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How to Resign

With every new and exciting job offer comes the dreaded conversation with your employer that you are moving on.  If you're a crucial member of the team and have a great relationship with your boss, it may be difficult announcing you are heading for the exit door. Having invested in your career development, your boss will no doubt be gutted to see you depart.  Even if you hate the job and can't stand your boss it is important to manage the resignation process in the best way possible.

If you're unsure about how exactly to go about handing your notice in, our guide can help you resign with professionalism:

When to tell your boss

Once you've been offered another job, it's time to tell your boss. Initially, you should inform your manager orally of your decision to leave. Friday afternoon is probably the best time to do this - it will create distance between you and your employer over the weekend and will minimise the effect it has on the team's morale and productivity for the week.

Prepare what you are going to say in advance and then stick to it - particularly if you are asked to provide information you'd rather not disclose. It's really important to leave this initial meeting on good terms, if at all possible. This means retaining your composure - even if your boss takes the news badly - and trying to focus on the positives of your time with the business. The conversation may be awkward, but it is one you need to have.

Write a resignation letter

As well as notifying your boss in person it is customary to draft an official letter of resignation. This should be addressed to your immediate superior and include; your name, notice to leave, when this is effective from and also your signature. Hand it to them after you have discussed your resignation verbally.

Your resignation letter is also an opportunity to add other information, such as a thank you to your employer. Although not essential, there is no harm in including a short, positive message. Any grievances that you have should be saved for your exit interview.  Your resignation letter will be kept on file so it could be a mistake to criticise the company or your colleagues in this way.

Ignore the counteroffer

If you are a highly-valued member of staff, your employer may make a counter offer in an effort to keep you.  Should you consider it?  If your sole reason for leaving is your current salary, it would have been far simpler to negotiate a pay rise with your employer weeks or months ago. If there is other underlying reasons behind your decision to leave these are unlikely to change and if you decide to remain with the organisation how long will it be before the frustrations arise once again.

By accepting a counter offer, you might miss a huge opportunity to advance and develop your professional career. Another 12 months down the line, you might just be drafting another letter of resignation. Furthermore, the trust between you and your manager will be broken, and often difficult to repair.

Work your notice

It goes without saying that you need to work your notice period, as stated in the terms of your employment contract. The only exception would be if it is mutually beneficial for you and your existing employer to bring your departure date forward.

Your primary focus during your notice period is to ensure the smooth handover of clients, accounts and uncompleted work to your colleagues, or the person taking over your role. Unless the transition is seamless, you're in danger of leaving a negative last impression - one which will stay with your former managers and colleagues for good. It is easy to lose interest in your job once you know you are leaving, however, you will always be thankful for leaving on a positive note.

Attend an exit interview

You may be invited to an exit interview towards the end of your notice period. Make sure you attend this, and try to be as cooperative as possible during the Q&A session. Your employer will want to know more about your decision to leave, and your perceptions of their organisation as a whole. This is an excellent opportunity to offer constructive suggestions as to how things could work better, but resist the urge to be overtly negative if you can.

Whatever the nature of your relationship with your employer, it's important to be resign with grace, tact and professionalism. Providing you fulfil your responsibilities, and adhere to resignation convention, there should be nothing to worry about.

If you would like to read more tips on managing your career, check out our helpful guides here.

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