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Resignation Tips

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cartoon image of 7 employees, 6 of which are standing in a line side by side, clad all in black but with white ties and all holding briefcases at their sides, save for one smiling employee on the right who is throwing away their tie and briefcase in jubilation at having just quit their job and leaving the all behind him, 2 flocks of seagulls numbering 3 a pair, fly in the distance and white moon is in the sky

The Resignation Letter

Changing jobs is often a stress-filled, traumatic experience and employers know they stand a good chance of reversing your decision, at least for a while, if they can just press the right buttons.  So here are some resignation tips to help you with the process and ordeal. To eliminate any possible misunderstanding, always submit your resignation in writing.  Your type-written letter should be brief and should contain a clear statement of resignation, an expression of thanks for the professional association you have enjoyed, a final date of employment and a statement expressing your willingness to help during the transition period prior to your last day of work.

The Resignation Meeting

During your resignation meeting, prepare yourself for reactions ranging from congratulatory handshakes to guilt trips, or possibly out-and-out anger.  Regardless of the employer’s reaction, you should remain calm and professional.  It is imperative that you handle your part of the resignation meeting in a courteous and professional manner.  The kind of employment reference the company will give you in the future may be strongly influenced by the impression you made when resigning.

Why Are You Leaving?

Another potential trouble area is the inevitable question about why you’re leaving, often phrased, “Tell us what’s really wrong here.”  As satisfying as it may be to unload about your manager’s failings or the company’s problems, it is never a good idea.  No company has ever changed as the result of a disgruntled quitter generously informing them of their failings.  Nothing is accomplished except leaving behind a bad impression about your lack of professionalism.  Remember, you are doing nothing wrong or unreasonable.  You simply have been presented with a new opportunity that you have decided to pursue.

Breaking the News

Also keep in mind that your co-workers could be curious, inquisitive, upset or even jealous about your leaving.  In most cases, a resignation affects many people within an organization and the impression you leave behind will be greatly improved by being consistent with everybody you speak to.  Whether you are approached at the office or co-workers call you at home, tell everybody exactly what you told the company.  What you say is likely to travel full circle, and negative comments can be used to make your co-workers look loyal while making you look bad.

Until You Depart

Finally, do not underestimate the importance of your performance during your last days on the job.  It is a grave mistake to behave as though you have already left the company while working through your notice period.  Give it your best effort right up until the last minute you’re there.  You will never be sorry you did. By using the strategies and techniques outlined above, you will resign with a high degree of professionalism without burning any bridges.

Need some help with that resignation letter? Here’s a template we have found to be effective. Make it yours and resign with confidence in your very valid decision.

And BEFORE you resign we highly recommend you read our guidance on counteroffers. We think you’ll be glad you did.