It is never an easy or pleasant thing to do, but at some stage in almost every career there will come a point when you have to resign from your current employment. Whether you are moving to a different job or simply leaving employment for a period of time, the first step to resigning is to hand in notice of the resignation.
In order to help make a sometimes arduous and difficult task as pain free and efficient as possible, this article will give simple and easy to follow advice in three steps on how to go about handing in a notice of resignation.
Also included at the end of the article is a helpful draft letter of resignation that can be referred to as a template for the real thing.
Step 1. Know Your Contract.
When starting any permanent employment the employee is given, or has to sign, a contract. This contract may seem to be nothing more than compulsory administration while you are in employment but it suddenly becomes very important when you wish to resign.
Included in the contract is a clause detailing the minimum amount of time that must be given between handing in a resignation and the formal end of employment. This is known as the period of notice, hence resigning is casually referred to as 'handing in your notice'.
It is extremely important to know the exact amount of notice that is required by contract. If you leave before the completion of the minimum amount of notice then you will be treated as having 'quit' or walked out rather than having formally resigned. The potential consequences of this can be severe and it definitely not recommended.
If an employee is seen to have quit rather than resigned then the employer can hold them in breach of contract if they wish. In simple terms, this means that the employee has broken the agreement they signed on taking the job and loses the privileges guaranteed by it. Depending on the employer (and how spiteful they wish to be), these could include loss of paid holiday owed, withholding of severance pay, and refusal to act as a reference for future job applications. Not only could you lose money by walking out, you might also be making it harder for yourself to find a job in the future.
So remember, hand in your notice of resignation, then when the period of notice is finished your employment is formally ended. It does not end when you hand in your notice of resignation!
Step 2. How To Hand In Your Notice Of Resignation.
If you have chosen to resign rather than simply quit and walk out of a job then you have made the decision to end your term of employment formally and by the book. The manner in which you inform the employer should reflect this.
The standard manner of handing in a formal notice of resignation is by letter. Even if you choose to tell the employer verbally then they will almost always still ask for a letter to put in their records anyway. It is down to personal choice whether or not you hand it in personally or choose to send it in the mail. Either way you will have to sit down with your boss and explain your decision at some point.
The letter is a formal document and should be typed rather than hand written, although a written signature should be included at the end of the text.
A draft letter of notice is included at the end of the article which can be referred to as a template.
Step 3. Leaving Amicably.
Once your letter of notice is handed in then there is only the period of notice to complete before the employment properly concluded. This is a very important time, and how it is handled will reflect heavily on whether or not you decided to make a clean break from the employer.
Most importantly during the period of notice, it is essential to use this time to conclude any outstanding business at your current employment. This could include chasing up any outstanding paid holiday that is owed to ensure it is added to your last paycheque, or checking to see that all the tax information and documentation you need will be posted on to you.
If you wish to leave on good terms, and consequently improve your chances of having a glowing reference, then you should try to tie up all loose ends in any ongoing projects being worked on. This will make the transition for the next employee taking the role much smoother and will be appreciated by both co-workers and employers.
If you want to make a clean break of your resignation, then what you should not do, especially if you want to stay in contact with the employer or use them as a reference, is to use this time to settle any unresolved grievances.
It may be tempting, even more so if your boss or co-workers did not treat you well, to take this opportunity to tell people exactly what you think of them and their behaviour or attitude. It may feel therapeutic to get all your pent up feelings off of your chest, but you can be guaranteed that if a new employer ever contacts the one you are leaving for a character reference, then the consequences of your parting words will come back to haunt you.
It is always far better to resign professionally and amicably and to leave any resentments or arguments at the employers door as you walk away into your new future. After all, you never know if you'll be coming back one day.