Best Way to Resign
First, make sure you have considered all your options:
- Do you really want to quit? Make a list of all the reasons why you want to resign.
- Have you pursued all possible avenues for advancement within your current firm?
- Would you still resign if you were offered more money or a promotion?
- Have you stopped to assess how your career is developing? Talk to your boss and ask how they think you are doing.
- Consider whether you will be better off in your new job. Consider money, location, career and personal development as the main factors.
- What does your heart say? What does your head say?
The resignation meeting
- Always resign in person!
- Work out what you are going to say and then stick to it. Your boss will likely try to press you for more information. There may be details that you don't want to share at this stage. Don't be obstructive, but simply make it clear that you are submitting an oral resignation.
- Emphasise the positives: you never know when your career will mean that you cross paths with your former employer, so don't dwell on the negative aspects of your time at the firm.
- Expect a reaction: unless your boss is expecting you to quit, your decision may come as a surprise. The boss may get emotional or even confrontational, in which case, stick to your prepared comments.
- Retain your composure. Your boss may now no longer see you as a team player and may even feel betrayed. Once again, stick to your pre-prepared comments and try not to rise to the challenge. Speak in measured tones and regulate your breathing.
- Always leave the meeting on a good note and be as friendly as possible. Stress that you will undertake the handover of any uncompleted work to the best of your ability. People remember both the first and last impression you make on them.
The written resignation
- A written letter of resignation gives you more time to prepare what you want to say and gives you greater control over your delivery. Use this opportunity constructively.
- In its simplest form, a resignation letter should only include the following information: name, date, the person it is addressed to, notice of termination of employment, when this is effective from and finally, your signature. If you are leaving in good circumstances and feel that you want to say a little bit more, again, emphasise the positives – perhaps thank your former boss 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 however, you're leaving in strained or bad circumstances, resist the temptation to badmouth and let off steam. Remember, your letter of resignation may be used as a stick with which to hit you later on.
- Don't get personal. Just because you are leaving, a written letter of resignation is not a vehicle to tell your former boss what you really thought of them. It is never polite to include personal remarks in a resignation letter. If you genuinely have differences of opinion with your boss, save the communication of them for another time and place. Never commit these thoughts to paper – your comments will remain in your personnel file and may come back to haunt you.
- Consider any counter-offers seriously. Are you being offered a higher salary, a move to another location, a step up the career ladder?
- Is this what you really want? Has anything changed? Why did you take the decision to resign in the first place and have these factors been effectively addressed?
- Will you have the same standing within the company? The boss may now be doubtful of your 100% commitment to the firm – in which case it may be better to move on.
- Having resigned once, will you be liable to seek alternative employment more easily next time?
- How does the acceptance of a counter-offer affect your integrity with your would-be-employers? You never know when you may cross paths with them again.
Leave on the right note
- Make sure that you have given ample notice to the company of your intention to leave. Your notice period is usually stated in your contract.
- Make sure that you have completed any outstanding tasks and participated in the smooth handover of any unfinished work.
- Ensure your boss knows that you have actively participated in this process and that you have been as cooperative as possible.
- Take time out to speak to all of your colleagues and associates. Give them support and make positive comments about their contribution to your time at the firm. Try to remain in touch because, again, you never know when they'll be useful to your personal and career development in the future.
- Negotiate a fair settlement for any outstanding salary, holiday pay and commissions that are due to you.