Telling your employer that you no longer want to work for them is always going to be a delicate situation. Regardless of the reasons why you’re handing in your resignation, it’s essential to try and leave gracefully. It’s much nicer for everyone involved, and you never know when you might need a former employer again.
If you’re in doubt on how to keep things chipper when handing in your notice, check out some of our tips below.
Always be professional
Whatever the reason for quitting, professionalism goes a long way. Not everyone leaves their job on happy circumstances, but how an employee resigns says a lot about their character.
While bashing out a tirade of temper might feel great at the time, making career enemies is never good. Always stay respectful and professional, you never know who you’ll work with or for in the future!
Do it in person and in writing
Where possible, always let your manager know of your intention to leave in person with a resignation letter. It demonstrates your professionalism in uncomfortable situations.
It’s not always possible to do it in person, depending on where your boss is at the time or whether you work remotely, for example. If this is your circumstance, always try to arrange a phone call before handing in your notice rather than sending a short email.
Following that, ensure you have a letter written that clearly states your intention to resign, with the date of your final day included. Thanking the company is often a good idea too. It doesn’t have to be a long note, and there are plenty of templates you can find online that demonstrate what you need to include.
It may look a little like this:
Dear [your boss’s name],
Please accept this letter of resignation from my position as [your job title] with [company name]. Per the terms of my contract, my last day of work will be [date of your last day].
I have really appreciated my [number of years of employment] years at [company name], and all the opportunities that it brought me. I’ve learnt some great skills that I will take with me through my career and have really enjoyed having the pleasure of work with some great people.
I will do what I can to help make my leaving as easy as possible for both the company and me. Let me know what you would like me to do in the way of handing over my responsibilities during my final [month, two weeks… whatever your notice period is].
Best wishes to you and all at [company name] in the future.
Follow your contractual protocols
You should always give enough warning and complete your notice period when you’ve handed in your resignation. Many contracts will have a set notice period and staying until the end of that time, unless there are exceptional circumstances, is the best thing.
Don’t slack off during your notice period either. Ensure deadlines continue to be met and targets reached, so you don’t leave the company in squalor when you finish up. Add an extra layer of helpfulness by offering to train your replacement if appropriate too.
Depending on the type of work, there may also be limitations in contracts about hopping over to work with a competitor. The company may be liable to sue a former employee if they are in breach of the previous contractual agreements, including heading to a competing company. So check what your contract says and stick with it.
Inform your colleagues
Unless you’re in a company of two with you and your boss, there’ll be other people to inform of your resignation. The best way to do this depends on the nature and size of the company and what your boss recommends.
In a large company, emails are often a good way of quick info dissemination. Including a thank you to your colleagues helps to leave things on a more respectful note. Alternatively, you can always tell your colleagues in person if appropriate. Figure out what works best for you and your company and go with that.
Ask for a reference
This goes back to leaving on good terms with the company – you will probably want to ask them for a reference. Depending on the nature of work and the circumstances of leaving, references can vary widely.
Companies do not have to give a reference, unless there is a written agreement to do so, so including this request in a follow-up email is a good idea.
If a former employer does give a reference, it must be fair and accurate. Some might be super short and just include the title, salary and time worked. It’s uncommon for an employer to give a bad reference, but if you offer your resignation disrespectfully, you’ll ruin your chances of getting a reference altogether.
Contingency plan before handing in your resignation
Many people quit their jobs because they’ve been offered another job. This is usually the ideal scenario as you won’t be left in the lurch money-wise or worry about not finding another job.
If you do have another job to jump to, however, it’s worth ensuring everything is all set in stone before quitting your current one. Make you sign your contract or at least have it confirmed in writing, and a start date agreed.
Quitting your job is most likely going to be an uncomfortable situation for all involved, but getting through it professionally, and with everything in the right place, will leave a good taste in the mouth of your former employee and ensure you don’t burn any bridges.
About the author: Leaving behind the sunny weather of Australia, Emma Mackenzie traipsed to beautiful Scotland last year to continue her writing pursuit. With a wide variety of interests Emma loves writing about anything and everything. And usually drinking endless cups of tea while doing so.