You’ve made up your mind to leave your current company for greener pastures, now what? “I am furious. I think your company stinks and I believe I have been treated terribly. I am going to tell everyone I know not to work here. Goodbye and good riddance!”
And that, dear job seeker, is the worst possible way to resign.
In a world governed by your baser instinct, resigning would be an emotional release that allows you to vent all of your frustrations in one foul swoop. The reality is that we exist in professional space that requires a resignation letter that strategically improves your career. The trick lies in the methodology.
Say No To Emotion
Firstly, be clear as to why you are leaving your position. Reasons vary from ‘not enough money’ and ‘unacceptable working conditions’ to ‘the lack of opportunities to advance’. This step is for your clarity only. Resigning when you are in an emotional state does not bode well for your future. You need to be thinking clearly because at some point you may need references from the company and burning any bridges won’t facilitate this.
The Informal Alert
Once you’re clear that resigning is the way forward, you need to inform your direct manager in an informal manner. This should not be done at the coffee machine, 8am, when all eyelids need toothpicks to assist with vision. Informal means by private discussion.
You may be asked why and you need to be prepared for this as it is not the appropriate forum to air grievances. Focus on the positive aspects, such as improved career prospects or increased pay. Once this is done, have your resignation letter ready to hand in.
The Resignation Letter
This piece of paper is considered a legal document and should be worded in a formal manner. Your reasons for resigning do not need to be stated on the document. It should include the current date, the person it is addressed to, your name and position, notice of termination of employment and the date this is effective from, plus your signature. If you want to mention anything further it needs to be positive.
Make sure that you have all your facts at hand, such as how many days leave are due to you. Although you do not include this in the letter, leave days owing to you may be taken off your notice period or paid out to you (depending on company policy). This will need to be negotiated.
Counter The Counter Offer
The process of resignation is a formalised one and need not be negative. In the event that a counter offer is made, you need to consider why it took a resignation letter to prompt better pay/working conditions. Most career advice strongly suggests not taking a counter-offer at this point. It is something that should have been negotiated before resignation occurs.
The Exit interview
So you are thinking – when do I get to tell them some of the real reasons why I am leaving? Sometimes, unfortunately, companies are not ready to listen. However, certain companies do offer an exit interview, which is the appropriate forum to discuss these issues.
Yet again, while you can be truthful, you need to be professional. Have your thoughts worked out beforehand. Remove anything emotional and focus on constructive criticism.
Exit With Style
Cooperation is the key and will facilitate relations. Make sure you have completed all outstanding tasks and facilitated a smooth handover. Make sure your boss knows about it. Be pleasant to your colleagues and be positive about the company. And then you can leave!