How to Resign and Leave in Good Terms

Now that you have secure your dream job abroad, you are thinking of quitting your job, but not sure how to proceed? From the right etiquette to the legal details, this blog details how to hand in your notice. Even if you’ve been fantasising about handing in your notice for years, it can be surprisingly difficult to quit your job when the time actually comes.


If you feel you’ve been badly treated, or the job just hasn’t been up to scratch, you’ll be confused about exactly how much of this you should say. Meanwhile, if you’ve actually enjoyed your job and appreciated your employer, you may feel you’re letting your colleagues down. Like any major life change, quitting your job can be extremely stressful, and it’s not always easy to know the correct etiquette or understand the ins-and-outs.


Making up your Mind

So, you head off to work every morning with despair in your heart, and arrive home exhausted and furious. You ask yourself ‘Should I resign?’


According to research from a recent Endorse Jobs survey, the most common reason for wanting to leave a job is a horrible boss, followed by lack of career progression. And these can be good reasons to quit your job, if you know there are great opportunities in the local or international marketplace.


Recruiters tell us that due to the diminishing pool of available candidates, employers are willing to offer higher salaries or hourly pay rates when advertising for new hires, meaning the best way to secure an above inflation pay rise might well be to move jobs. So, if all else fails and your company can’t make you want to stay, it’s time to resign, doing it as early as possible to give your employer time to manage your departure and find a replacement.


Generally, it’s best not to resign unless you have another job to go to – leaving a job for another one won’t give you a hard-to-explain gap on your CV. Another important point is to assess if you are financially capable of supporting yourself, assuming no income for three months, while you look for an alternative role. All in all, it’s sensible to hang on in your present role until you’ve found another job if you possibly can; and don’t formally give notice until the new one is definitely in the bag.


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What to do before quitting your job

One of the most important things to do before resigning from your job is to make sure the new offer is definitely a firm one. If you’ve been offered a job through the right channels, then it can’t be taken back. The problem is proving that such an offer was actually made in the first place if it is rescinded.


You should always ask for the job offer to be put in writing, accept it in writing and then make sure the company’s received your acceptance before you actually resign.


Knowing you’re about to quit also gives you the chance to put your affairs in order. If you’re leaving without another job to go to, don’t hand in your notice until you’ve refreshed your CV, worked out your career plans and started putting out feelers on LinkedIn and other relevant groups. You should also make sure you’ve got a bit of cash put away, just in case you don’t find the new job as quickly as you’d like.

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Checklist before quitting job

  1. Get your finances in order if you’re planning to leave without another job.
  2. If you do have another job lined up, make sure you have the offer in writing.
  3. Refresh your CV and ask for LinkedIn recommendations if you don’t have another position lined up.
  4. Check your contract of employment for your notice period.
  5. Write your resignation letter or email.
  6. Rehearse the reasons you’re giving for your resignation.
  7. Set up a private meeting with your manager.

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How to hand in your notice

Giving notice simply means alerting your boss that you’re about to leave.  Ideally, you should do this with a meeting, and then follow up with a letter or email. Of course, there will be situations where a meeting isn’t possible – perhaps if you work remotely – in which case just a resignation letter or resignation email will do. It’s possible that you’ll be asked to attend an exit interview.


Your organisation may make a counter-offer to try and persuade you to stay; if so, you should make your mind up quickly so that you don’t keep the new employer hanging on.



Who do you give notice to?

It can sometimes be difficult to know exactly who to give notice to – is it traditionally your immediate line manager. This information should have been provided within your employment contract, so take a look before you act.


If you have a line manager that you report to directly, it is best to resign to them specifically to avoid disrupting the hierarchy and allowing your manager to do his or her job, which includes managing these types of conversations and escalating them to upper management.


What to say when resigning

All you really need to do is tell your boss that you’re quitting, and establish your last day of work. But it’s usual, as well as polite, to give your reasons, discuss next steps and thank your boss for the opportunities you’ve been given.

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What not to say when resigning

It may be best not to be too honest. No employer wants to read a letter or email that states ‘Ever since that manager took over I’ve been unhappy in the team. The best reasons to give are career related, for example, “A wonderful opportunity has come my way and I would like to take it. I have enjoyed working here these last three years.” Nor is this the time to point out the failings of the hospital as a whole.


Some staff may feel that it’s their responsibility to point out which bits of a organisation don’t work upon their resignation. My best advice if you must do this, is to do it professionally and in the right setting. If you really want to point fingers to gain a sense of closure before you walk out the door, it’s essential that you keep emotions out of it, stick to facts and talk calmly about what’s really caused you to resign. Ensure it is with the right person who is willing to listen and act upon your concerns if it relates to patient care. This could be during an exit interview, with the organisation Career Counsellor or Organisation Development team.


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What if my boss asks me to stay?

It’s possible that when you do come to resign, your boss will try and persuade you to stay, perhaps with a counter-offer of higher pay.


This is very common, particularly in the private sector and usually helps in stroking your ego or making you feel like you might actually have opportunities to grow after all,” says Bohemond of Seven Career Coaching.


But remember, you made the decision to leave because of the organisation’s values, the management style or maybe the type of experience wasn’t aligned with your professional growth as you have set your sights on working aboard. If you do stay on, you may always have that ‘what if?’ feeling and may struggle to put aside the feelings of dissatisfaction that led you to quit in the first place.


It may also make things difficult with your boss or colleagues, who may feel that you’re not really committed to the job or the team. It may be worth it if your gripes were purely about pay – but otherwise you’re unlikely to feel much happier if you stay on.


Have you had any experiences you want to share?



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