Handing in Your Resignation and Dealing with Counter Offers – Part 1

We recently conducted a poll regarding counter offers (please click here to see the results). We thought a useful follow up to this would be to provide an article on resigning and counter offers.

A lot of people find resigning from their current position one of the most daunting aspects of moving jobs. How will your boss react? What will your colleagues say or think? This article aims to give advice and guidance on how to handle the act of resignation. It is split into two parts. This first, published this week, will focus on the resignation. Part 2 will follow in a couple of weeks and will look at “Counter Offers”.


So you’ve made the decision to leave your current employer? Maybe you’ve secured a new position or you are leaving to concentrate full time on finding something else. Either way, handing in a resignation still remains a worrying prospect for many people. But it doesn’t have to be. Handled in the correct manner, resigning from a position can result in a smooth transition for all parties and leave both sides feeling positive about the decision.

The actual act of resigning or handing in your notice occurs face-to-face with your boss. For this, a meeting should be arranged, preferably not too far in advance (you will only worry as the time draws closer) but at the same time not just appearing out of the blue. Perhaps ask your boss or supervisor if you could speak to them at the end of the day or first thing the next morning.

91/366 ~ ready, set, firephoto © 2008 jill, jellidonut… whatever | more info (via: Wylio)

For the meeting you should prepare a resignation letter. There are a number of guides online with example letters but it’s useful to remember a few key points:

1. Be concise – you do not need to go into masses of detail about your reasons for wishing to leave. Simply state your intention to give your employer notice (as defined in your employment contract) from your position (state your job title)

2. Thank your employer – it’s worth writing one or two lines thanking your employer/boss for the opportunity to work with them and the experience you have gained

That’s it. It simply acts as a written confirmation of your intention to give notice and leave your position.

For the meeting itself, take along your resignation letter. Again, keep things simple. State that you are resigning from your current position and wish to give your employer notice. Hand over your letter to your boss at this point. Obviously different managers / personalities will react to the news in different ways. The main thing to ensure is that you remain calm and that you are positive about the opportunity you have been given by your current employer. Some managers may get angry and demand to know the reasons why you wish to leave. Again, remain calm, positive and if you wish to give a reason to them, ensure it is professional and not personal in nature. You are not obliged to go into a level of detail with your boss but depending on your relationship with the company you may wish to tell them a bit more about your plans.

The key with a resignation is to deliver it in the right way. Your boss must come away from the meeting know you have made up your mind fully and are intent on leaving the company. Therefore be brief, concise and to the point during the meeting. Confirm your last day with them or ask them to go away and come back to you with this information. Equally offer to make the transition as smooth as possible by preparing a handover or assisting a colleague or replacement in taking on your workload. Some people prepare a written handover prior to the meeting to give to their boss with the letter or resignation.

And that should be it. It really should only take a matter of minutes. There may be some discussions but it should be about confirming your intention to leave and allowing your employer to go away and prepare for your departure.

Some employers will require their staff to work out their full notice periods, others may offer gardening leave. Either way it is important to respect their decision and your contractual obligations. You may be able to shorten your notice period by using some unused holiday allowance.

It is also important to respect your employers wishes regarding announcing your departure to the team. Leave this for them to deliver and maintain a positive attitude and approach during your notice period. It is important that you leave the company on a good note regardless of your reasons for leaving in the first place.

Hello New Officephoto © 2006 Martin Cathrae | more info (via: Wylio)

All being well, your resignation will be accepted, a timescale for your departure agreed and the last few weeks of employment should be a relatively painless process, leaving you to look forward to your new challenge.

In 2 weeks we’ll publish Part 2 on Counter Offers. Please check back for more updates and comments on this post.


4 Responses to Handing in Your Resignation and Dealing with Counter Offers – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Handing in Your Resignation and Dealing with Counter Offers – Part 2 « Ellicott Long's Blog

  2. Pingback: A Summary of Our Posts « Ellicott Long's Blog

  3. Pingback: A Summary of Our Posts « Ellicott Long's Blog

  4. Pingback: Stats Series 1: Avoiding the Counter Offer Trap | Ellicott Long's Blog

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