How to resign

This article is recommended for individuals at any stage of their careers

Christian Madsen

Written by Christian Madsen

Managing Director of 11 Recruitment

The importance of parting on good terms

Having spent many years working in recruitment, I've seen first-hand the importance of parting ways with a job on good terms. It's not just about the immediate impression you leave; it can have a lasting impact on your career and professional reputation.

As SEEK points out, you never know when you might need your former organisation as a reference or when someone they know might be considering hiring you. Maintaining a positive relationship can pay off down the road.

Even when leaving a job due to a toxic environment or poor leadership, I've always advised candidates to resist burning bridges. In an article, the Harvard Business Review shares some valuable advice: 

Firstly, avoid gossip at all costs. Office rumours have a way of spreading, and if you give different reasons for leaving to different people, it's likely to get back to your boss. This can reflect poorly on you and damage your professional standing.

Focusing on the positive aspects of your experience and adopting an appreciative mindset goes a long way. Small gestures like farewell gifts and thoughtful notes show that you value the time you spent with the organisation.

As for exit interviews, they can be a tricky situation. While it may be tempting to unleash your frustrations and be brutally honest, it's important to remember that your feedback may not lead to immediate changes in the organisation. Stay professional and provide constructive feedback with a genuine interest in improving the business.

Parting on good terms

How much notice to give

In Australia, the notice period for resigning from a job is typically outlined in your employment contract or in the relevant award or enterprise agreement that covers your employment. If there is no specific notice period mentioned in your contract, the Fair Work Act 2009 provides a general guide for notice periods.

If you have been employed for less than one year, you are generally required to provide at least one week's notice. If you have been employed for more than one year, the notice period increases by one week for each additional year of continuous service, up to a maximum of four weeks.

It's important to note that individual employment contracts, awards, or enterprise agreements may specify different notice periods, so it's crucial to review your specific employment terms. Additionally, some contracts may allow for payment in lieu of notice, where the employer may choose to pay the employee for the notice period instead of requiring them to work it.

If you are unsure about the notice period or any other terms of your employment, it is advisable to consult your employment contract and seek advice from your human resources department or a legal professional.

How much notice do you need to give?

How to resign

Resigning from a job is a significant decision, and it's important to handle the process professionally and courteously. Here are some steps you can follow when resigning.

Consider the timing

Choose an appropriate time to resign, considering your workload and any ongoing projects. Try to avoid resigning during critical periods or when your absence might cause significant disruption.

Prepare a resignation letter

Write a formal resignation letter. Keep it brief, professional, and positive. Include your intention to resign, your last working day (usually two weeks from the date of the letter), and a brief thank-you for the opportunities you've had with the company.

Speak with your supervisor

Schedule a meeting with your immediate supervisor to discuss your decision in person. It's important to communicate your decision face-to-face if possible.

Express gratitude

In your meeting, express your gratitude for the opportunities and experiences you've had at the company. Highlight positive aspects of your time there.

Provide a reason (optional)

While you're not obligated to provide a detailed reason for resigning, you may choose to offer a general reason for leaving. However, it's often best to keep it positive and avoid negative comments.

Offer to assist with the transition

Reassure your employer that you are committed to making the transition as smooth as possible. Offer to help train your replacement, create documentation, or assist in any way during the notice period.

Complete necessary paperwork

Work with your HR department to complete any necessary paperwork, such as finalising benefits, returning company property, and providing contact information for your last paycheck.

Inform colleagues

After speaking with your supervisor, inform your colleagues and team members about your decision. You can do this either in person or through a departmental email.

Maintain professionalism

Maintain a high level of professionalism throughout the resignation process. Avoid sharing negative opinions about the company or colleagues, as this could impact your professional reputation.

Stay positive

Maintain a positive attitude during your remaining time at the company. Your last impression is as important as your first, and you want to leave on good terms.

Remember that resigning is a normal part of professional life, and handling it gracefully reflects well on you. It's always a good idea to think about your decision carefully and plan your departure with professionalism and courtesy.

