How to resign from a job
Resigning from a job is something that most of us will have to face at some point in our careers – and there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. If you’re thinking about quitting your job, here’s our best-practice guide to help you decide when to resign and how to resign.
Before submitting your resignation letter
- Be 100% sure you’re ready to resign
If you’re unhappy at work and it’s starting to affect your productivity and attitude, it may be time to reflect on whether it’s time to move on. But resigning is not something you should undertake hastily or impulsively.
Take your time and weigh up the pros and cons before deciding to resign. Avoid a knee-jerk reaction you might regret later, especially if you don’t have another job to walk into. If you’re feeling dissatisfied, ask yourself whether your current role could be improved enough for you to stay on – or if there’s another, better role available in the same company. Consider a meeting with your manager, to see if they’re able to address your issues and make changes that could encourage you to stay.
- Check your legal requirements
If you’re convinced it’s the right time to jump ship, first look into your legal requirements. How much notice are you required to give? Are there any ‘no competition’ clauses in your contract? Read the fine print in your contract and make sure you’ve covered off any legal obligations.
Resignation Checklist & Tips
- Write an official resignation letter
Make your resignation official with a short, straightforward letter. Email or hand it directly to your supervisor/line manager, and also give a copy to your company’s HR department.
- Offer feedback if requested
Your company may ask for feedback from you, often in the form of an exit interview. This is a good opportunity for you to provide constructive feedback after resigning – but avoid the temptation to be overly negative, as this will only make you appear unprofessional. It’s good form to thank your employer for the opportunity and experience they provided.
- Retain a good work ethic
The end may be in sight – but you’ll leave a better lasting impression if you remain as dedicated and hard-working as the day you started. Avoid the temptation to ‘check out’ prematurely – your boss will thank you for it. Unprofessional conduct might come back to haunt you, especially in a world that is increasingly connected. You don’t want a poor reputation to precede you in your next job or interview.
- Prepare a comprehensive handover
In addition to finishing projects, tying up loose ends, organising files and letting relevant stakeholders know who to contact once you’ve left, it’s generally expected that you will prepare a comprehensive handover for your replacement. This way, anyone who is required to take over your tasks will be able to do so with relative ease. Leaving incomplete or perfunctory handover notes will only demonstrate your lack of professionalism and care.
- Parting words
Say a final ‘goodbye’, whether it’s emailed around the company or announced at a gathering on your last day. Thank your employer and colleagues for the opportunity to work with them. Again, you’ll be best remembered by how you present yourself in your final moments, so make an effort and leave with your head held high.
How to resign: Dos & Don’ts
DON’T resign too hastily – especially if you don’t have another job lined up. Remember, it can take three to six months to find a new job and you may not be eligible for unemployment benefits if you quit. Remember the golden rule: it’s easier to find a job when you already have one!
DO leave your workplace as you found it. Remember to clean up the files on your computer, deleting any personal emails and organising files clearly for your successor (if appropriate). Clean your desk and take home any personal belongings.
DON’T brag about your new job. Be modest and discreet – even if you’re inwardly whooping for joy.
DO ask for a written reference that you can keep on file, in case you ever need it in the future. It’s much easier to get one before leaving, rather than coming back to your old boss at a later date.