When it comes to leaving your job it’s important to resign the right way. A new job is an exciting time for anyone. However, it is also fifty percent of what you go through when leaving one company to join another. Of course you are excited about your new job, but you might also be slightly frightened by the idea of telling your current manager that you are going to resign and move on. Remember, exiting a company on a positive note cements your professional reputation. The way you resign from your current job has a lasting impact on your future career, as it ensures that there is always a welcoming door left open if you ever want to return, along with a glowing reference check. The importance of resigning the right way is paramount.
In this blog, we try and answer some of the most commonly asked questions that our candidates have asked us whilst finding, leaving and accepting new jobs and ensure you leave on a positive note and take your next step.
Find the answers to some of your resignation related questions here:
Keep your plans to resign to yourself until they are concrete. Attending job interviews while you are working requires juggling, but discretion is essential. Communicate to recruiters that you will only be able to contact post your work hours, and using your private email address. A common practice is to make appointments during lunch hours.
Look into your notice period as soon as you start to look for new jobs. This is something hiring managers will ask you at interviews. Read your employment contract for any insight into the notice period. If no clause is mentioned then look to your relevant industry Award or EBA. The general rule is one week in the first year then two weeks thereafter. It also depends on your seniority and role in the company; some managers have three months notice in their contracts. In Australia, you can check Fair Work Ombudsman website for legal know-how.
In most cases, your employment contract will cover this. If you have annual leave accruals, you may be able to use that to reduce your notice period, and let go of the payout. We recommend discussing this with your manager and HR to ensure there is a clear picture and process for you to follow.
We recommend the earlier the better. If you wait until Friday afternoon you might end up dampening an opportunity to discuss your next steps with your team properly. Try and give as much notice as possible, and ensure your resignation letter is ready to be shared as soon as you inform your manager verbally. Make sure your manager is the first person to know. Use our Resignation Letter Template as a guide – download it HERE.
Book a meeting with your manager. Explain that you have been offered a new role and you want to resign from your position. Tell them when you are starting your new role (ideally) and express that you have enjoyed your role there but it’s time to move onto something new. Do not get caught up in every detail of why you are leaving. Close the meeting by discussing the next steps including your notice period, handover requirements and your final leaving date. Inform your manager that you will send a follow-up email with a formal resignation letter after this.
Your manager will be keen to understand your reason for leaving. In short, the answer is it’s up to you. Whatever you choose to do be diplomatic; this is not the exit interview. It is best to keep the conversation around facts. You might say something like “I’ve been offered an opportunity that is more in line with my long-term career aspirations and feels like the right next step after two wonderful years here at this company”.
Most managers will want to know why you are leaving, it is best to keep this conversation brief and don’t go into too much detail, your focus now is to get a finish date and completing your notice period and handover of your tasks.
If your employer is keen to keep you on, prepare for a counteroffer. While a counteroffer is flattering, consider your long-term career aspirations and goals. Weigh the rewards and risks and ensure you explain the reason for your decision to your employer. If you do consider staying, ensure you are in it for the long term and don’t start looking elsewhere again in a few months. It is important at this point to really weigh things up, read our blog on counteroffer navigation here for further details.
The end is in sight now; remaining dedicated to your job throughout your notice period might seem like the last thing you want to do but think about lasting impressions. Avoid the temptation to say “it’s not my headache anymore”. Start finishing up your loose ends and prepare a comprehensive handover. Let key stakeholders know the details of your replacement. Finally, say goodbye to your colleagues, previous managers and thank them for their role in shaping your career!
Sometimes the reason you are leaving needs to be addressed. We suggest the best way to do this is to request an exit interview. This gives you and the company a chance to confidentially address any concerns/problems/room for improvement you may wish to discuss.
A letter of resignation is a legal document stating your exit details and marks the official start of your notice period. A simple resignation letter includes details of your manager, notice of termination of employment, the effective date. You may also want to add a few extra sentences thanking your manager/company for your career growth and your commitment to your replacement. Use our resignation letter template; we also recommend this resource from The Balance Careers.