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12 July 2017 · by Eva Koukouraki How to Resign Gracefully in 8 Steps

So the time has come for you to move on! Congratulations, it’s quite an important decision you’ve made there. Even though you might have been looking forward to a new challenge, the task of quitting can be just as stressful as securing your dream job.

Panic not!

The truth is that regardless of your reasons for quitting, it is in your own best interests to exit gracefully and remain professional to the very end. After having worked hard to create and maintain good working relationships with your managers and colleagues, a spontaneous moment of “honesty” can jeopardise everything.

Follow our step-by-step guide to quitting and never burn a bridge again:

  1. Secure a new role

Before you go ahead and submit your resignation, you should finalise the details with your new employer. You should receive an official offer letter with your start date which you should sign and return asap. Ideally, by the time it comes to resigning, you should have already negotiated your salary, holidays and benefits package as well! Resigning without notice is not an option if you want to ask for references in future. If you’re resigning, you might as well do it with style!

  1. Decide how much of your story to share

More often than not, employees quit their jobs because they don’t like their manager, the role or the company. So how to resign without saying why can be a really issue for some! It goes without saying that being entirely honest in these cases is not advisable. Even though communicating your feelings is a valid request (view point 8 further down), the choice of words can make or break your grand exit. The main theme of your explanation should be, as much as possible, a positive one; along the lines of “It’s not about leaving this job, it’s about moving on to something new” and you should stick to that no matter what!

  1. Resignation letter

Has the time come to tell everyone the truth? Absolutely not! Your resignation letter is just another component of your strategic exit plan. It is a formal acknowledgement that you would like to leave your job and provide your company with the necessary notice period. Stuck for ideas? Check out our resignation letter tips and download our template. 

  1. Have “the chat”

This is the most important part of the resignation process and should be planned and executed with the utmost precision. As a general rule, it is better to hand in your resignation on a Friday as the weekend gives your employer time to process the news and allow for the dust to settle. It is best to let them know face to face first as this gives you the opportunity to explain your reasons, express your gratitude and give them details about your handover plan. You could also give them a hard copy of your signed resignation letter which should always be followed up with an email. If your boss is on vacation, head straight to HR and let them know of your intentions.

  1. Handover notes

Chances are you won’t be particularly keen on typing up loads of handover notes… Remember though that everything you do still counts (after all you are still very much employed) and they are key to a smooth transition. In fact, they are the best way to shine through your absence and ensure that your ex-manager and colleagues remember you fondly. Aside from this, having a handover plan in place will make you come across as more professional and diligent.

  1. Work through your notice

There may be some temptation to relax and breeze through your notice period, doing the minimum but it goes without saying that you need to be professional, courteous and helpful during this time. Your main responsibility is to ensure that you tie up any loose ends, let suppliers and clients know you are leaving and train your replacement, if there is one. Unless the transition is seamless and have been through every detail, you risk tarnishing your legacy and leaving a negative lasting impression.

  1. Exit interview

You’re almost there! Before you go, you might be invited for an exit interview which can be conducted either by your manager or someone from the HR department, if there is one. Some typical exit interview questions could be “why are you resigning?” or “what was your relationship with your manager like?” etc. Remember to be formal, optimistic and courteous throughout the conversation, ensuring you end things on a positive note! This is also the time to ask your employer if you can put them down as a reference.

  1. Building a network

Nowadays, leaving drinks are the norm but for something more low key, a quick email to your colleagues is the way to go! No matter what, make sure you remain charming and cordial to the very end. Send them your personal email, connect on social media or exchange numbers! It’s up to you how you go about it but remember your contacts are your greatest asset!

Not ready to quit just yet? Huntress can help you find your dream job and help you take the next step forward. To register with your nearest office and start your job search, contact us and upload your CV to receive alerts and apply for jobs on our website.