Resignation;  everything you need to know


By this stage you’ve done a lot of thinking; invested a lot of time and effort in the whole interview process; educated yourself in your new company/culture and you’ve weighed up the opportunity and decided to make the break and leave your current employer.  The next step, the resignation is not always an easy process, especially if you’ve forged some good relationships with your team and your boss.  You will probably feel a sense of loyalty to your current boss, the best way to manage that loyalty is to remain positive and professional throughout the resignation process and period.   How you leave says a lot about you.


Remember, as tempting as it might be, you must never resign until you have received and accepted a formal offer from your new employer. 



The resignation meeting – consider the following:



Think of a resignation as you would a job interview. It is a formal process after all.  Prepare what you are going to say, and the immediate outcomes you want to achieve from the meeting, such as agreed leave date and who will be informed and how this news will be announced.  Make sure you tell the right person first (even in confidence), be careful an influential player doesn’t find out inappropriately.


Be honest and cooperative

Don’t withhold the truth, tell them upfront you are leaving and give them a well constructed reason for your resignation.  Try to avoid negativity, keep the meeting on a professional level, explain the highlights of your new opportunity.  If you can, negotiate a leave date that suits your employer as well.


If your resignation is ‘out of the blue’ – be realistic

Expect a reaction from your employer.  Allow time for the reaction to your ‘bombshell’.   If your manager becomes confrontational, don’t respond with similar behaviour.  Revert to your prepared comments and remain calm. 


Be succinct, but diplomatic

Whether you are telling your boss in person, or in writing, get straight to the point.  If you think it is important to express negative experiences – do this face to face rather than in writing (again, prepared comments may be useful rather than doing this off the cuff).  Avoid being unnecessarily critical or personal.


Be appreciative

Thank your employers for your personal and professional development and experiences etc.  Thank your colleagues for what you have learnt from them.  Accentuate the positives – find something good to say.  You always want to leave on good terms, you never know when your paths will cross again.


Agree course of action

Clarify and agree when this decision will be announced (internally and externally), how and to who.  Be sure you understand what’s been agreed or decided.   Your employer may decide to withhold going public (for a number of reasons, one of which may be to prepare a counter-offer for you) until key people and Customers have been notified.  If this is the case, make sure your new employer is aware of this timing aspect so they do not announce your commencement with your new employer ahead of time.


Try to get a definitive leave date agreed as soon as possible. 


Garden Leave

If your employer asks you to leave immediately, do not be too concerned or take it personally.  This is a commercial decision, and they will be seen to be protecting the business.  Employers are ordinarily invited to go onto garden leave when they are leaving to join a competitor, and it is commercially sensitive for them to remain in the business. 



During the resignation period, consider the following:


Don’t burn your bridges

No matter what your circumstances are surrounding your resignation, your professional reputation can be tarnished depending on the way in which you depart.   You might need to rely on your previous employers for references, advice or you may find yourself working for them again in the future.  Always do your best to leave on good terms.


Look after number one

Make sure you know what you are entitled to when you leave (such as unused holiday, bonus, notice period). Remember your holiday allocation may be reduced if you have not worked a full holiday year. Also, be aware of any tie-ins, such as funding towards qualifications, financial support provided towards relocation, etc


Keep in touch

Be proactive about keeping in touch with former colleagues.    You should also keep in touch with your new employer too, as often as possible.  And keep in touch with me too!  There shouldn’t be any surprises for anyone along the way, so open communication is imperative.


Accept the inevitable

You will probably find increasingly, that you are invited to less meetings.  Don’t take this exclusion personally, it is all part of the departure and handover process.


Anticipate the counter-offer

Always do your thinking BEFORE you get the counter-offer, not afterwards.   If you receive a counter-offer ask yourself what has changed and why wasn’t I worth this offer yesterday? Keep in your mind the reasons why you decided to accept this new position.  Think about the longer term implications of accepting a counter offer for all parties involved – you, your perspective new employer and your current employer.   Remember, once you have resigned the relationship with your employer shifts, regardless of whether you stay or leave, as the trust relationship has been broken.   And do not to submit to your Employer playing the emotional card!



Resignation letter


Keep it brief and formal.  Avoid emotion in the content, including comments that could give your employer ammunition they need to develop a counter-offer.  Ensure you detail your desired leave date.






Please accept this letter as my formal resignation as (TITLE) for (COMPANY) to become effective as of today, (DATE).  This resignation is final and irrevocable, as I have accepted a new position. 


I believe this position will offer me more challenges and opportunities for advancement as well as allow me to broaden my own experiences and knowledge. 


I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your time and efforts in my training and development during the past (X YEARS ) and the experience I have gained.  The support shown by you and the rest of the management team has been appreciated.


I leave (THE COMPANY) with good memories and no animosity or ill will, and wish you and your company continued success.  To save potential embarrassment for everyone, no counteroffers will either be entertained or accepted.


Yours sincerely