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How to Resign from a Job : Top Tips for Resigning

How to Resign from a Job : Top Tips for Resigning

In the modern world of work, it is now more common than ever to change jobs frequently to advance one’s skills, gain experience in new working environments, and expand your network of contacts for your industry.

Resignations will always be a difficult subject to approach. Whether you are happy at your current company and are simply leaving for the next step in your career; or you are unhappy with your current employer and need a change in working environment, approaching your resignation with dignity and respect could benefit your career by creating a positive impression with ex-employers.

There are a number of reasons why people leave their jobs, but employers are generally happy to accept a resignation that is offered with ample notice and in a professional manner. Provided companies are allowed enough time to interview and hire a replacement for the position you are leaving, you will often find your resignation is handled respectfully by your employer - provided you have shown the same courtesy.

For many people, it can be easy to let your own personal standards slip following a resignation, particularly in your last month of employment, however, this period of time will often be what employers remember most about you. As such, it is vital that your last month in your company leaves a lasting positive impression that will motivate your employers to provide you with great references and recommendations in the future.

Morgan Philips have provided these great tips for resigning from your current job in this blog post, including a sample resignation letter template that you can use for future resignations.

Looking for your next role? Morgan Philips provides expert services in specialist recruitment, executive search functions, and talent consulting for a range of clients across the UK. You can also explore our job search function to find the perfect role for you.

Get in touch with our team to discuss your next role today.

How to Resign Professionally

You can follow these tips provided by our experts at Morgan Philips to ensure your resignation is handled with professionalism and care. It is important to understand all of these steps before and during the resignation process.

1. Understand Your Company’s Rules for Resignation

Before beginning the resignation process, you should check your work contract to find out your expected notice period. This could be anywhere between 2 weeks and 3 months, or sometimes more depending on the type of job you hold.

There are a number of reasons you must work your full notice period before leaving a job. Firstly, notice period is a legal clause in your contract, and although it is rare, you may be subject to legal action for refusing to work your contractually obliged notice period.

You will also need to work your notice period in order to receive full pay up until the day you leave, as well as receive payment for any unused holidays left. If you fail to work your notice period your employer may withhold payment for unused holidays.  

Finding out the length of your notice period will also allow you to determine when you can reasonably start your new job. Most employers will understand that any worthwhile employee will have a contractually obliged notice period to work before starting a new role, and will have accounted for this during their recruitment process, so there is no reason to feel rushed into leaving your job before your notice period ends. Bear in mind that leaving your current job before your notice period is over to facilitate your new job may actually leave a bad impression on the new employer, who will likely see this as an indicator of your attitude towards working once you have mentally ‘clocked out’. 

Finally, your working contract may explain that you cannot leave your current role to work for a competitor company within a certain period of time after your notice period. If you work for a legal firm, for instance, your current contract may state that you cannot work for another legal firm within a certain radius for 6 months after leaving your current role. These types of stipulations are rare, but they are not unheard of. 

2. Resign In-Person

A face-to-face resignation accompanied by a formal resignation letter is often the most courteous method of resignation. It may be tempting to simply send a resignation letter via email to your employer, but this overly formal method may seem disrespectful to an employer that you have a personal rapport with. For some people this may not be the most comfortable experience due to anxiety, difficulty with situations that may appear confrontational, or issues with confidence in speaking; but if you are able to overcome any potential awkwardness to resign in person you will understand the benefits once your resignation is accepted.

You can find our resignation letter template at the bottom of this page.

3. Be Polite and Courteous

Whether you resign in-person or via email, your employer will likely want to conduct a follow-up resignation meeting. These types of meetings are generally for employers and companies to gather information on why their staff may decide to leave their current positions, and is not usually something to be worried about. 

It is important for an employer to understand why staff leave their company in order to implement any changes to their company structure or culture if necessary. These types of meetings are generally to determine what factors influenced your decision to look for a new job.

