How to Resign the Right Way – Keep It Professional and Forward-Thinking

Executive Resume Writing

Recent statistics have estimated that the average person will change jobs between 10 and 15 times throughout their professional career. That’s a significant amount of career transitions, most of which are going to involve a prominent amount of influential (and potentially detrimental) accomplices and bystanders, from bosses and colleagues to business-critical customers.

How you shift from one job to the next can therefore have a long-term impact on how your career progresses. The term ‘six degrees of separation’ immediately springs to mind when considering the professional networks that surround most of us. Online channels like LinkedIn are now making those ties and bonds with our industry alumni even more influential.

With this in mind, it’s more important than ever to ensure you resign from your current employer with professionalism and respect – always looking forward to future job opportunities.

Identify why you’re leaving: Before making any resignation announcements, formulate in your mind why you’ve decided to hand in your notice. Could it be that you just want your employer to address your issues and you can’t see any other way of achieving this? In such situations, it’s even more essential that you’ve constructed valid reasons, and that you’re prepared for either scenario – the company may not want to meet your demands.

  • Alternatively, if you’re moving onto another employer, make sure you have the job offer in writing before taking that resignation step.

Discuss F2F followed by writing: Despite so many communications now being conducted online or via the phone, this is one situation where a face-to-face meeting is highly relevant. With your reasons already identified (as above), try and remove any negative emotions, and discuss your decision objectively and empathically. Most bosses will appreciate an upfront and well-considered resignation – they’ve probably been in the same position themselves.

  • Always follow up the initial resignation discussion with something in writing – confirm what’s been discussed as well as dates, etc. Know your contract terms.

Be open to a professional handover: Despite your contract terms, you may be asked to stay on for an additional amount of time to enable the company to hire and train up your replacement. This may even involve you spending your extra agreed-to time doing a job handover. It’s always better to leave an employer on positive terms, so be as flexible as you can and avoid any negative speak.

  • Upsetting or disappointing one employer could filter through to other potential employers – keep it friendly and professional.

Always keep networks top-of-mind: The professional webs that make up our career paths are smaller than ever before due to social media and other electronic communications. In most professions, we’re now encouraged to reconnect and maintain contact with former colleagues and customers (including other former industries), especially via LinkedIn. Thus, whenever you’re shifting jobs, it’s critical to stay focused on future networking opportunities. Who knows when that boss you had 10 years ago may pop up as a key link of introduction for your next preferred employer.

  • Use a forward-thinking approach when leaving your job – unanticipated career prospects may come from a former colleague.

It’s no doubt exhilarating and self-replenishing when changing jobs, particularly if you’ve been feeling dissatisfied in your former role and/or with your employer organisation. But always ensure your forward-moving career steps factor in job opportunities for the long term. Unexpected prospects could arise via the alumni you’ve maintained positive relationships with, including former bosses. ________________________________________________________________________________

Sarah Cronin has extensive experience in collaborating and consulting with clients throughout their job transitions. From providing career advancement coaching (interview skills, job search, LinkedIn), to devising job-winning documentation, professionalism and career enhancement are the primary objectives. Email or call us if you’re considering applying for a job and would like to find out more.

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