There is plenty of advice out there on how to search for your perfect job, how to write to a killer CV and how to nail that interview.
What some experts fail to notice is that for every new appointment there has to be a resignation.
A typically ambitious young professional could switch jobs regularly as they steadily climb the ladder of success. That’s a lot of resignations!
Is it possible to resign badly and does it actually matter if you do? Surely, it’s all about your new job and your new employer? Or is it? Learning to resign well is a skill that you need to acquire along with teamwork and communication. Your old team will not necessarily be that happy that you are leaving. They may draw the line at tears and begging you to stay but that does not mean that they are not feeling a little disappointed and let-down. On the other hand, no matter how irreplaceable you think you are, they will manage to get along without you.
Even if you are very unhappy with your team and loathe your boss, it is essential that you handle the resignation process with tact and professionalism and that you follow the accepted conventions. It can be a very small world and slamming the door on the way out will do you no good in the long run. The last thing you need is a reputation for being unprofessional and you never know when you will need a reference.
Here are the top 10 ways in which you can resign with style and maintain the goodwill of your former employer.
1. Make sure you are 100% certain about resigning
Changing your mind about resigning is a bad move. You will lose credibility and appear unable to make key decisions. Once you have handed over that letter of resignation, the process of finding your replacement will start and this can be impossible to halt or reverse. Think it through very carefully before you act. It can be helpful to write down your list of reasons for leaving and talk it through with an independent person that you trust.
2. Have another job to go to
You may have pressing reasons to get out of your current job as quickly as possible but it is usually preferable to have another job to go to. The obvious reason for this is a financial one. It could take a long time to find another job this and will have a detrimental effect on your personal finances. You will feel under huge pressure to find employment and may rush into a job that is not right for you. Also consider that any prospective employers will want to know why you are unemployed. Employed candidates are more attractive to new employers than unemployed ones. It will be easier for you to convince them that you want that particular job rather than being desperate for any sort of employment.
3. Don’t slack off whilst job hunting
It is a huge mistake to take your foot off the pedal with your current job whilst you hunt for another. It’s an even bigger mistake to think that no one will notice! It is perfectly possible to maintain your high standards, get on with your boss and work colleagues and look for another job at the same time. You may feel as though you’re leading a double life but hopefully it will not be for long.
4. Inform your current employer early on
Once you have made your decision to accept your new job, ask your line manager if you can have a chat with them. A Friday afternoon is a perfect time to do this so it will sink in over the weekend. It is polite to inform them verbally before you submit your formal resignation letter.
5. Prepare what you are going to say
Decide, in advance, what you are going to say during your informal chat with your line manager and during subsequent conversations with colleagues. Honesty may not always be the best policy! Telling everyone that you hate them and that you can’t wait to get away may well be the truth but is not the most professional approach. Instead, have a few stock phrases about this being a positive move for you, about building on your experiences and about finding new challenges.
6. Avoid confrontation
It is possible that your boss will not be pleased about your decision and may try to persuade you to stay. Remain calm, adopt a neutral tone and bring the meeting to an end.
7. Submit a formal resignation letter
You are required to submit a formal resignation letter addressed to your employer. It must include your full name, department and job title. It must clearly state that you are giving notice to leave and the date on which you are doing so. Keep it short and to the point. It must be signed and dated.
8. Don’t get drawn into negotiations about a counter-offer
Some bosses may offer incentives to make you stay. It is almost always a mistake to enter into negotiations. The reasons that you wanted to leave will be unchanged. If you stay, you are likely to feel frustrated and the promises made to you may not even be honoured.
9. Work your full notice period
This is often more for your employer’s benefit than yours but it will mean that you leave on good terms. During that time, you can help with a smooth transition to your replacement and ensure that on-going projects are not jeopardised by your departure. It ensures that you leave a positive reputation that will follow you into your new role.
10. Agree to an exit interview
Not all employers offer an exit interview but if you are offered one it is important that you attend. Use it as an opportunity to give constructive feedback on how things could be improved.