How to Resign From Your Job

I’ll admit that I’m a fan of those “I Quit” videos you see online, where an employee (who has typically been mistreated) walks out of their job after quitting in a dramatic fashion. But, let’s be honest, that’s not a smart way to leave any position. Ultimately, you want to do what’s best for you, of course, but leaving on a positive note will help make the transition easier and allow you to tap your network in the future.

Leaning on a clock illustration

How many jobs does the average person have?

Do ensure you’re resigning for the right reason

Really think about why you’re looking to quit. If you’ve had an amazing job offer, it’s probably going to be worth the leap. If you’re feeling burnt out, stressed, or anxious from your work and you just want to quit to get away from it, it might be best to speak to your manager first.

Don’t talk to colleagues about your decision before your manager

Do talk to family and close friends about your thoughts

It’s always a good idea to talk about big changes with those who have your best interests in mind. Additionally, discussing the situation can help you to clarify your own thoughts and move you towards a final decision.

Don’t act on a rash decision

Do make sure your new job offer is finalized first

There’s nothing worse than handing in your notice only for a job offer to fall through. If you’re leaving for another job, it’s best to hand in your notice after you’ve received a signed written offer letter first.

Should you leave your job before you get another one?

Every situation is unique and personal, so there isn’t really a right or wrong answer. It’s always a safer decision to leave a job with another one lined up due to the risks of leaving spontaneously. That being said, if you’re financially prepared to take some time off, it can be a good idea to step back to focus on your next move.

It’s highly likely you’ll need to share a reason for your resignation. Your boss will probably want to know why you’re resigning and your future employer will be interested in what motivated you to look elsewhere. You should always be tactful when speaking about your decision to leave your current position. Doing so will help you remain on good terms with your soon-to-be previous employer.

Should You Give Two Weeks’ Notice?

Time to Quit

Giving two weeks’ notice is the standard practice when resigning from a job, but in some cases, you may be required to give more notice. If you have an employment contract or union agreement that states how much notice you should give, abide by it.

Do keep in mind that your employer doesn’t have to accept the notice you give, and your employment could be terminated immediately. In other cases, staying may not be an option. There are a few good reasons not to give two weeks’ notice—find out if your situation is one of them.

Do you need to have another job before quitting?

Some experts say you shouldn’t leave until you have another opportunity lined up. That’s good advice but not always feasible, especially if you’re at your wits’ end. If your financial situation allows you to swing a period of unemployment for a while (being realistic about how long that period might be), then you might consider going against this advice.

Claman says there are two situations that warrant resignation without knowing exactly what will come next: first, when you believe something illegal or unethical is going on at work and you are concerned it will reflect badly on you, and, second, when your current job is negatively affecting your health and your life outside of work.

She does suggest that prior to giving notice, however, you put together a plan that includes when and how you’re going to resign (more on that below), whom you’re going to use as references, and, most importantly, what you’re going to say to your employer about why you’re resigning.

Handing in your Notice

Once an employee has their resignation in writing, the next step is to inform their manager. It shows courtesy in informing the manager in charge before announcing it to the wider company. Here are some best practices:

Schedule an in-person meeting –Despite hybrid working becoming the norm for many, there are certain times when an in-person meeting would be ideal. One of these moments is handing in your notice. If an employee cannot organise an in person meeting with their manager, they should schedule a one-on-one video call.

Give at least the required minimum notice – When an employee arranges their call with their manager to hand in their notice it’s important that it’s organised at a date well within the minimum notice period. When an employee does this, it shows respect for the company facing the loss and allows time for them to find a replacement. It also allows for those leaving to get any urgent deadlines completed and extra time for general organisation before departure.

Have an explanation as to why you’re leaving – In most cases, employees can build strong relationships within their team. Therefore, it’s critical, to be honest when leaving. It’s proven that when employees express thanks and show honesty in their exit interviews and resignation letters that managers are more likely to respond positively.

Offer to help with training the replacement – Alongside creating a handover document for the replacement, offering to help with training is something that can make an employee’s departure less daunting for an employer and helps keep good relations with soon-to-be ex-colleagues.

Thank them – It sounds simple but it’s true. An employee handing in their notice isn’t something any managers want so when gratitude is shown it can put a positive spin on the situation. If an employee is looking for a reference before they leave remaining on friendly terms is also important.

Employer Counteroffers

A counteroffer is a salary increase or promotion offered in response to an employee handing in their notice. This is an employer’s last bid attempt to keep a trusted colleague on the team. Post pandemic, counteroffers have been on the rise due to ‘The Great Resignation’ and the global talent shortage. The next blog in our Candidate Series will explore counteroffers in more detail.

Damaging any professional relationships on your way out the door will likely hurt you down the road. People will remember you by your last days and if they are negative, your professional reputation will be tarnished. Keep this in mind after you hand in your notice. If you need any advice on handing in your notice our specialist recruiters are here to help. Get in touch.



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