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Resigning with confidence

You’ve done the hard work, completed the interview process and come out the other end with an offer for your next dream job… what now?

As excited as you are for your new opportunity, it can also be a time of trepidation of having to break the news to your current manager and team – how will they respond? Will you be walked immediately, or are you facing a tough few weeks ahead to serve out your notice period?

Most importantly, how will be you remembered? You can’t control how others will feel about your decision to move on, but you can significantly impact how they respond and their lasting impressions of you long after you have left the building.

The resignation process

There are three key stages to the resignation process:

  1. Preparing to resign

  2. Handing in your resignation

  3. Working out your notice period

Preparing to resign

Before you have the conversation with your manager, take time to consider how you wish to deliver the message and your responses to some likely questions. These may include:

  • When and where to have the conversation – e.g. during a one-to-one catch-up versus in a team meeting? In a meeting room versus an open-plan office? At the start or end of a meeting

  • Check your required notice period – you need to be aware of the minimum requirement, consider the expected timeframes for starting in your new role, and may consider offering to stay for additional time if it is a crucial time for your team.

  • Why are you leaving? – If there is a negative reason behind your decision to leave will you tell your manager and, if yes, how will you broach the issue?

  • Where are you going? – Some people are happy to tell their manager about their new employer, others choose to keep it to themselves. Ensure you are aware of any company requirements to notify them if you are moving to a competitor and use your good judgement – the world is a small and very interconnected place in this day and age!

  • What would it take to make you stay? – Be prepared that your manager may try to keep you by offering a salary increase, time off or additional benefits, so it is best to have considered how you will respond to any such offers before your resignation conversation. 

  • Being prepared to respond to these questions and address any difficult matters with tact is a crucial first step to leaving a positive impression.

  • Resigning is always difficult as it can feel quite personal - this is where your Ambition consultant can really help you through this process. They are there to support you and help you decide the best way to approach your current employer.

Handing in your resignation

It is considered best practice (and common courtesy) to resign in person whenever this is possible. If this is not possible, a phone call is your next best option; it is highly recommended not to resign by email or text as the first point of notice. 

During the meeting, you should discuss and agree on your end date based on the required company notice period and your personal situation. You will need to include the agreed end date in your resignation letter to ensure it is accurately documented and there is no opportunity for confusion closer to the time. 

Once you have given verbal notice you should promptly send through written notice of your resignation.

Working out your notice period

Whatever the length of your notice period, it is highly recommended that you serve it out to the best of your ability to ensure you are remembered in a positive light after your final day.

During this time you should continue to deliver high-quality work and meet deadlines, and be committed to completing handover notes, meetings and the up-skilling of your replacement. By your last day make sure your work area and projects are in order. Leave things in the same condition you would like to see them if you were your boss or replacement.

You may want to ask particular managers, colleagues and/or direct reports for recommendation references. Even if you have already landed a new job, look further down the road; it doesn’t hurt to keep recommendations on file and up to date on LinkedIn.

Final thoughts 

Moving on from a job or company can be a time of apprehension and an emotional rollercoaster. While you may feel nervous about leaving the familiarity of your current situation, remember to focus on the positive opportunity you have been offered with your new company. Do not feel guilty for leaving; the company will survive without you.

Be professional and courteous and deliver your best effort during your final weeks to ensure you are remembered for all the right reasons. Then look ahead to your new opportunity, complete with fresh challenges and all the excitement that goes with the start of any journey. Congratulations!

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