Whether you’ve outgrown the role, found something better or just need a new challenge, resigning from a job is something you occasionally have to do.
But before you go writing that resignation letter too hastily, consider the impact your departure will have: on you, your colleagues and your company. Here are some factors to think about to make sure your resignation goes as well as it possibly can.
How do you professionally resign from your job?
Whether you’ve been in your role for a year or many years, it’s vital to maintain your professionalism, even as you leave the company. Last impressions count just as much as first impressions and it’d be unwise to let an unpleasant end to your time ruin otherwise good relationships. Here at agp, we offer executive outplacement services to help executives leave their role and transition seamlessly into a new one.
Do honour your contractual notice period
This is absolutely vital – for several reasons.
Firstly, you don’t want to leave your former employer in a difficult situation, where they don’t have enough personnel to go about business as usual. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine how you’d feel if somebody left you in such a tight spot.
Secondly, failing to honour your notice period won’t reflect well upon you. And you never know when you’ll meet or work with former colleagues again. A reputation for being unprofessional and inconsiderate can follow you around, particularly in industries where people from different companies frequently mix. Leaving before your notice period ends can even harm your future career prospects.
Also, you should think about your replacement. You might be able to help in the recruitment process, because who knows the role better than you? And if a replacement is found quickly enough, you can even help to train them, which will be a great help to both them and your former employer.
By all means, if you need to, you can try to negotiate your notice period down. You may find that your former employers don’t need to serve the full period and then you can take some well-deserved time off or start your new role earlier.
Do write a formal resignation letter
This doesn’t need to be a detailed document, but as with everything else in business, it’s best to formalise your resignation.
Format it like a formal letter, addressed to the appropriate person and including your name, position, signature, the date and when your resignation will come into effect. Of course, you should check your contract carefully (particularly the notice period) before you draft this letter.
You don’t have to state your reasons for leaving, but if you do, it’s best to only include positive reasons. Keep it professional, thanking the person for the opportunity if you’d like to do so. Your resignation letter is another chance to maintain relationships and leave the role on good terms.
Do tell your employer before telling others
It’s an exciting time when you secure a new role and it can be tempting to tell everyone – including current colleagues – the good news. The problem here, however, is that your employer won’t take kindly to getting the news from somebody else. Make sure you inform them before almost anyone else: it’s the professional thing to do and it shows them respect.
Do find another opportunity first
Times are hard, economically, so it makes sense to have another position before you resign – even at C-suite level. The job market is unpredictable at the best of times, so you may find another role more difficult to secure than you thought. Plus, it’s much easier to find a new role when you’re still working: there’s less pressure, for one thing.
With our years of experience in executive search, we can make the process a much smoother one. Executive coaching can help you to hone your leadership skills, to become a more inspirational executive and a more attractive candidate.
And although we specialise in areas like retail executive search, hospitality & leisure executive search, luxury recruitment, consumer goods executive search and travel executive search, we have extensive connections in various industries. As a result, we can match talented people to executive roles that are just right for them.
What should you not do when resigning from your job?
Even though you’re leaving, you still need to make sure your last weeks at your current company don’t turn sour. Here are some missteps to avoid.
Don’t leave on bad terms
Even if things went wrong somewhere along the way with your employer, do your best to avoid leaving them on bad terms. It really doesn’t benefit anyone, least of all you.
It could be that you require a recommendation from your former employer at some point, or maybe you’ll need to call upon the relationships you built in the future. If you leave on bad terms, you’re closing doors that you might need to walk through later on.
Don’t brag about your new role
It’s completely natural to be excited and pleased about securing a new role. And once they know you’re leaving, your colleagues will be certain to ask about your next steps. Just be careful to avoid stepping into bragging territory.
First of all, nobody likes that kind of behaviour. Secondly, you shouldn’t forget that your colleagues are staying at the company, so it’s not a good idea to criticise the organisation. Stay away from bragging to maintain relationships nurtured over the years.
Don’t lose your motivation or professionalism
Just because you’re leaving, you shouldn’t lose focus or put any less effort into your day-to-day duties. If people think you’re letting your standards slip, that’s the lasting impression they’ll have of you after you’re gone. And word can quickly get around, particularly in close-knit sectors.
Wouldn’t you rather be known as someone who gave a job their absolute all, right up until the day they left?
Don’t forget to leave a handover and tie up loose ends
Nobody knows your role better than you do. You can help your successor out greatly by leaving detailed handover documents, including who to contact if they’re unsure about anything in their new role. If you like, you could leave your contact details for them, as a courtesy.
And since nobody knows your current workload better than you, do your best to tie up any loose ends before you leave. You’re in a much better position for doing this than your incoming successor, who’ll need some time to settle in and figure out how processes work.
Don’t forget to say goodbye to your co-workers
It takes no time to send a short farewell message to colleagues, letting them know where you’re going and wishing them the best for the future. Again, this small gesture will help to protect your professional reputation.
Of course, this is the ideal opportunity to pass on your contact details, should you wish to. After all, you might have worked with these people for years – and you may do so again in the future.
Whatever your reasons for resigning, it’s easy to pay less attention to your current role when you’ve decided to leave it. And that might lead to a messy resignation, which will undo some of your hard work in the role. Following these dos and don’ts will make sure