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8 steps to follow for a professional resignation

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Leanne Ganley Resignation

By following a few simple guidelines a resignation can be painless and professional. This ensures a good reference both now and in the future:

1. Prepare a short letter simply stating your name, your job, and that you are resigning from the position effective from (the date). Then state that “This begins my notice period, and I have advised my new employer that I will be starting work with them on Monday (insert date)”. Then add your signature.

2. Decide who you want to break the news to. Your initial objective is simply to resign. This can be done through your line manager, an alternative manager, or Personnel. If your manager is on holiday you should resign with the Personnel team to get the ball rolling. They will be discrete and quite often they will allow you to break the news to your boss a few days later.

3. Do not use the resignation meeting as chance to let off steam. It can often lead to ill feeling, which may damage your reference. If you need to let off steam – go out with friends!

4. During your resignation avoid being negative. If asked for feedback, focus on the positives of the new job and not the negatives of your old job. This will help keep things pleasant and professional in any circumstances.

5. If at any time you feel uncomfortable with any questions that your employer asks, you can take the heat out of the situation by suggesting that you “speak again later”. Approach personnel, a colleague or an alternative manager for support, or if applicable speak to your recruitment consultant.

6. Make a mental note of any “difficult” subjects or topics. For example you may have one or two reasons for leaving that are sensitive, a personality clash, dissatisfaction with a new company policy etc. It is tempting to get this off your chest at the resignation, but it may lead to conflict and unpleasantness and may cause a problem with a reference. Make a mental note of these ‘hot topics’ and avoid being drawn on these subjects.

7. Avoid blaming the company, colleagues or your managers. Keep everything positive and ‘general’. Avoid specifics and avoid being drawn into subjects, which you would rather not discuss.

8. Your new boss will be keen to know when you are starting so that they can start to make plans and get organised. Be sure to keep them informed.

For further resignation advice, watch our short video below: