Handing In your Resignation like a True Professional

So, you’ve taken the decision to look for another job – go you!

You’ve polished your resume/CV. You’ve hopefully reached out to a reputable recruiter. You’ve managed to attend a series of nerve-racking interviews (most likely after a series of nights of grueling preparation!). You’ve put yourself outside your comfort zone to sell yourself and your skills. Ta Daaa! You’ve managed to get yourself your dream offer – congratulations! Phew! That’s the hard work over and done with surely…now it’s time to celebrate with a bottle of MOET…unfortunately NOT just yet!

The next part of the process is often the most difficult for most people – handing in your resignation for your current role. How can you do this with true professionalism – with elegance, grace and style, and without burning any bridges or leaving on a ‘bad note’? After all, working in a niche, tech space means you never quite know when you may cross paths with your current boss or company again!

Jenson Knight has years of recruitment expertise, and over time, we have offered advice to many of our partners to make the process as graceful and painless as possible to all those involved.

We at Jenson Knight have summed up our past conversations (and believe us, they’ve been long ones!) in 4 simple steps, and have shared them with you, so you can have the best experience of handing in your resignation like a true professional.

Timing Is Key

Ensure you have read through your employment contract thoroughly, know exactly how much notice you have to give your current employer and be sure of where you stand legally with regards to annual leave BEFORE you speak to your boss. Some companies will put you on ‘Garden leave’ (where they pay you to work your notice but don’t have you in the office – so there’s no excuse to tend to those weeds that you’ve been putting off for so long!), some will let you go early if requested, whilst others will want you to work it through to the end. Remember, you leaving won’t just leave a gap in work but also creates more work by having to replace you. If therefore they ask you to work your notice period, then it’s good practice to honour that, especially for future relationships. This can also demonstrate to your new employer that you have strong values.

When should you have the all-important meeting to hand in your resignation? Most of the managers that Jenson Knight have spoken to often say that they prefer an employee to tell them at the start of the day. It shows confidence and consideration, and being perfectly honest, how much work would you really get done on that day, knowing that you will be ending it with a difficult conversation? So just cut to the chase, be brave and get it done! You will feel relieved and your manager will have the day for the news to sink in, rather than potentially giving them a stressful start to their evening after work.

Be Honest but ‘To the point’

You know the reasons why you want to leave and why your new role is your dream job, however, your manager may not. Before going to the meeting, ensure you are clear with yourself about what your reason(s) for leaving are. The reasons could include a whole host of things such as money, location, career progression/promotion, duties, scope of work, your health, etc. Mention what is most relevant to you.

Briefly run through these with your manager, but be as tactful as possible so it doesn’t come across as a negative criticism on your current company…and importantly, get to the point! After all there’s no point dragging out what will already likely be a difficult conversation just for the sake of it!

Your goal from this is to ensure both parties understand that this is about your career, that it’s nothing personal, and to wish each other well (even if you don’t truly mean it!) and therefore making the period you work out your notice a more pleasant, tolerable experience.

Don’t let your emotions distract you

Some employees really like their manager and have a great relationship with them- you may be one of these people.  Your current manager may be the person you go for beers with on a Friday night or the person you chat to about life and its little problems. Equally, you may be at the other end of the spectrum and really dislike like your manager – they may be the reason why you’re leaving in the first place. Regardless, it’s essential that you don’t let your emotions get in the way of the resignation meeting. Talk facts, not feelings!

When preparing for your meeting, it’s good practice to consider what your manager may say before you go in. Jenson Knight often talk with candidates throughout their recruitment process about what they think their current boss might say in that conversation. Preparing like this allows you to deal with possible emotions that you may encounter and makes you less likely to feel guilty, confused or even manipulated into taking a counter offer. In the current candidate driven market, most employers will try to “counter offer” good talent. Jenson Knight have witnessed this more and more recently, but don’t lose sight of the reasons you decided to accept the new job in the first place (more on counter offers in one of next blogs – but in summary, if you’ve worked for a good manager/company, your resignation shouldn’t come as a surprise as they should truly understand you as a person, not just an employee).

Write Well

Some people write their resignation letter prior to their meeting and some do so afterwards. Our advice is to get it typed up and saved before it. The purpose (and content) of this letter is essentially about you formally confirming your intention to leave, so that it goes on record and won’t delay your leave date (and start date at your new role) too much. The process of discussing and confirming your official leave date can be agreed after the meeting.

It’s a good idea to print a signed copy of the letter to give AFTER the meeting and also emailing a version of it, to avoid the scenario of any ‘lost’ letters. Be tactful and let the employers decide when your resignation is announced. Some employers may only want you to announce your resignation once all the relevant management team have been informed and a plan of action of the next steps to take has been established. The last thing you want to do is leave on a bad note just because you haven’t done something as simple as show tact.

In summary, Jenson Knight think the key to handing your resignation like a true professional is about being honest, sincere and just getting it done. It is never going to be an easy conversation and overthinking it will probably lead to you going through too many scenarios in your mind and scaring yourself, when often many of these won’t actually happen. Do it as soon, quickly and painlessly as possible by knowing how and what to say.

Hopefully you also have a great, reputable recruiter by your side who is supporting you throughout the process and who you can check scenarios with and ask for guidance on how best to deal with these. If they have worked with you in a true partnership, then they will know your reasons for taking the new role, and importantly, know you and know your relationship with your boss. If the latter doesn’t quite ring true, get in touch with us here, at Jenson Knight- our quality of service is our expertise.