Handle With Care: The Right Way to Resign

August 24, 2021

Sally Stavola, Talent Acquisition Partner

You got the job, now what?

Sooner or later, most of us will be faced with giving their resignation.  It is never easy leaving one organization for another.  Much like preparing your resume and interviewing skills for your job search, you should approach your resignation with as much thoughtfulness and consideration. Here are some tips that may help:  


Be Prepared:

·       Remember why you started your job search.  Write down the reasons you’ve decided to leave before you meet with your manager.  These points are very important in articulating your decision during your discussion.  


·       Think about why your new role is a better fit for your goals.  Write down a few of the reasons you have accepted another offer and why it is a better fit for your present and your future career.


·       Prepare a formal resignation letter for your employer/manager relaying your decision to leave.  This letter, although formal, should be short and concise.  It should include a resignation statement, last day of employment, and an offer of gratitude for the opportunity to work for their company.


·       Prepare a knowledge transfer plan in advance of your resignation discussion.  Document the status of all of current projects and be prepared to suggest a knowledge transfer.  Detail what you will complete prior to leaving and recommend who should be trained to pick up the project going forward.  


Verbal Resignation:

·       Resignations should be positive.  You want to leave your employer on a good note.  After all, you have just been offered an opportunity that your current employer may have prepared you for. Although they may initially be disappointed, most managers will be happy for your growth.  


·       Keep your conversations simple and concise. The more you say, the more questions you may have to answer. Avoid lengthy discussions about your new opportunity with your old employer. If you can, avoid giving details and simply restate your decision to accept a new position since you believe it is best for your career.  Reference your earlier points to support your response and stay firm.


·       Present your written resignation letter for your employer’s record.  


Dealing with the Reaction:

·       A resignation can be very emotional.  Chances are that your boss will be caught off guard by your resignation.  Some employers take it very personally that you have decided to make a career move. However, if you handle your resignation professionally, it makes stepping away smooth and amicable.  


·       The dreaded counteroffer.  Be prepared!  I often tell my candidates to do a quick search while preparing their resignation. At a glance, there are over 400 million results to “why you should not accept a counteroffer.” The Wall Street Journal once published a statistic stating that, of the 50% of professionals who accepted their counter offers, 93% left within 18 months. Ninety-three percent!  A counteroffer is almost always a short-term solution; and when it comes to building your career, short term is not the way to be thinking.


·       Hold your ground and remain committed to leaving. Be mindful not to create false hope by giving any indication that you would consider staying.


While you may also feel emotional, remember that change is difficult. You should remind yourself why you started your job search and be excited for the opportunity ahead.  Celebrate your accomplishment and be confident in your decision and commitment to make that change.


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