If you’re in the process of looking for a new job, you may not have considered how you will go about handing in your notice to your current employer. But searching for a new job while working is a big hurdle to get over first!
However, handing in your notice at the correct time and in the right way is incredibly important to your long-term career goals. The thought of having to tell your employer that you’re leaving them may make you uncomfortable, but keep in mind that companies are accustomed to this - it's all part of running a business.
Good references from past employers are paramount to your career progression, so here’s a brief guide to when you should hand in your notice and how to resign professionally.
The best time to hand in your notice
It is vital that you do not hand in your notice until you have received a formal job offer in writing. If something falls through with your potential new job before the written offer and you have already handed in your notice, you may be left jobless. Even if you think your new job is near enough secured, background checks or even company changes could affect your verbal offer.
If you have not yet received a formal job offer from the company and seem to be waiting a while, ask them politely if they know what date you may be starting and if they know when you will receive the formal job offer.
The best time to hand in your notice is when you have your formal offer in writing and when you know your manager will be available to talk.
It is best to hand your notice to your manager in person if this is possible. They will appreciate it much more than an email or a letter left on their desk. It will also give you a chance to express your gratitude to the company and ensure that it is an amicable parting of ways.
Prepare for all outcomes
Handing in your notice may come as a shock to your employer, so be prepared for their reaction. They may be upset as they now need to start looking for your replacement, which could be a costly undertaking. If this does happen, it is important to maintain composure and be professional throughout.
You do not have to go into your reasons for leaving, but if you would prefer to let them know why, try to not get too personal. Try to be as neutral in the conversation as possible and do not direct anger towards your manager. Upsetting your manager further is not a good way to gain a good reference.
You should also be prepared for a counter-offer. If your manager can’t bear the thought of you leaving the company, they may offer you more money or a promotion. To be prepared for this outcome after handing in your notice, make sure you measure up the pros and cons of both businesses prior to your meeting.
Furthermore, you should be prepared for your manager to ask you to leave with immediate effect. In some jobs, this may actually be an easier transition than you working out your notice period. If you are dismissed, you can ask why but try not to get into an argument. You will still be paid for the notice period time.
Stay professional at all times
In case we haven't already made this clear, it is very important stay professional when you hand in your notice and during your notice period. Even if you absolutely hate the job you’re in, now is not a good time to express your contempt. You’re already leaving the company, there’s no need to make it more awkward for your employer.
Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Your notice should be worded professionally and should not go into specifics
- Be sure to work out your notice period and offer to tie up any loose ends
- Prepare yourself to train someone else to fill your role
- If you want to tell your colleagues, be respectful
- Continue working as usual up until your leaving date - don’t slack off
If you follow these steps, your resignation should go smoothly and you should be well on your way towards your new job with a good reference in hand.
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