Telling your boss you want to leave is never easy - in fact, even if you hate your role, don’t get along with your boss, and just can’t wait to leave the company, there is always a right and a wrong way to go about resigning. You never know where you’ll end up in the coming years so it’s wise to act with caution and ensure you don’t burn any bridges along the way.
Here is your 5 point checklist on how to resign the right way:
1. make sure you are sure!
Weigh up the pros and cons of leaving your role. Are you leaving because you want a higher salary? If so, have you asked your boss for a pay rise? Are you leaving because there is nowhere for you to progress? Perhaps your manager can work on a clear career progression path with you. Do you have another role lined up? In the current economic climate it may be difficult to search for a job and land one straight away after leaving your current role.
2. check your contract for the required notice period
Most contracts include a notice period, regardless of whether you are in full time work, part time work or on a contract role. Check to see what the required notice period is, as you may be asked to work out the full period while your employer looks for your replacement. If in doubt, a month’s notice is usually the most appropriate time frame for full time work, or 2 weeks for contract/casual.
3. write a letter of resignation
Type up a written letter which you will use during your formal meeting with your manager (see step 4). The letter should be courteous, and briefly outline your notice period and intended end date. If you have found other work or are leaving for health reasons etc., you can include these reasons for leaving in the letter.
That said, steer clear of documenting any emotional reasons - if you are leaving because you don't get along with your boss, then it is best to leave this unsaid. Make sure you keep a copy of the letter for your records, and sign and date both copies.
4. organise a face to face meeting with your manager
Your resignation should be done formally with a written notice of intent, not via phone or email. Arrange to meet with your manager and bring your letter of resignation with you. During the meeting, offer your manager the letter and explain clearly your reasons for leaving the business.
Your manager may try to probe into the reasons why you are leaving, so try to keep negativity out of the situation. There is no point leaving on bad terms - especially when how you react now could hurt you in the long run if your manager were to harbour resentments about the way you left.
Instead, emphasise the positive aspects of working for the business, remain cool-headed and mention that whilst you regret leaving, you feel it is time to move on. Discuss how the transition and handover period will be handled, and offer help where you can.
5. ask for recommendations
Obtaining a written letter of recommendation (or an agreement from your boss to act as a verbal referee) is important, even if you already have a new role lined up for you. During your final week at the company, send your boss an email (or request a face to face meeting with them) to thank them personally for their leadership, and to ask if they would be willing to write you a letter of recommendation.
Don’t limit your recommendation to just your manager - seek out recommendations from clients you dealt with, your fellow colleagues and even suppliers - anyone with whom you had regular contact during the course of your role, and who would be able to vouch for you. If you have a LinkedIn profile, you can use the recommendations feature to obtain and display these.
Resigning can feel like an arduous task - however, you owe it to yourself and your career to handle it in the best way possible. Make sure you remain calm, think positively and ensure that no matter what happens, you leave on good terms.