How to resign gracefully

Beate OeraCareer management, Resources for candidates

Negotiating pay rise - why it's a bad idea to interview or resign

Once you have made the decision to change jobs, your next concern will be to secure a graceful exit.

Resignation letter. This should be simple and to the point. You need to include the following information:

  • Name
  • Date
  • Person it is addressed to
  • Notice of termination of employment
  • Your signature

 However, this is also a good moment to thank your employer for the opportunities you’ve had.  A resignation gives you a chance to control the message you give, and you should keep it polite and positive throughout.

Staying professional. Your resignation letter will likely be followed by a meeting with your boss, in some cases several. Continue to keep the tone positive and professional, but you should also be prepared for an emotional, or even confrontational, response. Do not rise to this or react. You never know when you will come across the same people again, and you also have your reference to think of. You may have things you wish to get off your chest, but now is not the time.

Counter offers. You may well receive a counter offer, and you need to prepare for this. In some situations, this may be a desirable outcome, but consider this carefully before accepting.

Your employer may feel you are holding them to ransom, and staying under such circumstances is never advisable. Whilst you may receive a better package in the short term, your resignation will leave a sour note, and will have eroded some of the trust, which in turn might make you more dispensable to your employer. It may also damage your credibility with your would-be employer, which could become an issue in the future.

Leaving on a positive note. There are a few other things worth considering:

Be fair when negotiating any outstanding pay, holidays or bonuses.

Likewise, when negotiating your leaving date, help your employer by giving them time to find a replacement and aid with the handover if they request it.

Once your exit has been confirmed and you are working your notice, make sure to complete any outstanding projects, remain positive to your colleagues and complete your employment in a professional manner.

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