Resignation techniques

Parting on good terms

It's important to resign from your job on good terms in order to build credibility throughout your career. In an article, SEEK states "You might need that organisation to be a reference for you in the future, and you never know who else they might speak to in the broader market. If you leave on a good note, six months down the track people would say you did a great job, you left on the right terms, and if you want to come back they would hire you tomorrow."

Even if you're leaving a job due to a toxic work environment or bad leadership, it's important that you leave on good terms and avoid burning bridges. Rebecca Knight at Harvard Business Review advises that you:

  • Don't gossip. There are no secrets in the workplace, so if you give different reasons to different people about leaving, chances are your boss will find out eventually. This can make you look bad and harm your reputation.
  • Express gratitude. Even if you're happy to be leaving, you should adopt an appreciative mindset and focus on the positive aspects of your experience. Modest farewell gifts and thoughtful notes go a long way when it comes to leaving a good impression.
  • Beware the exit interview. While it might be tempting to vent and be brutally honest, you should keep in mind that you are not guaranteed anonymity and that your feedback is unlikely to change the organisation. Remain professional and ensure your comments have a purpose and a genuine interest in improving the business, rather than putting your employer down.
Resignation techniques | Parting on good terms

What steps should you take when resigning?

It can be difficult to know what steps you should take when you want to resign. The editorial team at Indeed provide some tips to help you resign from your role on good terms.

  • Finalise the details of your new job. If you're resigning from your current role to start a new one, make sure all details are finalised before you resign. Make sure you have successfully responded to an offer letter and that you have a scheduled start date.
  • Make a transition plan. Before you leave, create a plan to distribute your responsibilities among your colleagues. Provide helpful advice, training and notes so the business can continue to run smoothly once you leave.
  • Write a formal resignation letter. Most companies will require a notice letter for documentation. It’s best to keep this precise and brief. This letter needs to state the date your resignation is effective from with a brief statement to close your current relationship with the company. If you have been working with a company for a number of years, you may wish to acknowledge the working relationship.
  • Tell your manager first. Your manager should be the first to find out that you are leaving. This will give you the opportunity to pitch your transition plan, and will give your manager time to make the necessary arrangements.
  • Resign in person. It's more professional to present your letter of resignation in person than it is to send it via email. Schedule a meeting with your manager, setting aside enough time to go through your transition plan. If your manager asks why you're leaving, you should provide a brief and honest answer. Your manager may also provide a counteroffer if they want you to stay.
  • Pack your personal items. To avoid confusion or speculation, pack your personal items after you have let your manager and colleagues know that you are resigning. Take care to check all drawers and storage spaces to ensure you get everything on your own.
  • Prepare for your exit interview. Treat your exit interview like any other interview by dressing nicely and preparing answers in advance. Keep your answers professional and focus on the positives.
  • Ask for a reference. During your final days of employment, ask your manager or direct supervisor if they are willing to be a reference. Ask politely and open the conversation by letting them know how appreciative you are of having worked with them.
  • Keep in touch. Continue networking with your colleagues after your departure. You may want to work for the same company again in the future, alternatively, they may be able to offer you a better opportunity later down the track.
Resignation techniques | What steps should you take when resigning?

How much notice do you need to give?

When planning your resignation, you should review your contract to ensure you understand your entitlements and obligations. One important obligation you should keep in mind is your notice period. 

Your notice period will start the day after you let employer know you wish to resign and will end on the last day of your employment. Your award, agreement or employment contract may set out how much notice is required. If your contract doesn't mention your notice period, or if you don't have a written contract, you may simply be required to give the employer reasonable notice.

You can find out more about notice period requirements by visiting the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

Resignation techniques | How much notice do you need to give?

Christian Madsen | Managing Director
Christian Madsen
Managing Director
11 Recruitment

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