*please do not start your letter of resignation with “So long, suckers!”
**…maybe sign it off that way though

Well, well, well—check you out, super star! You’ve only gone and bloody done it, you’ve landed the job you wanted! Kudos. You’ve competed against numerous other candidates—some who didn’t even make it to interview, but you’ve smashed every single stage and now they want you on board!
You’ve told your family, you’ve popped the champagne (and dealt with the subsequent hangover), everything’s looking peachy.
There is still one slight bump to overcome—actually handing in your notice.
It can be daunting. It should be daunting. At the end of the day, if you’re a valued employee who’s been with a company for any amount of time, then you’ll have built relationships and developed skills there–it can be a lot to walk away from, and that is nerve-racking.
It’s something that everyone who works on a permanent basis must do at some point (unless they’re the ones asking you to leave, I know which option I’d prefer…)
So, deep breath:

Why did you want to leave in the first place? What triggered you even applying for a new position? Or *shudder* speaking to a recruiter?
Application processes are often long and very stressful—you need to take the time to write up your CV, find positions to apply to, speak to recruiters, and then attend multiple interview stages at multiple organisations.
At the very least, it’s time consuming.
At most, it can be very nerve-racking and stressful, as you come up with excuses to be out of the office (“Yes, yes, I’m going to the dentist again…Yes, my wisdom teeth just keep growing back…”), and prepare to sell your experience and personality in an interview (“I’m a real team player, I love the team, I’m all about the team, there’s no ‘I’ in team—but coincidentally ‘I’ do prefer to work alone, so can I work from home?”).
You wouldn’t go through all of that if there wasn’t a good reason to warrant starting this process in the first instance. So, keep this reason in the forefront of your mind all the time and let it drive you.
• Are you underappreciated?
• Do you have issues with management or the team dynamic?
• Do you want to work somewhere closer to home?
• Do you want a better work-life balance?
• Are you bored of the work and need a new challenge?
• Is there a lack of progression opportunity?
• Are you underpaid?
Does your new role solve your problem?
Before you even consider leaving a position, you should ensure that the problem you’re facing is long-term, and not resolvable. Don’t make a hasty decision to leave just because you’ve had a bad day, and you should ensure that there’s nothing you or your company can do to make the issue better i.e. speaking with your manager about moving you away from Moaning Myrtle who spends her whole day b*tching about whoever’s not in the room.
Thinking about and remembering your reasons for wanting to leave will keep you focused.

It’s vital that you give a dated letter marking your resignation. Nothing too lengthy; I would recommend the opposite. Short and sweet, keeping it professional and to the point.
Something along the lines of:
“To ****,
Please consider this letter as notice of my resignation. I am more than happy to work my full *4 week* notice period, which will begin as of **/**/****. I have ** days of annual leave left which I would like to use to shorten my notice period, therefore I predict that my final day with the company will be **/**/****–unless this is something you wish to negotiate.
Kind regards,
In most cases, the letter is just formality, so there is no need to go into the reasons behind you leaving. You’ll have time to sit down and have a full discussion later, during which time you can express your gratitude to the company for your time there, as well as tie up any loose ends such as un-used holiday allowance, or further explain why you’re leaving/rub it in.

Make an appointment to sit down with your manager. It is during this appointment that you’ll give them your letter of resignation—never just put it on their desk. By leaving the letter on their desk, it not only looks dismissive, but it also puts you in a situation where you have the anxiety of waiting for them to open it (if it even makes it into their hands in the first place).
The meeting needs to be somewhere private that will allow you to both say everything you need to say. Ensure to keep it professional—keep the reasons of why you want to leave still firmly in mind, and don’t digress into long-winded complaints (i.e. Whining about Dave from accounts who is a sloppy drinks maker and always gets the sugar in the coffee pot and vice versa. B*stard.)
The aim of this meeting is for you to be firm and convey that you will be leaving—it is not open to negotiation. You also need to leave this meeting on a positive note—expressing gratitude for your time with the company, any training and development they have given you. This is important because you want to leave the door open to continue a professional relationship with them.

It’s more than likely that you’ll be given a counter-offer. This is a situation in which you hand in your notice, and your company offers you more money, or a promotion, to stay with them.
When an employee hands in their notice, it can be a shock, and they might be sad to see you leave—on a personal level as well as on a professional level.
Ultimately though, when an employee hands in their notice, it’s inconvenient. It’s costly and time consuming to find a replacement—even more so if they can’t find a good replacement before your notice period runs out. It’s easier to keep you in place, and start recruitment measures for a replacement in their own time frame while you’re still in position.
Remember that even getting to the point of receiving a counter offer means that you have already thought about the reasons why you want to leave and decided it’s the right decision. However, an improved salary or title from your current company, where everything is familiar, can still be very flattering, and even…slightly tempting.
Consider the following–Why are they offering you more money now that you’ve resigned, instead of just offering you money previously which may have prevented you resigning?
Two possible answers:
1) They’ve known you were worth more than they were paying you, but knew they could get away with paying you less—they’ve now been “threatened” into paying you what you deserve. Are you going to have to threaten to leave every time you want a pay-rise?
2) They don’t think you’re worth more than what they’ve been paying you, but are willing to up your salary because it still works out cheaper than the cost and time of another recruitment process
Besides, your reasons for leaving run deeper than just salary, because otherwise you would have just asked for a pay rise in the first instance.

Phew–the hard bit is over; breathe. You’ve successfully handed in your notice, ending on good terms with your manager, and have dodged being bribed by a counter offer. You’re on a roll–is there anything you can’t do!?
Think about who else you need to tell about you leaving—maybe people on your team or people who have invested time in training you. Establish with your manager which one of you should break the news.
It’s important that you remain productive while working your notice period so that you leave on good terms—don’t fall into the trap of bad-mouthing your current company to your colleagues, it won’t do you or them any favours, and no one will thank you for it.
Leave an effective handover, being as helpful as you can—especially if you’re looking to cut down your notice period, getting everything handed over ASAP might get you out of there sooner.
Be respectful of the amount of time you have spent building relationships with the people in the company and make sure to maintain contact after you leave—you may be in a position where you work together again in the future.


Emma Wood