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The Right Way to Hand in Your Resignation

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The Right Way to Hand in Your Resignation

There are many different emotions people experience when they leave a job, from euphoria and elation through to trepidation and dread, as well as everything in between. Whatever your reasons for leaving a role, the actual act of handing in your resignation is not something most people look forward to, even if the reason for leaving a role is negative. As tempting as it is to rush in and gleefully announce “I’m out of here”, this is not the recommended approach! Job offers get rescinded even after contracts are signed, counteroffers are made and accepted, and professional paths will be crossed down the line. It’s best not to burn any bridges, as tempting as it may be.

I would also never advocate using a resignation as a way of negotiating a pay rise or promotion. If you believe there is a possibility your needs can be met without leaving, you should always start with having conversations about your career goals and aspirations. 

Below I have outlined a short guide to making sure you resign in the right way. 

Know your obligations and contractual requirements.

Before you push the button, you need to be 100% sure you know what your contractual obligations are, and be prepared to fulfil them. You may want to negotiate, and there will often be room to accommodate you, but there is no hard and fast rule other than what is in writing. In our experience, more people expect gardening leave or an early exit than actually get it. 

Be open and honest about your reasons for leaving BUT….

Keep to the facts and keep emotions out of it wherever possible. If you are looking for a new challenge which your current employer can’t provide, or you are looking for personal reasons such as moving to another part of the country, then it is a relatively easy conversation. But if there are “push” factors such as feeling overlooked for progression, job related stress, or personality clashes in the team, you need to carefully plan how you are going explain your reasons for leaving. Always be direct, but never make personal attacks. Consider saving more in-depth rationale for your HR team or exit interview if you have one. 

Be firm, if you don’t want to be persuaded to stay – stand your ground!

By the time you get to the point of resigning you will have been through the process of considering all your options. You will have spoken to friends and family and taken advice. And here you are. Prior to resigning, remind yourself of all the reasons you are taking this step, and work out how to best articulate these reasons. Remember the cost and time involved in replacing you is a major factor in why an organisation will want you to stay. Stand your ground, be firm and leave little room for doubt. 

Be prepared to deal with a counter offer

A counter offer may well come your way anyway, so you need to be prepared. If you are considering accepting it, take time to sit down and list all the reasons you looked to leave and see if the counter offer satisfies your requirements. I would suggest that most time it will not, even if a healthy pay rise or promotion is put on the table. Think long term and remember, an overwhelming majority of people that accept a counter offer will still move on within a year.

Be professional until the very last minute!

Whether you feel relieved, excited or nervous about leaving you still have to work your notice, but that is no reason to burn your bridges! Remember that anything can happen in the future, you may well end up crossing paths with your colleagues again. It is not uncommon for us to see whole teams move between companies in some industry sectors. Remain calm, professional and respectful towards your colleagues. This way the door will always be open to you, references will always be positive and reputations preserved. 

Read more expert career advice here.

Get in touch here if you have any questions.