Guide to Resigning Professionally (plus Free Resignation Letter Template)

Guide to Resigning Professionally plus Free Resignation Letter Template

Starting a new phase in your career is exciting. But after the decision to move on or the initial celebration of your shiny new job comes the dread of having to resign from your current role. Despite all those dreams you’ve had of enthusiastically quitting your job, doing the real thing is nowhere near as exciting. Suddenly, you realise that dramatically quitting like they do in the movies is not a great idea. Unlike movie characters, the way you resign can have some unexpected consequences.

If you are reading this, congratulations. You are probably ready to close the current chapter of your life and start a new one. However, it’s time to resign. Regardless of your circumstances, there is a way to resign in style. Let Alpha Resumes show you how.

Get all your ducks lined up

Before you make things official, it is important to sort out the logistics of your resignation. Have you confirmed a starting date in your new role? It is also important to check the amount of notice you need to provide your employer. Notice periods vary depending on your company and type of employment. In Australia, most workplaces require at least 1 to 4 weeks’ notice. However, if you are in a senior leadership position, that notice period could be longer. Some workplaces let employees use annual leave as part of their notice period. It may be a good idea to apply for annual leave if you require an early exit. Once you have all the details of your transition sorted, it is time to put everything in writing.

Write up your resignation letter.

Nowadays, most workplaces require your resignation in writing. In 2021, it is perfectly normal to submit your resignation through email to your boss or HR team. However, you may also choose to present them a physical letter.  Writing resignation letters are not as daunting as they are made out to be. Resignation letters are quite short. All they really need to include is:

  • Addressing your boss or HR representative.
  • Your intention of resigning from your current position.
  • The last day/shift you will be working.
  • A polite thank you message.

Alpha Resumes has a free, accessible resignation letter template for you to use.

Despite the common belief, you do not need to explain where you are going or why you are resigning in your letter. The only exception when you may need to explain where you are going is if you are changing jobs within the same company.

Set up a meeting with your manager.

Ask your manager if you can take a moment to talk in private – face to face. When resigning, one of the most important things is to make sure you tell your manager first. Most bosses will not appreciate being blindsided or hearing about your resignation through an unexpected email, or even worse, via workplace gossip. Timing is also critical. The best times to approach your manager can be at either the start or end of the shift or during a quiet period at your workplace.

Start the conversation with your manager.

Verbally tell your manager that you are resigning. If you have not already done so, now would be a good time to hand them a printed resignation letter or let them know to expect one via email. Be clear with your manager that you are resigning and when your final shift will be.

Be careful if you are asked why you are leaving. Being too truthful about how much you dislike your boss, colleagues or workplace can cause unwanted conflict or damage your reputation. Truth is, you don’t have to disclose exactly why you are leaving. It can help to practice a respectful answer like ‘I want to pursue a new opportunity’ before the meeting so you aren’t put on the spot. Also listen to what your manager has to say, it may take some time for them to process your news.

Be sure to end the meeting on a positive note and regardless of your relationship, thank your boss for their time during your employment. Small necessities like this make a big difference when handling a resignation.

The light at the end of the tunnel

Congratulations, you have now officially resigned! But it’s not over yet. Just because you are leaving the job does not mean you should slack off. Be sure to do these things until you clock out of your final shift so you can leave with your head held high.

Don’t burn your bridges

Be modest. Avoid excessively bragging about your new job or how you are leaving. Be civil with your colleagues and managers, regardless of how they have treated you in the past. You might end up needing these people as references or for future employment. Also, you never know when you might see someone again.

Stay on top of your responsibilities

Just because you are leaving, it is not an excuse to be unprofessional. Now is a good time to focus on tying up loose ends and preparing your workstation for your replacement. Don’t slack off with any safety aspects of your job either. Getting injured on your last shift for ignoring safety protocols could sabotage your new role.  Remember to stay on top of all your tasks, you are accountable for your work until the final clock off.

Don’t take anything that doesn’t belong to you.

Taking work property – both physical and intellectual – is stealing and your employer can threaten legal action or police intervention. It really isn’t worth it for a stapler, or a few documents that you will probably never look at again.

Reread the Employee handbook

Or your workplaces enterprise/union agreement. Know your entitlements or benefits. This handbook should cover how much notice you need to provide and other important aspects such as Non-Compete clauses. You may also be entitled to a payout for leaving.

If you are fortunate enough to receive a going away party or parting gift on your final shift, you can be proud knowing that you are leaving on good terms and resigned in true professional style. If you are thinking about resigning and need a professional resume writer to assist, Alpha Resumes is here to assist.

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