Steps you should take | How to resign

How to write a resignation letter

How to write a resignation letter

Writing a letter of resignation is a formal and professional way to inform your employer that you are leaving your current job. It's essential to handle this situation with care and respect, as your resignation letter may become part of your employment record. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to write a letter of resignation.

Use a professional format

Your resignation letter should follow a standard business letter format. Include your contact information, the date, your employer's contact information, and a formal salutation.

Start with a polite salutation

Begin the letter with a polite and respectful salutation, addressing your immediate supervisor or the appropriate person. 

State your intent to resign

Clearly state your intention to resign from your position. Mention the date you plan to leave the company, adhering to any notice period required by your contract or company policy. The standard notice period is usually two weeks, but it can vary based on your role and company.

Express gratitude

Express your gratitude for the opportunities and experiences you've had during your time at the company. This is also a chance to highlight some positive aspects of your employment.

Provide a reason (optional)

While not mandatory, you may choose to provide a brief reason for your resignation. However, it's generally best to keep the reason positive and avoid any negative comments about the company or coworkers.

Assure smooth transition

Offer your willingness to assist in making the transition process as smooth as possible. You can offer to train your replacement or help with any necessary handover of responsibilities. 

Express well wishes

End the letter on a positive note, extending your best wishes for the company's future success. 

Sign the letter

Sign the letter by hand above your printed name. This adds a personal touch to your resignation.

Keep a copy

Make sure to keep a copy of the letter for your records.

Remember, even though you may be leaving the company, maintaining a positive and professional relationship with your soon-to-be former employer and colleagues is essential. A well-written resignation letter can leave a lasting positive impression as you move forward in your career.

Resignation letter template

[Your Name]

[Your Address]

[City, State, Postcode]

[Your Email Address]

[Your Phone Number]

[Today's Date]

[Employer's Name]

[Company Name]

[Company Address]

[City, State, Postcode]

Dear [Supervisor's Name],

I am writing to formally announce my resignation from my position as [Your Job Title] at [Company Name], effective [Last Working Day, typically two weeks from the date of the letter].

I want to express my deepest gratitude for the opportunities and support I've received during my time with the company. It has been a privilege to work with such a dedicated and talented team, and I am grateful for the valuable experiences that I will carry forward in my career.

I have carefully considered this decision, and it was not an easy one to make. However, I believe that it is time for me to explore new challenges and opportunities that align with my long-term career goals.

I am committed to ensuring a smooth transition during my remaining time at the company. Please let me know how I can assist in training my successor or any other tasks that will contribute to a seamless handover of responsibilities.

Thank you once again for all the support and encouragement I have received throughout my tenure here. I wish [Company Name] continued success and prosperity in the future.


[Your Handwritten Signature]

[Your Typed Name]

What to avoid when resigning

What to avoid when resigning

When resigning from a job, it's essential to handle the process professionally and gracefully. Here are some things you should avoid doing

Burning bridges

Resignation is not the time to express frustration or negative feelings about the company or colleagues. Avoid venting or criticising others, as it can harm your professional reputation.

Resigning impulsively

Take the time to consider your decision thoroughly before submitting your resignation. Ensure that you have a clear plan for your next steps.

Resigning without notice

Unless there are extraordinary circumstances, it's best to provide the standard notice period mentioned in your employment contract or company policy. Usually, two weeks' notice is considered appropriate. 

Informing colleagues before your manager

Always inform your direct supervisor or manager about your decision to resign before sharing the news with your colleagues. It shows respect and professionalism.

Discussing the new job excessively

While it's natural to be excited about your future opportunity, avoid bragging or discussing your new job excessively with colleagues who might still be at the company.

Neglecting your responsibilities

Remain focused on your work until your last day. Avoid slacking off or neglecting your responsibilities during the notice period.

Taking company property

Make sure you return any company-owned equipment, documents, or other items before leaving. Don't take anything that doesn't belong to you.

