Handing in your resignation, either verbally or in writing, is a clear statement by you to your employer that you’re going to leave your job. Threatening to leave, or saying you’re looking for another job, isn’t the same as formally resigning, but saying ‘I quit!’ in the heat of an argument with your employer may be taken as a proper resignation so be cautious in what you say. If you do resign in the heat of the moment but didn’t mean it, tell your employer quickly.

Before handing in your resignation, think carefully about why you’re doing it and whether it’s the right thing to do. If you’re leaving because of problems at work or a disagreement with your boss, could these problems be sorted out through your company’s standard grievance procedure? Think about how you’ll manage without your wages, and how easy it will be to find another job.

How To Resign From Your Job

You should make it clear to your employer that you’re formally resigning. You can give your resignation verbally, unless your contract of employment says otherwise. However, it’s always a good idea to put it in writing, saying how much notice you’re giving and what your last day will be. If you want to explain your reasons for resigning, putting it in writing will make it easier to organise your thoughts.

Give your employer the right amount of notice. By law, you must give one week’s notice if you’ve worked for your employer for a month or more. Your contract may demand longer.

Remember that:

  • Your resignation can’t be taken back, unless your contract allows it, or your employer agrees
  • You’ll get your final pay on your normal pay day unless your contract says differently – you don’t have the right to ask for it any earlier
  • As long as you’ve given notice in accordance with the terms of your contract, your employer must accept your resignation

Some Do’s and Don’ts:

  • Don’t get caught off-guard, so do prepare to resign by removing all personal items and files from your office and computer for those instances when your employer will ask you to leave as soon as you tender your resignation.
  • Do make the transition as easy and as smooth as possible. And do offer to help find and/or train your replacement. But don’t make promises you can’t or won’t keep.
  • Don’t make any statements or express any opinions that you may later regret. Remember that old adage: if you have nothing good to say, say nothing at all.
  • Do be sure and give proper notice to your current employer.
  • Don’t burn any bridges. Do leave on good terms with your co-workers and supervisors.
  • Do the exit interview with your current employer, if required. But don’t say anything negative about your supervisor or co-workers during the interview – no matter how tempted you are.
  • Don’t disappear during your last weeks on the job. Do stay a productive member of the team.
  • Do make sure you receive all your stored up compensation and benefits, including bonuses/commission and unused holiday time, etc.
  • Don’t consider a counter offer unless you are sure it’s a better deal for you; studies show a high percentage of workers still leave the employer within a year of accepting a counteroffer, some being forced out.
  • Do make a plan to keep in touch with key co-workers, friends, and mentors. Keep your network strong.
  • Don’t feel guilty about leaving. It may be hard to leave, but focus on the fact that you are leaving to accept a great career opportunity. Don’t brag about that great opportunity.
  • Do your best to wrap up all your major assignments. And do leave a detailed progress report for your supervisor and/or successor.
  • Do be prepared for some employers to overreact to your resignation; some employers immediately dismiss employees who resign.
  • Do write a professional resignation letter.
  • Don’t feel as though you need to tell your current employer any reason for leaving your job, but do be polite in thanking the employer for the opportunity to work there.
  • Do submit your letter of resignation to your immediate supervisor, with a copy to the human resources department.