You've found a great new job, or maybe you're just looking to move on from your role and tackle the next chapter of your life. As exciting as this is, the process of resigning from your current role can often be fraught with dread. So, what is the best way to resign, and how can you avoid creating awkwardness or burning bridges?
There is an art to leaving your job in a way that smooths the path forward for the next step in your journey. By taking a methodical and communicative approach to quitting your job, you can demonstrate your professionalism and trustworthiness – which is always a good note to leave on!
5 Steps for Handing in Your Resignation
When it comes to resigning, there is a best practice approach to take that will ensure it is received in the most positive light, however reluctant your manager might be to see you go.
Below is a step-by-step guide for how to resign gracefully.
1. Schedule a meeting with your manager
One of the most important steps to take in your resignation should be arranging a private one-on-one with your manager to announce your departure. Your manager should always be the first person in the company to know you're moving on, as this is a show of respect and discretion on your part.
Ensure you and your manager can set aside enough time for this crucial conversation and that you're able to put any potential distractions on hold during the meeting by blocking out your calendar and turning your phone off.
2. Plan what to say
When handing in your resignation to your manager, it's best not to wing it. Preparing what to say beforehand will help you clarify your thoughts and decide how to convey the message without giving room for emotions to take over.
Your manager will most likely expect to hear the reasons why you're leaving, so be prepared to explain why you're moving on in the most diplomatic way possible. Brief and tactful is the way to go here!
Additionally, remember to be clear about the date of your departure, so you and your manager can organise a transition plan and complete any necessary sign-offs.
3. Discuss your role in the transition
You should discuss with your manager how they will share the news of your resignation or if you should be involved in telling others. How this will be handled will depend on each person's circumstances, the culture and dynamics of your team and company, and other factors.
Tell your manager you'd like to check off what is needed for a handover and find out if you're expected to help hire or train your replacement. Being proactive and finding ways to help shows you're determined to leave things in good order.
4. Express your gratitude
After you've ironed out the transition details, you'll want to wrap up the meeting on a positive note. Your preparations before the meeting should help you to reflect on your accomplishments in the role.
You can use this time to express gratitude for the opportunity to work at the company and the valuable experience you've gained. Of course, there's no need to exaggerate to the point of insincerity, but focusing on the positives can make an uncomfortable conversation less daunting.
5. Follow up with an email
When the meeting is over, follow up with a formal email to your manager confirming the details of what you discussed. It's a smart way to provide a written record of the meeting and will help avoid any misunderstandings about specific details, such as your final date at work, the transition process, and what you'll be doing during your notice period.
Tips for Ensuring Your Resignation Goes Smoothly
Now that you have a plan for how to hand in your resignation, there are several points to keep in mind to ensure you're managing the process maturely and professionally.
The way you handle your resignation is how you’ll be remembered. Not all resignations are conducted in a civil or business-like way, so doing it well can be highly valuable to your reputation.
No matter how eager you may be to leave, be sure not to show any obviously negative feelings about your time in the company or role. Ultimately, you want to preserve your ability to obtain a reference for future employers, so your attitude while quitting can make a crucial impact.
For similar reasons, it's essential that you stay out of any office conflict. Any temptation you might have to get involved in office politics or say negative things about employees or the company will reflect poorly on you at a time when you could be under more scrutiny.
Instead, you can highlight the valuable experience and knowledge you’ve gained on the job. After all, there’s at least one positive takeaway from every role. This could be anything from learning how to work effectively with clients to managing some challenging projects, or learning new technical skills. Other positive aspects you can focus on include the friendships you've made and networks you've become a part of.
Thinking about these accomplishments can also help you reflect on the role as a specific chapter of your life.
It's also considerate to provide enough notice before your last day at work. Always refer to your employment contract for the minimum notice period you must give, but bear in mind that being flexible about your notice where possible is a great way to create goodwill.
Keep in touch
In most situations, it's a good idea not to burn bridges! Your professional contacts are one of the most valuable things you can take away from a role, so be sure to maintain your network after you leave your current position.
Use LinkedIn to connect with colleagues and exchange emails with them; you could also ask for recommendations where appropriate.
We advise connecting with former colleagues or sending out updates to your network about once a quarter. By staying connected on social platforms such as LinkedIn, you can also find ways to add value to your network by offering advice and sharing industry news.
While the resignation process can certainly feel intimidating, having a plan to tackle it step-by-step will go a long way towards leaving on a high note. Communicating first with your manager, following up by email and being prepared to help manage the transition will reinforce your image as a professional and potentially prevent major headaches. Keeping a positive attitude and staying in touch with former colleagues is a good way to make the most of the situation.
Do you need further resignation tips or help with finding your next opportunity? Get in touch with our Sydney recruitment specialists to discuss your options.