How to Resign Gracefully From Your Job

If you feel that you have done your time in a company and it’s time to move on then you will be expected to hand in your resignation and work out any notice that is stipulated in your Contract of Employment.

Notice periods will vary, but the rule of thumb is that if you’re paid weekly you will need to give at least one week’s notice.

A monthly salary suggests you should give at least one month’s notice, and management roles tend to require at least 3 months notice.

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Resignation Letter

Your letter of resignation should be short and to the point, but it should include the following:

  • Your name and contact details.
  • Should be addressed to your line manager in person, at the company’s address.
  • State a brief reason for leaving the company. This should not be rude or a personal attack on your boss. Even if you don’t get on with your manager and this is the main reason for you leaving, it is not a good idea to state this as a reason. Instead say that you want to progress your career, or that you feel you will have more opportunity for promotion in a larger company etc.
    Confirm your suggested last working day (although this may be negotiated with your employer).
  • State that you would be happy to train up any new employees if required, and provide a suggestion of how you will hand over your projects or clients to colleagues.
  • Thank the employer for the opportunity to work with them, and particularly any training they have given you etc.
  • Sign-off with “Yours sincerely,” and your signature.

Bear in mind that this letter will be held on your personal file and will probably be viewed by senior management so don’t write anything that you may later regret or get someone’s heckles up which could lead to negative references.

Working your Notice

There are times that working out your notice period is difficult or awkward. This is especially if you have had a difficult working relationship with your boss or colleagues, or if individuals in the company feel that you are ‘leaving them in the lurch’. Make this as peaceful and enjoyable time as possible by continuing to do your job to the best of your ability.
Make sure you provide as much detailed information as possible to colleagues taking over your role. Make notes about files that you have been working on and/or direct colleagues to where they can find extra information about accounts if necessary. If you are the only one doing that job then you will need to ensure someone else can carry on that role until your replacement arrives to speak to your line manager early to work out a plan of action.

Try to maintain a professional approach to everything that you do. You might be leaving and think that nothing you do matters any more, but your boss and colleagues will have a different point of view. Not to mention that you still need references which may not be requested until you have already left the post. If you haven’t been hard-working in your last few weeks of employment then your manager will have every right to give you a poor reference, which may cost you your new job”

There’s also the scenario that the new job isn’t as wonderful as you had hoped, and in 6 months time you could be calling up your boss, cap in hand, begging for your old post back. It may seem unlikely now but it has happened many, many times!

In summary

It may be daunting telling your employer that you want to move on to a different company, but in reality we are all people and the sooner you let your boss know, the sooner a plan can be put together. Think of it from the other side: as a boss I would prefer to be told early and have 3 months notice than be told 2 weeks in advance that someone has decided to leave their job. If I have 3 months notice I can advertise a job and probably find a replacement for the employee to train up before they leave.

Make sure you stay focused on the job that you are doing, and avoid daydreaming about your new life ahead of you!

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