Resigning - A Resume Centre Guide
There are a great number of different reasons why you may wish to leave your job and these can include a simple desire for a change, career development or increased remuneration. They also can be the result of bullying, harassment or unfair treatment. Whatever the reason may be, there are also different ways of approaching the resignation process, some right and some wrong. However, as long as you try to be mindful of professional etiquette, you should be able to leave behind a positive impression with your former employer.
Traditionally, the resignation process will begin by writing a formal letter to your employer and it is particularly important to remember that this document will probably remain on your personnel file for the rest of your working life so it should be carefully prepared. Preferably, this letter should be professionally worded and concise detailing simply your name and the date from which your resignation will apply. Make sure that you give adequate notice to your employer by checking your contract of employment or company policy document. If you have already found another job, again make sure that your new employer is aware of the date that you are available from so that no conflict arises.
Sometimes, depending on your reasons for leaving, you may decide to use your resignation letter to voice particular concerns about the company or specific individuals. However, despite whether or not your reasons for wishing to issue criticism or complaints are justified, using your letter of resignation to voice personal attacks or to attempt to score points is highly ill-advised. Your intention may simply be to make your employer aware of a particular problem but such a letter can end up sounding vindictive and is unlikely to ever do you any good. When you are in a particularly negative frame of mind, any letter that you write in the heat of the moment may not necessarily include your most lucid thoughts and, while possibly sounding too harsh when read in a calmer moment, the letter may also contain careless spelling and grammar errors making it even more unprofessional.
Some people decide to use email to send in their resignation with the belief that this is more informal and that they can therefore use this opportunity to issue criticism. However, email is now considered by many to be a common way of issuing formal correspondence and should be treated just as seriously as a written letter. Also, email can be easily and rapidly distributed to a wide audience meaning that any accusations you make, or any buttons on the keyboard pressed in error, can have potentially disastrous consequences.
Once your employer has received your letter of resignation, it is common practice to be invited to attend an exit interview. Generally, your employer will be looking to find out your reasons for leaving the company to see if there is anything that they can improve upon in terms of the working environments, specific practices and procedures or particular business relationships. If your reasons for leaving are related to problems or concerns with the company, your employer may want to try and prevent the same thing occurring with other members of staff so the feedback that you give could be beneficial to your former colleagues. As with your resignation letter, personal attacks should be avoided and, if it makes you feel uncomfortable, you do not have to give information on your colleagues even if you are specifically asked to do so.
The exit interview may be used by your employer to encourage you to stay with the company so be prepared to face offers of promotion or increased salary. These counter-offers can be very tempting so it is important to remember your specific reasons for submitting your resignation in the first place. If you are genuinely unhappy with the company in general, or wish to change the direction of your career, it is unlikely that more money or greater responsibility will change your mind so you should be cautious before accepting an offer that will not significantly improve your daily working environment. However, if your reasons for leaving are ones that can be overcome, then a counter-offer may well be worth considering so that you can avoid the upheaval of changing employment.
It is important to read your contract of employment carefully not only to find out your required period of notice but also to check what your final salary entitlement should be. Whether or not you are required to work your notice can make a difference, as can any outstanding holiday allowance. Should there be any dispute with the final settlement, the way you handled the letter of resignation and the exit interview can make resolving this issue either a smooth or a complex process so this again emphasizes the need to be professional at all times. You also never know what your future career may hold so, if you can keep your relationship with your former manager on a positive level, your chances of reemployment months or even years down the line are greatly improved.
The people that you work with on a daily basis can be just as important to you later in your career as your former manager so you may find it useful to keep details of names and phone numbers of business contacts as well as friends you have made within the company. On the whole, the key to a successful resignation is to keep the process professional at all times, maintain positive relationships and remember that your future career may include a return to your former employer or may bring you into contact with previous clients and colleagues.
Author: James Innes