So the time’s finally come and you’re ready to quit your job. Most likely you’ll be feeling a mix of nerves and excitement, but don’t let this cloud your judgement when it comes to letting your current employer in on your plans. Here are our top tips on quitting your job the right way.

Point of no return: Don’t quit your job before you’ve done the groundwork

Whether you’re quitting your job to go self-employed or to take a role at another company, being absolutely sure everything is in place before you hand your notice in is vital.

If you’ve decided to work for yourself or start a business, make sure you’ve done all the groundwork, such as sorting your business plan, working out your finances, and setting your day rate.

If you’re leaving to take on a role at another company, be sure that you’ve got written confirmation of the job offer and that it details your salary. Things can change quickly, and if all you’ve got to rely on is a verbal agreement, you could suddenly find yourself with no job at all.

Ultimately, handing in your notice is often the point of no return. You may be persuaded to reconsider with the help of a nice, juicy pay rise, but depending on the mindset of your employer you may still be marked as someone who isn’t completely committed to their job.

Keep schtum: Don’t tell colleagues before your boss

When you’ve made your mind up, you’ll want to shout it from the rooftops, but it’s best to wait until you’ve made it official with your employer before telling colleagues.

If your decision is put on hold due to an offer of more money or a promotion (or both), your boss won’t be best pleased if they find out other employees knew of your plans. They’ll be even less impressed when your colleagues all try the same tactic.

Signed, sealed, delivered: How to write a resignation letter

So you’ve decided now is the right time to make things formal and you’re ready to hand in your notice.

Keep your resignation letter short and to the point. Address it to your line manager and make sure it includes the date you’re handing your notice in, along with your last day with the company, which will be dictated by the notice period stipulated in your contract of employment.

It might be that your employer offers to let you leave sooner (or persuade you to stay a little longer), but it’s important to have a written record of when you handed your notice in. It’s best to arrange a meeting with your boss, but have answers up your sleeves for the most common questions. They’ll probably want to find out exactly why you want to leave, what it would take to make you stay, and where you’re going. How much you tell them is completely up to you, but it pays to be prepared.

Bite your tongue: Ride out the last few weeks peacefully

If your time with your current employer has been less than perfect, the temptation might be there to unleash hell on those who’ve made your life a misery, but do all you can to avoid this.

Go on the offensive and it’ll probably just make your last few weeks at the company even more unbearable. Plus, burning bridges is rarely a good idea – you might end up regretting those heated discussions if your cross paths with your old boss later down the line.

Be professional: Remember you’re still under contract

Once you’ve handed your notice in, you’ll probably want to put all your efforts into getting ready for the new adventure that awaits. Although it’s likely you won’t be quite as willing to work unpaid overtime or offer to take on more work, it’s important to remember that you’re still under contract with your current employer. The last thing you’d want is to be dragged into a disciplinary and end up being fired part way through your notice period.

Pitch for work: Talk to colleagues about opportunities

If you’re leaving to start up your own business in the same industry, make the most of your existing relationships. Talk to your boss and other departments, enquiring about future projects and how you might be able to help. But also be aware of your contractual obligations. It might be that you’re prevented for working for the company for a set period of time, although this type of clause can often be discussed and waived if you’re on good terms.

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