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How to Resign Well?

by Nicki Wilson

Never an easy thing to do, but if you do it well you can benefit yourself for the future. Regardless of the history and the background as to why you are resigning it is so important to go out with grace and to best maintain the status quo as much as you can.

Some essentials to be mindful of when resigning:

Keep it professional

Discussing offers, potential moves, salaries and the like with your colleagues or future work colleagues is a NO GO. Not only is this unprofessional but it shows disloyalty, poor integrity and it is extremely unprofessional. Wait until the ink is dry and it is official that you are moving to discuss anything as this could jeopardise not only the offer but also your own reputation. Imagine for some reason it did not work out you may close the door to returning to your old job or even in the future close opportunities for yourself.

Check your contract

Every contract will have slight differences and you must know your notice period, the terms of what happens when you leave, even double checking your gratuity entitlement, your holiday entitlement etc so everything is aligned prior to resignation is a good task to do. This is a good reminder of what the company you work for owns i.e., laptop, phone, even intellectual property in your possession.

Prepare the letter

Regardless of whether you are resigning face to face (I would always recommend face to face) or officially via email you must create a resignation letter. If its in writing and ready to go you:

  • cannot change your mind …well you could but it might give you the strength to not change your mind!

  • be ready in case there is a counteroffer or even a bit of conflict

  • have something to visualise if you are having to say it out loud

  • if via email it is professional to have a letter and not a blasé email

In the letter you do not need to stipulate reasons why you are leaving, it needs to be factual, include some great experiences you had during your tenure, it is also essential to thank your employer for the opportunity (an expression of gratitude can go a long way).

An example of a paragraph within a letter format could be:

“Dear Disney,

Please accept this letter as my formal notification of resignation from XXXX.I truly appreciate the experience and growth opportunities I have gained during my time working with you; my successor, like me, will be fortunate to be a part of this supportive team. If I can assist in any way with this transition do let me know. My last working day will be XXXX


Minnie Mouse”

Schedule a meeting

It will always be best practice to resign face to face, if this is viable schedule the meeting with HR, your line manager or boss to verbally resign before sending the letter. If this cannot be done face to face for whatever reason, a zoom call would be the next best thing, followed by a phone call and in the last instance an email. It is an absolute no to do this via WhatsApp, and it is surprising how many people thing that is ok. This is NOT OK.

Check the workload

After you have informed your employer that you are resigning, ensure to rap things up and help the transition. Dependent on the industry you are in you might have clients or teammates who rely on you. Helping the transition will tie up any loose ends and make it easier all round. You may work with some of these people in the future so leaving a great impression on them even during your departure is paramount.

Exit meeting

It’s now your last day! Likely but not always there may be the final meeting to discuss any ongoing projects, the handover and ensuring everyone is aligned now that you are leaving. Make sure you have noted down everything you have done during your notice period to transition this smoothly. During this meeting it is good practice to prepare any password for laptops or documents for your employer to access information that belongs to them, have your laptop wiped of personal items ready to give in,

Say Goodbye

Take the time to write a personal email to your colleagues, to notify them of how they will be able to keep in touch with you in the future and to thank them for contributing to your experience at the company.

Following this structure will ease the resignation process and be best practice for leaving your employment whilst maintaining relationships, ensuring ease of transition and just leave a positive feeling all around.

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