Got itchy feet and you're ready to try something new?

Perhaps you've reached the peak of your current job (go you!) or you fancy trying your hand at a new role. Whatever the reason, you may be stressing about how to share the news. So, how do you politely quit your job?

Yes, it should come as no surprise that there's a right and wrong way to leave your job. If you're certain that it's time to say goodbye, you need to make sure you follow the right process. Within this guide, we will take a look at how to resign in a professional manner.

Speak to HR or your manager 

You might be itching to pen your resignation letter and walk out of the door, but before you do that, you need to know what the protocol is. The first step here is to arrange a formal meeting with either the HR department or — if there isn't one — your manager. During this face-to-face, you can explain that you're ready to bring the contract to a close. You should clarify the process, i.e. what your notice period is and who you should address your resignation to. 

While it may be awkward to have this conversation, keep in mind that this is not an emotional move. Contrary to popular belief, you are not married to your job. Around 9% of Brits move jobs every year, according to government statistics. That's a whole load of different people switching from role to role and company to company. Put simply, it's completely normal to want to leave your current position and go on to bigger and better things. You've got this.  

Write a resignation letter 

Once you've spoken to the right person and know the lay of the land, the next step is to write your resignation letter. This is formal notice that states you are leaving your current position. Don't overthink it. You don't need to give one hundred and one reasons as to why you're resigning — that's not the point of this letter. Over-explaining your decision is entirely unnecessary. Instead, you should keep this formal letter short, sweet and professional. 

As a general guide, you should include the date of your notice, the date that you plan to leave, a thank you and information about how you plan to hand over your work. You don't have to state why you are leaving your job but you may want to. For example, if you are moving jobs (and locations) to be closer to your family, you could say that. You should also be clear that you are grateful for everything you have learned in your current position at the company. 

Prepare yourself for a counter offer

Chances are, your current employer won't want to let you go without a fight. If you're worth your weight in gold, they will want to do anything that they can to keep you in the business. For that reason, you should brace yourself for a counter offer. Ahead of handing in your resignation, it will pay to consider how you will handle this situation. Is there any wiggle room? Would the right pay rise change your mind? Think about your long-term career goals. 

Knowing where you stand before it happens will help you to make the right decision for you. In the case that you are 100% sure that you don't want to budge, you need to stick to your guns. Don't let any figures sway your decision and make you compromise your ideals. You will only end up regretting it further down the line. However, should you have a magic number that will do the trick, have it in mind beforehand. That way, you will know what you're looking for in an offer.

Make the handover smooth 

Losing an employee is tough on a business. If you're integral to the day-to-day running of the company, your manager may struggle to fill those boots. In some cases, they may appoint another member of the team to take over your position until they can hire someone new. You want to keep good relations with your ex-team — we'll get to that shortly — and so you'd better make the handover as smooth as you can. Here's what you need to do: 

  • Share your day-to-day tasks 

Show the person taking over how your average day looks. You might want to share your calendar with them or have a one-on-one meeting to go over things. Be as clear as you can be about your daily duties and let them know which parts of your job are a priority. 

  • Give them an update on projects

You likely have a few things in the pipeline. Let the person taking over know what the status of each project is and how you intend to leave it. That means that they have all the details ahead of time and won't be left wondering what's happening. The more info you share about each of the projects you're working on, the easier it will be for them to pick up where you left off.

  • Give them the inside scoop 

Next up, the red tape. You need to make sure that the person taking over has everything they need from you. We're talking passwords, workflow systems, accounts… all of the boring stuff that you don't think twice about. Remember, this person is stepping into your shoes without any knowledge of what you do each day. Break everything down into simple steps for them.

Keep things sweet with the team

Sure, you're leaving but that doesn't mean that it has to be on bad terms. There's a whole load of value in staying sweet with your team and, more importantly, your manager. You never know what opportunities will come your way further down the line. For example, a co-worker may end up as a hiring manager in a company you're just desperate to work for. It happens. With that in mind, you want to leave the best impression on everyone when you go. 

Whatever notice you have to work, make sure that you're on top form. You may be tempted to let things slide and become lazy. Doing that will let down the rest of the team and shine a less-than-positive light on you. It's a silly mistake, and not one that you want to make. Keep working hard right up to your very last day and you can be sure that your team will thank you.

The Takeaway

Ready to take the next step on the career ladder? If you're over your current job and want something new, there's no time like the present. Start sprucing up that CV and looking for new positions now. You never know when the door to a new opportunity will open. 

Before you hand in your notice, ensure that your CV is ready for the task ahead with a free review from TopCV!

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