You have your new offer in writing and you've decided to accept it; ever resourceful, you also know how many days leave you have outstanding and you’ve checked your contract to confirm how much notice you need to give. It’s time to write your letter of resignation.
Endeavour to keep your letter of resignation as short and sweet as possible. Avoid any negative comments that could compromise your previously pristine employee file, focusing instead on your new role and the new company. You are not obliged to disclose details of your new salary.
Here are two examples of resignation letters:
- Example 1 - This is a letter for those who are prepared to work their notice.
- Example 2 - This is a letter for those who are not prepared to work their notice.
THE RESIGNATION MEETING
This meeting is best had face-to-face with your manager; make sure it has defined timescales to give you control over what may be a potentially uncomfortable situation. Keep your language as unemotional and businesslike as possible; this isn’t an opportunity for you to get everything off your chest. Your reference still hangs in the balance and a sincere offer to help with the handover process will set you in good stead. Some companies have a policy of asking you to leave immediately if you’re going to work for a competitor. Be prepared if this is the case.
THE COUNTER OFFER
A counteroffer might make sense for your employer as it will be expensive to replace you. They may tempt you with more money, a promotion, more holiday, whatever it takes. As flattering as it is, there are disadvantages to accepting a counter-offer; your employer may trust you less, you won’t be able to resuscitate the offer you’ve just worked so hard for and it’s unlikely that the circumstances that led you to look for another job will change. Research also shows that many employees accepting a counteroffer choose to leave within a year of doing so.
YOUR NOTICE PERIOD
When working your notice period maintain a professional demeanour, keep to your hours and help as much as possible with the handover process; make a list of all ongoing and outstanding projects so that you can advise your manager accordingly.
THE EXIT INTERVIEW
The exit interview helps a company gather constructive feedback to pass on your successor. It also serves the unspoken function of ‘shaking hands’. Again, be positive throughout and resist any temptation to malign colleagues; it’s unprofessional and risky as there’s no guarantee that you won’t be working together in the future.