Thursday, May 12, 2016

How to's for Tendering Your Resignation

Things have changed since the days when people would stay employed by the same company for 45 years and retire never having had to tender a resignation or format a resume.  While a precious few of us will have that experience, at one time or another most of us will find ourselves in a position where we are determining the best way to tender our resignation to our employer. 
Based on your experiences with your employer, sometimes resigning is an easy decision, but it can also be one of the toughest decisions you've ever made.  In either case, there are a lot of factors that go into resigning:
  • How much notice do I give?
  • How do I provide that notice?
  • Who do I provide that notice to?
  • Do I call someone first or just email my letter of resignation?
  • What do I put in my letter of resignation?
  • Do I put my letter of resignation in the body of the email or in an attached document?
How Much Notice:  Excluding situations where harassment or a hostile work environment is involved and an immediate exit is necessary, all other circumstances should require a 2 - 3 week notice.  Some companies require up to a 30 day notice so make sure you re-read the agreements you signed when accepting your job.
How To Notify:  Face to face is always preferable.  If that is impossible then an over the phone discussion is the next best option.  If for any reason you are uncomfortable with a direct conversation, the last option is to email your resignation without prior notification.  When providing resignation through email, it is always best to write your resignation in a document and attach that document to the email. In the body of the email write something like: "It is with deep sadness that I am writing to notify you of my decision to resign from my position, attached you will find my formal letter of resignation"
Who To Notify:  Typically notice should be provided to your direct manager first.  In some situations this many not be appropriate and in those cases you can either provide notice to your direct manager's boss, the company owner or human resources depending on the size and scope of your employer.
What To Put In The Letter:  What you want to say will greatly depend on why you are resigning and whether or not you've had the opportunity to speak with someone about your departure first.  If you're leaving your job because you're completely disgruntled, the resignation letter is NEVER the place to complain about all the things that lead you making your decision.  Save those for the "exit interview".  If you don't anticipate an exit interview, find a polite way to touch on those subjects without putting your employer on the defensive.  You want to leave the job on the best possible note so future employers will receive positive feedback if they ever call for a reference.  The resignation letter does not need to be a long drawn-out affair.  A paragraph or two is sufficient.  There are many examples available online for reference.  In short, the letter of resignation should include the following:
  • A Heading (Dear name of your boss here) Or (To Whom It My Concern) etc.
  • An opening sentence (it is with deep regret that I am tendering my resignation) etc.
  • A paragraph or two on your experience (it has been my pleasure to work for xyz company over the last 10 years.  The knowledge I have gained and) etc.  If you have concerns that have caused you to leave and you want to touch on them, do so professionally: (while I am grateful for the experience, the lack of opportunity to move into a managerial role has caused me to make the difficult decision to accept a position with another company where there is more room for advancement) etc. 
  • Provide an end date (I am providing my 3 week notice, with my last day of employment being Friday, June 17th) etc.
  • Leave the door open for conversation (If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call.  I'm happy to discuss my thoughts and end date) etc.
Finally, double check for errors.  It helps to have another person review your letter of resignation prior to sending it.  Make sure you either CC or BCC your personal email address when sending the letter so you have a record of the date you sent it and the information you provided.  Most of the time separating from a job is not easy, as the old song says "breaking up is hard to do".  By making your exit in the most professional way possible, you can leave the door open for good references and future communication.