Insight Blog

How to Resign Right

How to Resign Right According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, younger Baby Boomers held an average of 12.3 jobs from age 18 to 52. Although the length of employment at a position tends to be greater if an employee is hired at an older age, there were still some surprising numbers. Among roles started by 35- to 44-year-olds, 36% ended in less than a year, and 75% ended in less than five years.

Important to note is that these statistics cover multiple career levels across all industries, and surveys can be skewed by job hoppers or by those changing roles within the same organization. Nevertheless, resigning from a position is something most American workers will do at one time. Even when it is for a positive reason, such as taking on a new career opportunity, it can still be a difficult thing to do. Having a resignation plan can alleviate some of the negativity and awkwardness that can occur during a transitional period in one’s life.

Before submitting your resignation

Prior to resigning, consider whether you would accept a counteroffer from your current employer. If so, maybe the new opportunity is not exactly what you are looking for, or maybe there is an issue with your current situation that can be resolved. Salary is not the only reason for a career change. Unfavorable company culture, poor management, lack of growth potential or flexibility, and a difficult commute are some others. Before resigning, it is important to consider why you want to leave your current role and whether the new opportunity addresses that issue.

It is strongly recommended that you wait until you are fully committed to another opportunity, and that you have accepted a written offer of employment, before resigning.

Consider the timing of your resignation and give your employer adequate notice, which is normally two to four weeks. Depending on the seniority of your role, it may be longer. Think about any vacation days or commission/bonus payments that are due to you and what the company policies are concerning those upon termination of your employment.

Draft a resignation letter that is brief and professional. It should include a statement that you are leaving your position, the proposed last day of employment, and an expression of your appreciation for the opportunities and experiences you have had at the organization. The reason for your departure is optional to include; however, it is helpful to have your response in mind should your supervisor or a human resources professional ask you in an exit interview.

Be prepared to leave the organization on the day of your resignation if that is the culture of your employer. Some are known to immediately escort an employee out of the company. Therefore, a few days before your resignation, sort and collect personal items from your office or desk and plan to turn in your company-provided equipment and tech devices (cell phone, laptop, accessories, etc.)

Actual resignation

The news of your resignation should be delivered to your direct supervisor in person with a supplemental letter (mentioned above) provided for your personnel file. It is suggested to resign in the afternoon so you can leave the office after the meeting. Maintain professional and tactful behavior in the meeting without becoming overly emotional. Because news travels fast, do not tell anyone else in your organization before notifying your immediate supervisor and ask him or her for advice on notifying your immediate reports.

Thank your employer for the opportunity allotted to you, regardless of your current working relationship.

Offer your assistance in recruiting and training the individual who will replace you.

During your last few weeks

Maintain regular working hours, if not additional hours, and your normal work ethic. Skirting responsibilities or not completing agreed upon tasks is an irresponsible way to end a relationship with an employer, especially one that contributed positively to your career growth. Leave a lasting, good impression. If there are any unfinished projects, or critical initiatives, discuss the status of them with your supervisor and team members and reallocate the workload if needed.

Provide personal contact information to colleagues who you want to keep in touch with and/or who you may want to use as a future reference. With social networking platforms, such as LinkedIn, this effort is much easier.

Communicate with your new employer—either hiring manager or human resources representative—during your resignation process and last few weeks. They will appreciate receiving a status update and confirmation that the start date still works as well as knowing you are excited about the new position.

If you have an exit interview, handle it professionally. Determine in advance how much you are willing to share about the reason for your departure. Be honest without being harsh or overly negative. It is important to your career and your personal brand to leave on a good note.

When you join your new employer

The most important things to remember when you begin your new opportunity are not to share negative information about your previous employer or colleagues and not to disclose proprietary information about the organization. Consider what you learned in your last role and how it brought you to where you are today.

By following these recommendations, your resignation can be a positive experience for yourself, your previous employer, and your new organization.

If you are planning your resignation, or recently had an employee resign and need recruiting advice, please contact us to reach a Helbling search consultant.