Changing jobs is a normal part of life, and it can often be the fastest way to advance in your career. But when the time comes to tell your current employer you're leaving, it’s important to do it the right way. The last thing you want is to burn bridges.
First thing’s first: before taking the leap, read over your employment contract to determine how much notice your company requires and in what form. Many employers ask for two weeks’ notice in writing, and it’s important that you follow the resignation procedure outlined in your contract.
Why Is a Two Week’s Notice Important?
A two weeks’ notice period gives management some time to prepare for your exit. It might include finding someone to take over your responsibilities, training your replacement, and ensuring company data and resources are secure before your departure. Notice periods usually go two ways, so if you’re required to provide your employer with two weeks’ notice, then they’re usually required to provide you with a similar amount of notice before any dismissal.
It goes without saying that departing abruptly would likely leave management in a challenging situation. This could create animosity with the employer and reduce your chances of receiving a positive reference for future roles. Even if you don’t think you need a reference at that very moment, circumstances may change later. Remember word travels quickly, especially if you’re staying in the same industry or you’re planning on furthering your career in the same location.
To keep all your options on the table in the event that you need them in the future, resign respectfully, provide as much notice as possible, and stay on good terms with all your former employers.
How to Quit Your Job Respectfully
Leaving your job doesn’t have to lead to any hard feelings if done the right way. Employers appreciate it when good professionalism is maintained even during departure. Here’s how to resign from your job respectfully.
Let Your Boss Know Face-to-Face
Although most companies require written resignation, your boss may feel blindsided if you hand in your notice without speaking to them first. Ideally, arrange a one-to-one meeting to discuss your departure. If it isn’t possible to do it face-to-face, then a video call or a phone call will suffice.
And while your contract may only require two weeks’ notice, it’s common courtesy to give as much notice as possible. You’re also likely to receive questions regarding why you are leaving, so be prepared with a respectful answer. In addition to this, consider the possibility that they may try to give a counteroffer to convince you to stay. Be sure to reflect in advance if it’s something you’d be willing to accept including what it’ll take to keep you.
Write a Resignation Letter
Before we share some resignation letter sample templates, here are some tips for writing a professional and respectful letter of resignation.
Resignation Letter Writing Tips:
Be formal and concise. Clearly state your date of departure and avoid including unnecessary details. Keep things professional and stay away from adding anything negative about the company.
Keep it short. Your letter should be no longer than one page at most.
Stay positive. Write warmly about the time you spent working in the company. Expressing gratitude can go a long way towards maintaining a positive relationship with your former employers.
Offer to help with the transition if needed. This may involve training your replacement if time permits and ensuring responsibilities are transferred seamlessly.
Although you are not obliged to share your future plans with your soon-to-be former employer, a brief explanation on why you’re leaving can be a nice touch. You could be leaving for any number of reasons such as a higher salary, more opportunities for progression, relocation, family reasons, or simply job dissatisfaction. While honesty is usually the best approach, you can state that you’re leaving for personal reasons if the alternative may come across as negative or you don’t want to share too much detail.
Tell The Right People
You might feel the urge to tell your colleagues about an exciting new job offer you received before you hand in your letter of resignation. But it’s essential that you hold off on sharing the good news until you have formally resigned. Office gossip can travel quickly, and your boss may hear rumors about your plans to move on before you hand in your notice. It wouldn’t be ideal for either party, so keep everything under wraps until your boss is in the know.
Email your formal letter of resignation to both management and HR first. Only after discussing and finalizing it with your employer is it then advisable to start sharing the news with colleagues and even clients.
How to Write a Letter of Resignation
A letter of resignation is a formal written document that lets your employer know you intend to leave your job. While a letter of resignation is not a legal document, it’s still important to create one for legal reasons. If your employer wants to claim that you left your job without providing any notice, which would be a breach of your contract, your letter of resignation will act as your proof against any such claims. When you submit your resignation letter via email, it also provides electronic proof of your resignation date. As such, if there’s any dispute over your final payment, there is clear proof of when you submitted your notice.
Here’s an example of what a letter of resignation looks like:
While most employers will accept a resignation email, it’s more professional to sign a formal written letter that can be attached as a PDF document. You could either sign it electronically, or print, sign, and scan the document for sending via email.
Remember, this letter will be kept on file as part of your employment records so be sure to keep it professional. If you request a reference from your former employer in the future, they might reference your resignation letter to establish your reasons for leaving the company as well as the terms you left on.
Sample Letters of Resignation
If you’re not sure where to begin, here are two sample letters of resignation to get you started.
I am writing this letter to notify you that I intend to leave my position as [position name] at [company name]. Please consider this my two weeks’ notice. My last date of employment will be [date].
After much consideration, I have decided to accept a position elsewhere that will provide more opportunities to progress my career. I remain available to support the team in any way possible and ensure that the transition period goes smoothly for everyone while I’m still on board.
I’m very appreciative of all the opportunities this role has offered me during my time at [company name] and wish everyone the best moving forward.
Please accept this as my letter of resignation. After much deliberation, I have decided to leave my role of [position name] at [company name]. In accordance with the two weeks’ notice period agreed upon within my employment contract, my last date of employment will be [date].
It has been a pleasure working with everybody at [company name]. During my time here, I’ve always felt incredibly supported by my direct team and the organization as a whole. The experience I’ve gained in my role has been invaluable for my career, but I must now move on for personal reasons.
I would like to ensure that this transition period is as seamless as possible, so please let me know if I can be of any assistance before I move on.
I wish the entire [company name] family all the very best in the future and hope that our paths may cross again.
Thank you for your time,
What's Next for Your Career?
Now that you have handed in your notice, where do you go from here? Firstly, keep in mind that it’s never advisable to badmouth your former employer. Networking is half the work of building your career, and you don’t want to sever potential opportunities because of a loose tongue.
And while it’s always ideal to have a new job lined up before you resign, it’s not always possible. Due to individual circumstances, you may have had to leave a job quickly before another one is confirmed, or you may have decided to take a small career break before taking the next step in your chosen profession.
Nonetheless, finding a new job can be time-consuming and challenging, but using the right job search platform helps to ease some of that pressure! Start your job hunt with Joblist today and take the stress out of landing your next dream role.