How to Resign in the Right Way


We’ve all seen advice about the best way to resign from your role but there are certain basic protocols to follow to ensure you leave with your reputation intact, a strong reference in hand, and your profesional relationships undamaged, just in case you happen to end up working with a former colleague in the future.

“Giving notice is always a conversation people dread but is seldom as bad as people think, provided the discussion is professional, courteous and you keep to company procedure”, says Mark Davies, MD of Cubiq Recruitment

Adhere to process

Review your employment contract and company handbook so you know your notice period and the expected process when it comes to terminating your contract. Working your notice is not good etiquette, it’s a legal requirement for you to do so unless your employer offers you the flexibility.

Clarify any non-compete clauses

Be aware of any non-compete clauses or restriction periods and gain clarification on the parameters of the arrangements as soon as possible. Do not sign any additional paperwork without taking advice and ensure you back up every conversation with an email to avoid any confusion about what was discussed And any potentially contentious issues.

Be prepared to leave immediately

If you are going to a competitor you may be considered a security risk, even if you’ve been with the business for a long time, so make sure you’ve cleared any important items from your desk before having the conversation just in case you’re asked to leave the premises immediately!

Do it in person

Do not hand your notice in over text or email! It doesn’t matter if your direct manager is not in, somebody will step in to have the initial conversation in their absence.

Don’t be vitriolic

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your departure, thank your boss for the opportunity. If you have an exit interview, keep any advice or grievances strictly professional.

Remain positive

Allow your manager to handle any internal communications about your departure to avoid destabilising the team and don’t tell anybody before you’ve told your boss! Don’t be the person who leaves and spends their remaining days within the business causing unrest by publicly airing your gripes and reasons for leaving. It’s unprofessional and damaging to your reputation.

If you do get asked about the reasons you’re leaving, replying with something like, “I’ve enjoyed my time here but I felt like I needed a change so when this opportunity came up it was too hard to turn down”, is better than “I hate it here and I couldn’t wait to get out”.

Mark’s advice is to keep it short and sweet, “The resignation meeting shouldn’t take long. Any follow up meetings with management will be booked in if further discussions are required. Be honest, professional and make sure you back up your reasons for leaving.”

Hand over your projects

Make sure your handover is comprehensive and that you leave your customers and colleagues fully in the know with any live or unfinished projects. Before you go, organise a review meeting to clear up any loose ends and address anything that could potentially cause any problems later on down the line.

Get your references before you go

Asking for recommendations while you are still in post means that they will be more likely to be favourable. If you can, get the recommendation sent on email but also get a hard copy on headed paper.

Mark’s final advice is as follows: “The resignation process is something we will all have some experience of. You should always aim to leave a company in the best possible light but if you need any advice or pointers on this, you can always contact me or a member of our team on 0161 2143842 for help.”