Telling your boss you want to leave is never easy. Even if you hate your role, don’t get along with your boss, and can’t wait to go, there is always a right and a wrong way to resign.

You never know where you’ll end up in the coming years, so it’s wise to act cautiously and ensure you don’t burn bridges when resigning from a job.

here is your 5-point checklist on how to resign the right way:

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persons talking

1. make sure you are sure!

Weigh up the pros and cons of leaving your role. Are you going because you want a higher salary? If so, have you asked your boss for a pay rise? Are you leaving because there is nowhere for you to progress?

Perhaps your manager can work on a clear career progression pathway or plan with you. Do you have another role lined up?

Make sure that if you resign before securing another job, you might end up with a gap in earnings from when you finish up and start a new career. 

2. check your contract for the required notice period

All agreements by Australian law require a notice period, regardless of whether you are in full-time work, part-time work or on a contract role.

Providing your employer with notice is a great way to end the relationship on a good note, as it will give them time to put plans in place to replace your role or to arrange cover for your position when you leave.

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3. write a resignation letter

Type up a letter you will use during your formal resignation meeting with your manager (see step 4).

The letter should be courteous and briefly outline the notice period you are giving and your intended last working day. It is appropriate to include a reason for your resignation - if you have found another role or are leaving to take a study or career break.

Steer clear of documenting any emotional reasons - if you are leaving because you don't get along with your boss or team, it is best to go this unsaid.

Make sure you keep a copy of the letter for your records. 

4. organise a face-to-face meeting with your manager

Your resignation should be done formally with written notice of intent, not via phone or email.

  • Arrange to meet with your manager and take your resignation letter with you prepared to resign in person, although you may be asked to email it to your manager instead.
  • During the meeting, let your manager know you are resigning and explain your reasons for leaving the business.

Your manager may ask you why you are leaving, so try to keep negativity out of the situation and keep the discussion positive. A great way to do this is to thank your manager for all your opportunities with the business and emphasise the positive experiences you enjoyed in your role. 

There is no point in leaving your job on bad terms. How you manage your resignation conversation could determine the tone of your exit and whether the door will be left open for you to return one day.

During the conversation, be prepared for your manager to offer you a pay rise or other development opportunities to try and convince you to stay.

This is when it's vital to remember the reasons for your leaving in the first place.

  • Are you leaving because you want a higher salary?
  • Did you resign because you have nowhere else to go in that business?
  • If so, see step 1 - try and discuss this before it comes to resignation.

Finally, remember to thank your manager for their help and guidance during your time under their leadership and offer to be proactive during the handover period. 

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5. ask for recommendations

Asking your boss for a recommendation or agreement to be a verbal referee, even if you already have a new role, is a great way to boost your CV and LinkedIn profile for a future job search.

During your final week, send your boss an email (or request a face-to-face meeting with them) to thank them personally for their leadership and ask if they would be willing to write you a recommendation on LinkedIn and be a reference.

Don't limit your recommendation request to your manager - seek suggestions from clients you dealt with, your colleagues and even suppliers - anyone with whom you had regular contact during your role and who would be able to vouch for you.

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Resigning can feel quite daunting; however, if handled well, it can be an experience that boosts your career and be a positive experience for you and your employer.

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