Unless you plan to stay with the same company for 30+ years, everyone will need to write a resignation letter at some point in their career. Doing that right as well as handling the transition period well could be an important factor in whether you’ll be able to add your current employer to your list of references. Do it wrong, and you may end up burning some bridges.
Don’t be too hasty
Say your current work environment is, well, less than pleasant. Even if you just had a great interview at a new company, don’t pack your bags just yet. Make sure your new job is finalized in writing. Meaning: the company has formally offered you the position, you’ve negotiated and accepted, and you’ve set a start date. Then and only then should you have all the green lights to quit your job. Things can often happen during a hiring process and you don’t want to find yourself out of a job or having that awkward conversation to ask for your job back. Just make sure your new job in set in stone before saying “Sayonara!”
Let your manager be the first to know
While you might be good friends with your coworkers and eager to tell them about your new job, hold off until you communicate with your manager. You don’t want them hearing through the grapevine that you plan to leave before you have a chance to talk with them yourself. Also be sure that what you tell your coworkers, your reason for leaving, is consistent with what you tell your boss. Don’t risk your boss finding out the reason you’re leaving is because you don’t like his or her management style rather than that your new company has a shorter commute like you told them.
After a conversation, resign in writing
Keeping with the theme of getting things in writing, you’re going to want to take your resignation a step further than just having a chat with your boss. However, it’s important that your written resignation doesn’t come as a surprise to your manager, but rather as a formality. After you’ve had a conversation about your intent to leave, send an email with your intended last day of work and thank them for having you at their company. While explaining your reasons for leaving aren’t entirely necessary, you can include this as well if you like. Here’s an example of a resignation email or letter you can write to your employer:
Please accept this letter as notice of my resignation. My last day of employment will be April 9, 2019.
I have enjoyed my time with [COMPANY] and am grateful for the skills I’ve learned as well as the relationships I’ve formed during my time here.
Please let me know how I can be of assistance during the transition.
All the best,
Even if you resign in writing, you’re going to want to follow up with a conversation, just to make sure you and your current employer are on the same page. And if you first have a conversation with your boss, be sure to follow up with a written resignation letter, just to seal the dale and make sure everything, including your last day, is clear.
Give your employer at least 2 weeks notice
Many employers will have a written policy on how much notice you should give before resigning, commonly two weeks but it could be more. Do your best to stick with that at the very least in order to give them enough time to bring someone in and start training in your position. If you don’t leave enough notice, it could burn bridges and leave you with a not so happy job reference in the future.
Of course, you may out of good will give your employer a whole 8 weeks notice. Be careful to not make your notice overly long if you don’t have to. If you do and you find yourself restless to start your new jon, you’re going to end up resenting your current job and not motivated to get anything done. Also not a great way to leave on a good note. Try to time something that’s quick and painless for both you and your employer, allowing them to transition as best as possible but also allows you to move on bigger and better things.
Have a transition plan
Want to leave your job but still want your boss to like you? Come up with a transition plan. Coordinate who will take on your responsibilities or unfinished projects during the transition and who, if not you, who you recommend for training your replacement.
Which brings us to our next point…
Train your replacement
In order to keep things smooth and peachy between you and your current employer, why not offer to train your replacement? If you do this, start by creating a master list of all your responsibilities, key documents and files, and write down instructions for using specific software or completing certain tasks. For example, if your job is to write a monthly newsletter, outline how to use the email service provider, the style guide you use when formatting the email, who is responsible for approving the email, and who to send it to. As you work through your notice, keep a document open where you take notes on your day-to-day tasks that may be helpful to your replacement. Your replacement will be able to use this as their playbook or user manual when coming into your role.
Refer someone to take your place
What’s better than training your own replacement? Finding one! Of course, you’ll probably still have to train them, but if you previously had a good relationship with your boss and you’re looking for ways to maintain that, why not recommend who you think would fill the job well? Of course, only recommend someone if you actually think they could do your job well. If they end of being great, you can bet your boss will be your next best job reference!
If you’ve had a good experience resigning from a job in the past, leave your best tips in the comments below!