests.

Be prepared for a counter-offer
Is money the reason for you leaving? If your current employer were to match your offer, what would you do? What can the new job offer you that your current employers can't?

Also, think about what impact accepting a counter-offer will have. Your current employers may view you differently as a result of this process, and your relationship may change.

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