Ignoring the handover process

If there are pending tasks or projects, ensure you cooperate with your team during the handover process to facilitate a smooth transition.

Gossiping about your resignation

Keep the details of your resignation private and avoid gossiping about the reasons behind your departure.

Posting about it on social media

Be cautious about what you share on social media regarding your resignation. Remember that future employers might view your online presence.

Forgetting about benefits & final paycheck

Ensure you are aware of your entitled benefits and that you'll receive your final paycheck on time.

Burning vacation days

If your company offers a payout for unused vacation days upon resignation, check the policy and plan accordingly. Don't burn through your accrued vacation before giving notice.

Remember, resigning professionally is crucial for maintaining a positive network and reputation within your industry. You never know when your paths might cross with former colleagues or employers, so leaving on good terms can be beneficial in the long run.

Are you looking for a job?

Are you looking for a job?

Now that you know how to resign, you should take a moment to check our current vacancies page.

At 11 Recruitment, we have a range of white-collar temp and perm jobs available. We're always on the lookout for top talent to place with our clients, so we encourage you to apply for any positions that are of interest.

If none of our current vacancies are right for you, you should register for job alerts. Then we’ll be able to notify you when we receive a position that matches your profile.

Christian Madsen

What are your thoughts?

I'd love to have a conversation with you about this topic - please leave a comment below if you have any thoughts or opinions 🙂

Christian Madsen

Managing Director of 11 Recruitment

  • Mary Dosch says:

    What are some effective strategies for gracefully handling a resignation when leaving a job due to a toxic work environment or poor leadership, as mentioned in the article?

    • Christian Madsen says:

      Hi Mary, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment – that’s a great question 🙂

      Handling a resignation in a toxic work environment or due to poor leadership can be challenging, but it’s essential to maintain professionalism and leave on good terms whenever possible. Here are some strategies I recommend:

      Prepare a well-thought-out resignation letter
      ▹ Clearly express your decision to resign.
      ▹ Highlight positive aspects of your experience, if any.
      ▹ Keep it concise and professional.

      Schedule a meeting with your supervisor
      ▹ Request a private meeting with your supervisor to discuss your decision.
      ▹ Be honest but tactful about your reasons for leaving.
      ▹ Avoid getting into unnecessary details or blaming individuals.

      Focus on personal growth
      ▹ Rather than focusing on the negatives, frame your resignation in terms of growth.
      ▹ Express gratitude for the learning opportunities the job provided.

      Offer a transition plan
      ▹ Show your commitment to a smooth transition by offering to assist in handover.
      ▹ Provide a reasonable notice period if possible.

      Maintain professionalism
      ▹ Avoid speaking negatively about the company/colleagues during and after your resignation.
      ▹ Maintain a positive attitude and demeanour throughout the process.

      Seek feedback (if appropriate)
      ▹ If you feel comfortable, ask for feedback on your performance during the exit interview.
      ▹ Phrase questions in a constructive manner and use this opportunity to gather insight.

      Network with colleagues
      ▹ Keep professional connections intact by exchanging contact information.
      ▹ Connect with them on professional networking platforms (i.e., LinkedIn).

      Secure references
      ▹ Request a letter of recommendation or permission to use your supervisor as a referee.
      ▹ Ensure that your departure is seen as amicable – this can be crucial for future job applications.

      Follow company procedures
      ▹ Adhere to company policies regarding resignation procedures.
      ▹ Complete any required paperwork or exit interviews promptly.

      Stay organised
      ▹ Keep records of important documents, such as your resignation letter.
      ▹ Ensure a smooth handover of projects and responsibilities.

      Take care of yourself
      ▹ Focus on your well-being during the transition period and after leaving.
      ▹ Seek support from friends, family, or a professional network.

      Ultimately, leaving a toxic work environment can be a positive step towards personal and professional growth. By handling your resignation gracefully, you position yourself well for future opportunities and maintain a professional reputation.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}