How to Resign

As with everything in life, there is a right and wrong way of doing it. This also applies to how you resign from your job. Do it the wrong way and there goes your glowing reference. However, the correct resignation etiquette will help contribute to continued success in both your personal and career development.

Are you sure?

Resignation can be hard to take back, so first, just be sure...
  • Are you making the right decision?
  • Are you sure you wish to leave? Make a list of reasons why you should resign.
  • Are there any other employment routes available in the company before you resign?
  • Would you leave if you were offered more money or a promotion?
  • How is the job going? A chat with your HR Manager or boss will give you more of an insight.
  • Will you be better off in your new job? Consider the location, how much money you will be paid, will you be able to advance personally, are there more career prospects?
  • Talk to friends and family for more input.
  • What do your heart and head say?

Resigning Orally

  • Your career path may mean that you come into contact with your employer again in the future. Do not give them the chance to draw on a bad or rude resignation. Be polite but honest.
  • Regulate your breathing and remain calm at all times. Do not raise your voice, even if your boss is upset or annoyed at your decision.
  • Everyone makes a first and last impression. Make the last one good as well.
  • Ensure that your employer understands you will handover any incomplete work to the best of your ability. Your employer will not want to worry about this.
  • You will have thought long and hard about what you want to say - stick to it.

The Written Resignation

  • This can often be the most constructive way to resign as all of your thoughts are down on paper and nothing can be taken out of context.
  • Short and straight to the point? This is your decision. You must decide what how much or little you include in the letter.
  • Emphasise the positives - perhaps thank your employer for the opportunities he / she gave you - you never know when you may need your ex-employer to vouch for you or to give you a reference.
  • If you are leaving under bad circumstances, resist the temptation to badmouth and let off steam.
  • Never get personal! Perhaps you didn't like your boss, but this is not the way to tell them.

The Counter-Offer

  • Consider any counter-offers seriously. Will this sway your decision? Are you being offered more money? Promotion?
  • Has anything changed? Will this change the reasons why you resigned in the first place?

Leaving on the Right note

  • Make sure that you give your employer plenty of notice. All contracts will have a notice period - normally 2-4 weeks.
  • Make sure that all outstanding projects, training or takes have been completed and handed over.
  • Make sure that your boss knows you have been as helpful as possible.
  • Make time to talk to all of your fellow co-workers. Take telephone numbers and e-mail addresses and make sure you stay in touch.
  • Negotiate a fair settlement for any outstanding salary, holiday entitlement and commission payments that are due to you.