The way you resign from your job can have a large impact on your future career – bungle it and you could be left with a bad reference. But, if you follow the proper etiquette, the impression you leave will stand you in good stead for years to come.

1. Your letter of resignation

The first step in the resignation process would be to complete a formal letter of resignation. This letter will be kept on your file for the rest of your working life, so take care when putting it together. Take your time when compiling your resignation letter – keep it neat, simple and well-worded. Include your name, and the date from when the resignation will apply – be sure to give the appropriate amount of time for your notice as per your contract of employment or company policy document.

If you are leaving your company due to a personal grievance, you may choose to voice your concerns in the resignation letter, but try to remain as professional as possible. Resist the temptation to badmouth and let off steam, especially if you are in a negative frame of mind – your letter could end up sounding vindictive and is unlikely to ever do you any good.

If you’d prefer, you can print out and deliver your letter of resignation in person, but these days email is also considered an accepted method of formal correspondence.

2. The resignation meeting

Once your employer has received your letter of resignation, he/she may want to meet to discuss your resignation. During this time they may want to cover the following:

• Your reasons for leaving: Your boss may be surprised at your resignation, but remain composed. Work out what you’re going to say beforehand and stick to it.

• Your work obligations up until the date you leave, as well as any handover or training procedures that may need to take place.

3. Dealing with counter offers

Your employer may choose to pitch a counter offer, but before you accept consider the following:

• You should not have to threaten to resign in order to receive a salary increase or promotion.

• If you stay, your loyalty will always be questioned.

• The relationship between you and your employer may become strained, and they are more likely to remember your resignation when they are looking to promote or have to make redundancies.

• Is this what you really want? Has anything changed? Why did you choose to resign in the first place? Have those issues been sufficiently addressed?

4. The exit interview

Once your employer has received your resignation it is customary for you to be invited to an exit interview before you leave. The purpose of the exit interview is for your employer to determine your reasons for leaving. The exit interview is an opportunity for you to provide constructive feedback regarding your experience at the company, your working conditions, whether there are any changes they can make to the working system, and any procedures they need to apply to improve the moral (or lack thereof) in the office.

Be as open and honest as possible, without being emotional or unprofessional. Personal attacks should be avoided and you are under no obligation to divulge personal information about yourself or your personal views on any of your colleagues, so don’t feel pressured to say anything you don’t want to.

5. Leave on the right note

As previously mentioned, it is incredibly important for you to leave the right impression when moving on from your current employer.

• Adhere to the correct notice period as stated in your letter of resignation.

• Participate in a smooth handover and complete any outstanding tasks or unfinished work. At this time it is important to be as co-operative as possible.

• The people you work with are invaluable contacts for the future. Take the time to speak to your colleagues and associates – you may find it useful to collect names and phone details of future business contacts as well as those you have become friends with.

Overall, the key to a successful resignation is to remain as professional and positive as possible. Resigning can be emotionally draining, but it’s a fundamental part of your career progression and once done will leave you free to appreciate the exciting prospect of your new position.

Share with:

career, jobs