After weeks of prep and hard work, you’ve just landed the job you’ve had your heart set on, and things are about to get very exciting indeed for you. Before you start looking forward to that, there’s the small matter of handing in your notice. And for some, this can be just as nerve-wracking as the new job jitters themselves.
It doesn’t have to be. There’s a right way to leaving your current job, one that keeps things professional, cordial and keeps those key relationships strong. After all, the last thing you want to do is end up burning a few bridges upon your departure.
Don’t know what to say when leaving a job? Below, we’ll show you how to leave on a positive note, including some tips on what to do (and what not to do) when working your notice period.
Advice for handing in your resignation
Write a professional resignation letter
Even if you and your job haven’t seen eye to eye, then you should never be tempted to use your resignation letter as an opportunity to air your grievances about the company, your line manager or your colleagues.
Instead, your resignation letter should include the following information:
- The address of your current employer
- The full name of whoever you’re submitting the letter to
- Your final day of employment, determined by your contract’s notice period
- Your full name and signature
You might also want to include a sentence or two explaining the reasons why you’re leaving. You don’t have to, but since you’re aiming to maintain a positive relationship with your soon-to-be former employers, it’s usually considered polite. It’ll definitely help with getting a reference from them too.
And remember, don’t send the letter before you speak to your manager.
Speak to your manager
With your letter written up, it’s time to book in a meeting with your boss so you can hand it to them. Do this before you tell colleagues of your decision; it’s an important discussion, one that creates something of a challenge for the business. You don’t want office gossip to reach your boss after everyone else already knows you’ve got one foot out of the door.
Remote working throws something of a spanner in the works, but of course, there are ways around it. If you’re fully remote, then it’s well worth arranging a video call to discuss things with them.
Prepare for counter offers
There’s every chance your employer won’t want you to leave, and so you may receive a counteroffer in the form of more money, a promotion or more benefits.
Counteroffers need to be delicately handled. You have your reasons for leaving, would more money or a promotion be enough to make you stay? Or would the same problems still make their presence felt? If you decide to stay, provided they cater to your terms, then be sure to have an answer prepared.
If you know that nothing will convince you to stay, then you can still agree to listen to what they have to say, but be cordial when laying out why you’re proceeding with the new job. Rather than saying “nothing would make me say”, saying something more along the lines of “this a real opportunity I’ve been presented with” to keep things as neutral and cordial as possible.
Working your notice period
Of course, you’ll still have a notice period to work, and that can be anything from a month, three months or even half a year. In that time, it’s easy to be tempted to take your foot off the pedal and coast for the remainder of your employment. Keep things professional by doing the following:
- Do keep doing your job
Ultimately, you’re still being paid to do your job. And if you want to remain professional, then you’ll still have to carry out what’s in your contract to the best of your abilities. Now is not the time to slack off.
- Be respectful of your employers and colleagues
If there were certain colleagues you struggled to get on with, then you should avoid the temptation to air your feelings about them. Even if you were a model employee, a moment of disrespect as you reach the finishing line could be everyone else’s lasting impression of you.
- Do offer to help with the transition
The business is going to be a person down while they look for your replacement. One of the best things you can do is offer to help with pitching in with the transition. Whether you craft the job description or sit in on interviews, your efforts will most definitely be appreciated.
- Carry out the handover properly
Similarly, you can make your replacement’s life easier by creating a handover document, email or pack for them. Be sure to let your manager know you’re doing this, as you don’t want your efforts to end up going to waste if they have other plans.
In your document, you should lay out your responsibilities, along with how you go about doing these. This is also a good opportunity to explain specific software that’s needed to carry out your role, as well as things such as handing the correct forwarding details to clients, and letting your team know the location of certain files.
You might even want to use a screen-sharing video platform to record a video for your replacement to show them certain parts of your job along with a voiceover explaining anything that might get tricky or confusing for them in their early days.
You should also avoid doing the following in your notice period:
- Don’t slack off or neglect your duties
- Don’t use any company time for carrying out personal duties
- Don’t disclose any confidential or sensitive information
- Don’t bad mouth the company or co-workers
Leaving the business
With your loose ends tied up in the run up to leaving, all that’s left is to say goodbye – and there’s a right way to do that too.
Prepare for your exit interview
If your employer has arranged an exit interview, then be constructive in your answers, but be honest and polite. Businesses use these to improve their retention rates and find out more about their culture. Not only will you do senior staff a favour, you could be doing your team a favour – there’s a good chances the answers you provide them here help with any cultural change the business wants to implement.
…Or have a one-to-one with your boss
You might not be given a formal exit interview. If this is the case, you can always arrange to have a one-to-one with your manager instead. You can use this as a bit of a debrief with them, and if you got on well, then be sure to thank you for the help they’ve given you over the years. You never know if your paths will cross later down the line.
Say goodbye to your colleagues
Of course, you won’t want to leave without saying goodbye to your colleagues. Even if they don’t go any further than the office, you’ll still want your relationships with them to end on a positive note.
Collect any social contacts
If you haven’t already, connect with your manager and co-workers on LinkedIn – and take the chance to ask them to write a recommendation for you on your profile too!
Write up a thoughtful farewell email
A thank you message when leaving a job is a great way to leave a positive final impression. On your last day of work, send out a company-wide email to let everyone know that you’re leaving – but be positive about your experience during your time there. It might also be worth leaving any personal contact information you’re comfortable with sharing if you’d like others to stay in touch with you after you’ve left.
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