According to a 2022 study by Employ, which surveyed 1200 HR professionals, these were the most common reasons employees were leaving their jobs:

  • Offered more money (37.1%)
  • New job offered remote working (18.6%)
  • Advancing career (13.4%)
  • Current job was not challenging enough (12.4%)
  • Leaving because of a bad manager or company culture (5.2%)
  • Lack of diversity in current workplace (5.1%)
  • Fear of becoming unemployed/made redundant (4.2%
  • Ability to work in an office environment (4%)

Every worker has different needs, and employers understand they cannot meet the expectations of every employee. However, most companies aim to ensure their employees are happy in their current role, and so conducting a formal resignation meeting helps them to gather the data required to make essential changes to their company culture to ensure employee retention.

You should also make sure to be thankful to your employer for the experience gained  through working for them, and if necessary, personally thank any management or senior members of staff for their role in your development. This will help to secure references in the future, and maintain a positive attitude between yourself and your ex-coworkers, whom you may wish to stay in contact with through professional social media accounts such as LinkedIn.

4. Be Positive

Maintaining a positive attitude throughout your resignation and notice period is vital to securing a great reference. 

You should make sure not to besmirch your employer to co-workers, bosses, or to your new employer during the interview process. You should also refrain from making social media posts painting your current employer in a negative light, particularly as these could be viewed by potential employers in the future.

There are a number of ways you can modify your language if you are feeling negative about an employer. For instance, if you are asked why you are leaving by your co-workers or future employers, you can say phrases like “I am looking for new opportunities”, or “I think I will be better suited to a new environment”.

5. Maintain a High-Standard of Work

During your notice period, and particularly in your last month of employment, it may be tempting to reduce your standards of work. Many people make the mistake of doing as little work as possible in their last month of employment due to the perception they cannot be reprimanded for producing work that is not to their usual standards. 

Unfortunately, this may negatively impact your job prospects in the future, as your current employer may take this reduction in quality as a point of discussion in your reference. 

6. Gain Recommendations and References

Finally, you should aim to request recommendations and references from influential members of your company who have personally worked with you. For instance, if you can obtain a high-quality reference from a senior member of staff such as a supervisor, manager, or even director of your company, this can go a long way to securing your future job prospects.

There is often a temptation to ask friends or co-workers of a similar level to provide a reference to your new employer, particularly if you are leaving on bad terms. This tactic can be transparent to your new employers however, as it is expected that your own supervisors or managers should be the ones to provide a reference for your work if you were a valued member of staff.

If you have followed the steps above during your resignation process, it is likely that your employer will provide you with a great reference to take forward to your new employer.

Resignation Letter Template

Whether you are resigning in person or via email, you can utilise this resignation letter template from Morgan Philips to send to your employer. Simply fill in the [BLANK] sections. 

First, here is the most basic format for a resignation letter:

  • Date
  • Name
  • Your current position
  • Name of appropriate person (supervisor, line manager, manager etc.)
  • The date your resignation will take effect
  • Your signature

Below we have included a full resignation letter template you can use to send to your current employer.

Resignation Letter Sample:

[Date of Resignation]

Dear [Recipient Name],

I am writing to formally announce my resignation from my position as [Job Title] at [Company Name]. As per my contract with the company, I agree to work my notice period of [Notice Period Length], with my last day being [Date of Last Day].

I would like to take this time to thank you for the opportunities I have been granted during my employment, and the experience gained as a result of my time here. I have enjoyed my time with [Company Name] throughout my employment, however, I feel it is in the best interest of my future development to move on to a new career opportunity. 

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Yours sincerely,
—------------------ [Signature]
[Your Name]

Looking for your next role? Morgan Philips provides expert services in specialist recruitment, executive search functions, and talent consulting for a range of clients across the UK. You can also explore our job search function to find the perfect role for you.

Get in touch with our team to discuss your next role today.

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