How to resign…professionally!

You have now secured your next career move and now you have to resign from your current position. There can be a mixture of feelings for many people as some people feel happy, some are clearly overjoyed, and some feel guilty, with this many people can feel anxious or uncomfortable resigning. Worrying about resigning is a common feeling with it being ranked as one of the most stressful things to do at work. Whether the reason is about being overworked, a lack of recognition, or just a better opportunity, the way to resign is something we rarely do well in the workplace however, there is always a need to do this professionally.

I thought it would be helpful to outline some things you can do when resigning and what you MUST always do. Here are the points to remember both in your email/letter, and in person:

  • Prepare a resignation letter or email in advance. This letter should be succinct and to the point. However, I recommend this as a follow up from personally telling your manager. It is not very professional to send a letter or email completely out of the blue without warning.
  • Be professional: although you may have a bad experience in your workplace or with a colleague or manager it is important to maintain professionalism and not include these issues in your resignation letter. Remember you may need them for a reference in the future and it is bad business to burn bridges.  You might never know when you will cross paths in the future.
  • Don’t get too personal: you don’t need to give a reason if you prefer not to. You can easily say you have found a new opportunity, or would like new challenge or simply it is time to “move on”. Just because you are leaving does not mean you should lower your professional standards and remember to do what you are comfortable with.
  • Give appropriate notice: check your contractual obligations and state what date you are handing your notice in from and when you plan to finish although you can confirm this if you would like to finish sooner if possible especially if you are on a longer notice period.
  • Be thankful: Be sure to thank the employer for the opportunities they have offered you and that you wish the organisation all the best for the future.
  • Protect your reputation: if you are in a senior position you could offer to assist in finding and training a suitable replacement if timing allows. Also, make sure you support the handover process and tidy up your affairs prior to leaving. You don’t want the lasting impression to be you left everything in a mess when you left.
  • Proof read your letter/email: make sure you check your letter for grammar and spelling mistakes as you still want to maintain your professionalism.

Over and above these pointers, I must stress, if you can try not to resign before you have found another role this is best.  You will always be in a stronger position when applying for different roles or negotiating the salary as the recruiter will have to work “harder” to secure your services.

I hope this helps and wish you the best in your next career move!