How to Resign From a Job
Understanding how to resign from a job properly will help you in your career. Remember to:
- Act formally. This means putting your resignation in writing and handing it in to your boss or line manager – not a colleague or manager in another department.
- Give notice. This is the amount of time you will continue to work after resigning and is usually covered in your contract.
- Remain positive. Even if you don't feel positive about your employer or your current job, by remaining upbeat you are more likely to leave on good terms.
- Get a reference. Your future employment options may rely on having a good reference from your boss. Unless there is an HR department which can handle future reference enquiries, ask for one in writing which you can keep.
- Inform colleagues. Team mates might want to know what is going on so telling them is important. However, you should make your resignation formal before talking to them.
- Resist outbursts. Telling your boss a few home truths or settling a few old scores might be tempting, but a formal resignation letter is not the place to do it.
Why resigning formally is important
If you are thinking about just walking out of your job due to frustrations or problems, then think again.
It is better to quit in a professional manner. This way there should be no doubt or later argument about when your final day of employment is and – as a result – what you should be paid at the end of your job.
Remember that your final salary should include an adjustment for your annual leave entitlement and any performance-related pay owed, but this will depend on the exact nature of your contract.
By resigning in writing and giving the necessary notification that covers your notice period, you may find that your employer works hard to keep you.
Having said that resignation is not really a method of negotiation and if you resign, then you must be prepared to leave.
Finally, a formal resignation is better than an informal one because it may mean you work your notice period on 'gardening leave'.
Under this arrangement, some employers will choose to pay you as if you were working for them still, but you don't have to turn up to work until the contractual obligations between the two of you are ultimately at an end.
How to resign from a job on good terms
In your resignation letter you are under no obligation to say why you have chosen to quit - only that you have.
By saying that it is “with regret” or “only after thinking hard about my options”, you should be able to leave on a positive note.
By not bad-mouthing your employer to colleagues – either current or future - your resignation should not preclude the chances of a return down the line.
Many people switch employers only to come back later. It is a normal part of career progression, so don't burn your bridges.
Knowing what to say in your resignation letter is just as important as what to leave out if you want to maintain a good relationship.
Make sure that you don't undercut any positive feeling you might have left your former employer with after resigning by later running them down with other people in the industry or via social media.