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How to resign in style

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Leaving a job is a big decision. Consideration and preparation is essential.

Despite your feelings towards your role, shouting about your resignation from the rooftops whilst throwing desk papers in the air and running out the building is not recommended. No matter how strong the desire, there is a way to resign to ensure you take your professional reputation with you and you don’t burn any bridges.

Here’s our top tips to help you maintain your credible image through the resignation process.

1. Prepare yourself

Be sure

Before resigning, ask yourself if you’re 100% sure of your decision. Consider what is driving your move. If your decision is based around salary, negotiate a pay rise in the first instance. If you’ve fallen out of love with your role, try reigniting your passion for the job again. If you’re experiencing issues with a manager or in disagreement with colleagues, explore your options for dealing with these conflicts. If you’ve made up your mind to resign, commit. Keep in mind you may receive a counter-offer, so get prepared for that scenario too.

Find another job first

Although resignation situations differ, it’s ideal to have a new job lined up before you make it official. Without a new role awaiting you, your last weeks or months at your current job could become stressful when you add in the pressure of looking for a new job.

Know your contract

Familiarise yourself with your contract terms and notice period before accepting a new job and resigning. Most roles have a notice period, which means you are contractually obliged to work for a certain amount of time from the day you hand your notice in.

2. Give official notice

Face to face is best

Be professional and respectful by handing your notice in face-to-face. Arrange a private meeting with your manager to explain your situation and outline why you’re leaving. In larger companies this might not be possible, in which case a Skype meeting or phone call is a good alternative.

Although you’re not obligated to tell your manager about another job offer, honesty is often the best policy. If your employer asks for feedback about the business, ensure you’re professional and provide constructive insights.

Resignation letter

Follow up with an official letter. Keep it brief and polite – you do not need to go into detail about why you’re leaving and where you’re going to. Include the following:

  • Reiterate the information provided to your manager; that you’re leaving your role at the company by a specific date.
  • Highlight that you will ensure a smooth transition and carry out any handover required.
  • Reference gratitude for the experience, if it’s relevant.
  • Finally, thank the company for the time you’ve been there.

3. Work your notice

Notice period flexibility

Although you can ask for your notice period be waived or reduced, unless you’re going to a competitor, quite often employers will want to get the most out of you before you leave.

If you do work your notice, remain professional and work until the end of your notice period. You’re still contracted to do your job and you’re still getting paid to do it.

Don’t mind being left out

Managers will want to ensure your projects are completed before you leave and may opt out of involving you with new projects because of time shortage before you leave. This can make working your notice feel uncomfortable, leading to possible tension which you may need to be prepared for. Don’t take it personally.

Nail your handover

A handover is an essential part of your notice period. When your manager finds your replacement, take adequate time to train your successor. Delegate unfinished work and create a detailed handover document which outlines your daily responsibilities, major projects and processes and tips for completing your tasks to the highest standard. During your notice period, let your contacts know you’re leaving and inform them of their new contact and assure them of a successful handover.

4. Leave with grace

Always the professional

Although your new role might be on your mind, maintain your professionalism in your final month of your current one. Show commitment to complete all your tasks and ensure you keep up your work ethic to the highest standard.

Exit interview

Attend your exit interview. This is an opportunity to provide honest feedback that could prove valuable to your organisation. Put your personal feelings aside and provide constructive feedback.  

Give thanks

Finally, on your last day thank your manager and team for their support during your time there and wish them well.

Visit RED’s blog for more valuable career advice and top recruitment insight.

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