How to resign (without burning your bridges)

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You’re on your way to pastures new, and for whatever reason you couldn’t be more thrilled to be leaving your current job. 

Sound familiar? If so, give your willpower a talking to. Yes, it might be tempting to give your boss a piece of your mind while you’re serving your notice period, but staying positive and professional will actually stand you in good stead for the rest of your career.

Here’s what to do so you can leave a job on great terms, even if you can’t wait to clear your desk and dash for the door.

Pen a short, simple letter 

When you announce you’re leaving, you need to put it in writing - and ideally in a typed, printed letter rather than email. Address this letter of resignation to your immediate manager, saying you’re giving notice to leave your job and when your last day at work will be. 

Keep it short and sweet, sticking to the basic facts. You needn’t give a reason for quitting, and it’s not a good idea to air any grievances about the company, managers or your colleagues. 

Adding in a line about how you’re grateful to have worked for the company is another way to keep it positive, too.

Tell your boss first, and in person 

The office grapevine can be a powerful thing - especially when gossip swirls around that someone’s leaving. You might be itching to share your life-changing career plans with others, but don’t breathe a word of your resignation until your immediate manager knows.

Aim to break the news to your boss in person, handing over your letter of resignation at the same time. Yes, it’s easier to fire off an email but requesting a face-to-face meeting is more respectful, and shows you’re professional to the end.

Do a decent handover 

Leaving your job on a high means making sure your replacement has an easy time stepping into your shoes - and that’s a definite boost for your reputation once you’ve gone.

So for a decent transition, produce thorough handover notes and comprehensively brief colleagues on issues they should be aware of. Be considerate - think of any pitfalls in the pipeline your team needs to know about in the weeks to come.

Write great recommendations

Before you leave for your sweet new gig, write some LinkedIn recommendations for the people you’ve worked with. Then while you’re still fresh and current in people’s minds, you can ask for some back in return.

Recommendations are a great way to back up specific skills and abilities, or just cement your reputation as a valuable colleague. Plus, keeping in touch like this means you won’t sever ties with useful contacts completely.

Building - and actively nurturing - a strong professional network is one of the things we encourage all job candidates to do when we work with them at HR GO.

Work harder than ever 

If you have another exciting job to go onto, the temptation is to slack off while you serve your notice. Taking longer lunch breaks and letting sloppy mistakes creep into your work, for example.

But giving the impression you’ve already checked out of your role would be a huge mistake. Make sure you finish what you’re working on and tie up any loose ends - even if you you need to put in a bit of overtime.

It might be a small world, but it’s an even smaller workplace and you could end up bumping into colleagues again further down the line. 

That’s why ending things the right way isn’t just the decent thing to do for now, but it could also be the smartest move in terms of future proofing your career.



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