How To Leave in The Right Way – Handing Your Notice In

Often the most unenjoyable stage of changing jobs, handing in your notice can be traumatic if you fail to approach in it the right way, but cathartic and empowering if you do it right. You should only hand in your notice once you are utterly certain it is the right thing to do, even if you are offered incentives to stay, it is not something your bosses will easily forget and will negatively impact your profile internally.

Strongly advise:

  • Do it in person, book a meeting with your boss – avoid telling anyone else before your boss
  • Brace yourself for an emotional/negative response from your boss (much better that this turns out not to be the case than you are surprised and find yourself responding equally negatively, saying things you cannot retract)
  • Avoid making any part of the departure personal in any way – if you are particularly close to your boss, then frame this part as the professional/necessary part but suggest meeting up socially to discuss once the news has settled in – keep it separate
  • Make sure you have read your contract and know exactly what your obligations are (notice/restrictive covenants etc.)
  • Go with a written letter of resignation and follow this up with an email (suggested format below)
  • Think about what you want the outcome to be and plan your approach (leave on good terms, reduce notice period, landing an important message, ensuring the team are looked after etc.)
  • Go into the meeting having tested your resolve to leave – run through hypothetical counter-offers and explore, even if unlikely, what could be done to keep you (this is an exercise ideally completed before you even start looking, exhausting internal options and not risking the associated issues with staying after trying to leave)
  • Expect a counter-offer, it will cost your organisation money and time to replace you; they will likely try to avoid this if possible
  • Expect a follow up meeting to negotiate departure date/deliverables

Dear xxxx

Please accept this letter of resignation from my position as xxxx. In respect of the terms of my contract, my last day of work will be xx/xx.

I have really appreciated my time at xxxx and the opportunities that it brought me. It has been a pleasure to work with xxxx/work on xxx project (be honest).

I want to make my leaving as easy as possible for everyone involved and would want to help with the handover of my role/recruiting a replacement.

Kind regards,

Keep it short and do not put anything negative in writing that you can’t take back.

Good luck!