Helping to enhance careers

The resignation process – how to resign

  • 1. Leave for the right reasons

    It may seem obvious, but resigning for the wrong reasons is something that we see all the time. We come across this regularly in recruitment. People move jobs very easily because they think the grass is always greener.

    We recommend assessing all of your options first – so that you’re totally clear on the reasons why you’re leaving and you’re 100% sure you’re moving onto something better. If you aren’t 100% sure then don’t do it.

    What are good reasons for going? Typically, it’s for one of four reasons – Dissatisfaction with your remuneration package, lack of career progression, how you’re being managed or because you simply want a change.

  •  2. Prepare for the counter offer

    One of the biggest mistakes we see on a regular basis is people not preparing properly for a counter offer. Once you’ve decided to leave, make sure you anticipate any head-turners that might be offered to you, such as a pay rise or a promotion. Give careful consideration to these and whether they would give you a good enough reason to stay.

    By not correctly anticipating or preparing for these offers you risk becoming confused and making impulsive decisions when they materialise. The sudden offer of a promotion might seem appealing, but think about why you weren’t offered one in the first place.

    If you’re not presented with a counter offer, don’t get too disheartened. Most people who accept counter offers leave six months later anyway – rarely do they solve the problem, they tend to just delay the inevitable.

  • 3. Write your resignation letter

    Traditional resignation letters are a thing of the past. These days, it’s more common to send an email calling for a meeting, during which you announce your resignation. However, it is still good practice and professional etiquette to write a formal letter of resignation, most employers will still require one for their records. Keep this letter short and to the point but also respectful and courteous.

  • 4. Ask for an exit interview

    While exit interviews have become standard in larger organisations, they still are not commonplace in small to medium-sized companies. Resignations mainly occur over email but the best way to manage one is by requesting a meeting with somebody from HR or with your line manager.

    Once you’ve called the meeting, make sure you prepare for it and then structure it effectively, otherwise, you won’t get all you can from it. Start by setting out your motives for leaving – honestly, but in the most diplomatic terms possible. An exit interview is ultimately for the benefit of the company, it’s about concluding and gaining closure whilst learning about areas of the business that could be improved.

    If you want to air grievances, this is also your opportunity to do so, but be careful not to risk blackening your name, especially if you could be reliant on obtaining a reference from employees of the business. Sometimes it pays to be a little cautious with the truth. Looking after your future interests is of paramount importance.

  • 5. Don’t abuse your notice period

    Let’s face it, we’ve all been there: resignation letter in, motivation out. But this is not the way to do it. Plenty of people resign and then abuse their notice period by not working in the correct manner, missing time and generally taking advantage of the last stretch. Don’t do it. Leave in the appropriate way by working hard throughout your notice period – be the same person that you were before. Be professional to the last minute so that you can leave with your head held high and with your credibility intact.

    If you’ve got a new job and you’re ready to write your resignation letter: congratulations! If you still need to find that perfect job, contact us or explore our vacancies to see what we have that might attract you.