Business Tips

How to Resign from a Job Professionally

I know a lot of people on the hunt for better jobs or who have recently accepted new offers! Congratulations to you all!

For anyone still looking for a new position, based on research and my own personal experiences, this is one of the best times of the year to apply. Summer vacations are over and children are back in school. So the important decision makers of a company will be around for the hiring process. If you’re hoping to get into the federal government, their fiscal year ends on September 30th each year. Which means that they’ll be doing quite a bit of hiring for the last 3 months of the year.

Even if you don’t have a new job offer in hand, you may have a feeling that your time is coming! It’s not too early to start thinking of your resignation letter. Remember that these letters aren’t usually required, but of course you do still need to let your employer know if you’re planning to quit and when. You can do this verbally or through an email (I had to do this once because all of my superiors were out of the office). It’s really a personal preference, but I do suggest some kind of paper trail over the verbal option whether it’s a physical piece of paper or an email.

My clients are sometimes nervous about turning in a resignation letter and I always tell them that this isn’t personal, it’s business. There are two things that should be included and they’re very basic: the announcement that you’re leaving and when your last day will be. You don’t have to go into specifics unless you want to. Here’s a resignation letter that I turned in to one of my old managers.

Dear (Manager Name),

This missive serves as my official resignation letter from (position), effective August 27, 2014. In my short time here, I have gained immeasurable knowledge about the (specific) industry that I would have never learned otherwise. However, I have received an offer from another company. After careful consideration, I have decided that this opportunity is the right path for me.

Over the last eight months, I have had the privilege of working with some great people and managers who wanted me to succeed. I often refer to you as “Mother Hen,” and I appreciate the role that you have played during my time with (company name). (Direct supervisor name) is one of the best supervisors that I’ve had and a familial bond has been formed within (department).

If possible, I would like for my (seminar/training) registration to be transferred to someone else who will be able to attend.

Thank you for taking the chance to bring me in, even though my professional background is very contrasting to the work that we do in (company name). I do not take that lightly and I will miss you all sorely.

Best Regards,
Candace McGee

Cc: (Direct Supervisor)
Cc: (Assistant Manager)

Obviously this resignation letter was very personal because I actually really liked the people I worked with. You don’t have to be this lengthy or detailed. But there’s something in it that you should consider when you’re resigning from a job.

In my letter I mentioned a training registration that the company paid for me to attend. Remember things like this as well as all benefit accounts when leaving an employer: health, dental, life, stocks and retirement are just a few. Keep in mind that an account may not be closed out just because you leave. Some questions to ask are:

  • When will my health and dental insurance end?
    For example: insurance may still be active after you leave an employer, giving you time to enroll elsewhere before facing a coverage gap.
  • Will I be able to to transfer any of my benefits to another account?
    For example: you may be able to move your retirement funds with the current employer to one with the new employer. Also, if you put the money into another retirement account instead of cashing out, you’ll likely avoid paying taxes on the money.
  • How much vacation/sick leave will I have leftover?
    You might be able to cash out on any remaining leave that you have.

Here are some final helpful tips before you resign from your job.

Don’t get Senioritis. You know what I mean! Just because you’re leaving the job doesn’t mean that you should act disinterested and start slacking on your duties. You should still perform your duties with integrity and keep your professional reputation in good standing. Stay focused!

Discuss contract work. If you play an important role in the company they may still need your help after you leave (help with choosing your replacement, continuing to foster business relationships for funding purposes, etc.) In cases like these, you may have the opportunity to continue working on an as needed contract basis even though you’ve resigned as an employee. I wouldn’t consider doing this if it creates a conflict of interest with your new employer.

Consider exit interview. Some employers will schedule this before you leave. If so, be honest when you do it. You may be asked about ways that the company can improve especially if the overall morale of the place is down. Don’t be overly critical but be honest. On the flip side…you can also ask about your performance as an employee during this time which might be helpful as you continue to  advance your career.

Skip the details. It’s perfectly OK if you don’t want to reveal the specifics about why you’re leaving a job if you’re uncomfortable with the scenario or if you’re just a private person. Keep it simple and leave with a smile.

Resigning from a job doesn’t have to be a awkward. Following these tips will help you remain professional through the process. DO NOT pull an Inetta the Moodsetta when the time comes for you to quit!

Are you planning to resign from your job soon? Has leaving a job ever turned into a nightmare for you?

Until next time…

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