How to Handle Your Resignation

Believe it or not, there is a right and a wrong way to handle resigning from a company, and the right way to do it is in a professional, diplomatic manner. Leaving the company with a positive lasting impression is important. Firstly, are you 100% sure? If so, here is what to do next:

When to send it

Out of politeness, and with consideration to your contract, it is polite to give in your notice in advance, to give your employer a good chance to find a replacement member of staff, and to ensure that there is an easy transition for both employer and employee.

If you are unsure about your notice period or there is no confirmed time scale, two weeks is generally accepted as a minimum amount of time.

What to include

The basics to include are your name, the person you are addressing, the date, that you are writing to terminate employment, when it will be effective from, and your signature. There are plenty of templates online for ease and to know you are on the right track.

You do not need to state the reasons you are leaving the company. You might want to, and you can do, yet you are not legally obliged to do so.

Keep a professional tone, even if you and your manager are close, you need to address them formally in your letter of resignation, and keep it short – any lengthy explanations can be done face to face if you so please.

Burning your bridges

If you begin criticising the company and management procedures in the letter, you may find that serving your notice period is bleak, and realistically, nothing you complained about will actually change in those final few weeks.

Complaining lessens your chance of receiving anything but a satisfactory reference, when actually the company might have sung your praises had you not bad-mouthed them.

In some circumstances your employer will request a meeting with you to discuss your resignation. They might attempt to keep you in the company with a counter offer, or they might simply want to know if there are any fundamental reasons or there is anything they can improve on in the future.

If you are leaving due to bad management, feeling undervalued or a lack progression, it might be tempting to let them know your exact reasons, but try to emphasise the positives in your chat, and thank the employer for the opportunity they have given, as it is simply polite quitting etiquette.


Thinking about how you would deal with a counteroffers is key, because if they are attractive it could temporarily make you forget all of the reasons you wanted to leave the company.

Unless you are purely leaving because you feel underpaid, you need to set boundaries in your head before handing in your resignation, and make sure you are not swayed.

If you find that the offer is potentially advantageous and you want to consider it, ask for some time to think about the offer instead of responding straight away.

A career change is more than about just money, and yes they might offer you a completely new package, but only you really know if they are probably just empty promises.

Go out with pride

People often become slack towards the end of their notice period, but best practice is to work as normal right up until your last moment. You are getting paid, and a job needs to be done, so do your best, hand over professionally, and leave with your head held high.

No UNsocial media

Social media is a prevalent part of many peoples’ lives, yet it should not be used to badmouth previous employers. Resist destroying any positive feelings you created by discussing your previous role negatively with other industry specialists, or posting an off the cuff status update that you might just regret.


For a confidential chat with one of our friendly consultants at Integra People, please call 01925 838 600 today.

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