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You’re taking the leap! You’ve weighed up the pros and cons, assessed your options, started writing your resignation letter and are ready to jump ship to your dream job. Good for you! It takes serious guts to step out of your comfort zone in the pursuit of something better. In order to make sure you ace the jump-ship process, it’s important to get the little things right.
After all, when you’re making the move to a new job, it can be tempting to hurry over the final duties in your old role as fast as possible. From conducting your handover to that final exit interview, it’s easy to mentally clock out as you dream about the greener pastures just ahead. But in the digital age where we’re all connected by just six degrees of separation, it’s worth taking the time to leave things with your soon-to-be previous employer on a good note. After all, you never know when you might need a glowing reference, a handy contact or a friendly face.
One sure-fire way to make sure your professional bridges are thoroughly flame-free is to get your resignation-letter game is on point. Here’s how…
Send it in on time
It’s not always required by law in the UK that you hand in a resignation letter, so you’re unsure, have a read through your original contract or employee handbook. If you aren’t required, it will still be a nice touch. If you are, take your notice period into account. Most likely, it will be around the 2-week mark. Now, you may be able to get away with handing in your letter after, but it’s a smooth move to get your letter in before you hand in your notice. Doing so will give your manager and team time to mentally adjust to the change in dynamic before the hard work of finding your replacement begins!
Adapt it to your contract
While you’ve got your nose in your original contract, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for any details you need to consider. For example, your notice period. It should be stated clearly in your contract, alongside any other conditions of your ability to leave employment with your current company. Your manager should, in theory, have this to hand. But realistically, you will make life a lot easier for them if you include a few handy details in your letter of resignation.
Give them a reason
While it’s important to keep things upbeat, you should be transparent about your reasons for leaving. Humans are brilliant lie-detectors and if you try to creep around the truth it will create an atmosphere of distrust – never a good thing! That doesn’t mean you have to be brutal, though. So, for example, if you’re leaving for greener professional pastures, rather than say “I have found this job boring and rubbish” go with something like “I am leaving to further develop the skill set I have built with your company.” See? Easy as 1-2-3!
Keep it professional and positive
This is not a wedding speech, or an Oscar-nomination moment. Nor is it your chance to let rip on all of your dissatisfactions! However you felt your time with your previous employer went, you should keep your resignation letter professional in tone and upbeat. If you became super close with your boss during your time spent working together, then by all means, feel free to let the memories flow at your leaving drinks party. But this is technically an official document which could be referred to by any number of stakeholders, so make sure you keep it work-friendly on paper!
Stick to the format
Your resignation letter should follow a roughly similar structure to your cover letter – just in reverse! (Only joking – please don’t do that.) Essentially, it should follow the below format:
Offer to help
Whether you’re leaving on good or less-than stellar terms, you’ve got to have a little sympathy for your employer and the completely impossible task they now face – finding someone to fill your shoes! All jokes aside, finding a replacement for a current employee and settling them in is always going to be a challenge. To keep things sweet (and remind them of the importance of the work you’ve done for them!) why not offer to help create a handover for the next you?
Leave on a high! If you’re leaving on great terms then use your resignation letter as a professionally-toned highlight reel. Be sure to thank them for the positive aspects of your employment. Even if you’ve verbally expressed your gratitude, it doesn’t hurt to leave a little something to remember you by. If your time with your current employer was less of a positive experience then it will still be beneficial to find something you can praise them for. You’ll be out of there soon anyway and it won’t do you any harm to keep things positive while they’re still within referencing reach!
Take the leap
Once you’ve crossed the bridge, leaving it completely un-burned, with your former colleagues cheering you on, it’s time to embrace the next chapter! Remember why you chose to leave your old workplace as you enter your new one, to avoid looking back with rose-tinted glasses. If you’ve got a new job lined up then this will help you press on without looking back. If, on the other hand, you’re still in the process of your job search then keep your eyes on the prize. If you could do with some advice on your next steps, contact one of our friendly consultants today on 01376 502999. Having helped thousands of candidates manage the transition from one role to another, they are ideally positioned to support you in your journey. It’s out with the old and in with the new!