The negotiations are complete, a new job offer has been made, you’ve formally accepted the position and now you just have to turn in your notice.  Easy, right?

For some job seekers who are currently working, the resignation meeting can be a daunting process…

How do you say “good-bye” to your current employer, while maintaining good rapport for the future?
If you’ve been working for your employer a long time, how do you overcome the nerves that arise at the thought of leaving the stability you’ve enjoyed for the great unknown?
If you’re presented with a counteroffer, do you take it?

Working with talent from resume to interview to offer and beyond, our recruiters have helped many job seekers through the resignation process with the following tips:

  • Before you ever resign – figure out why you want to leave.  Whether it’s the location, salary, team, boss, responsibilities, lack of challenge or simply that you’re ready for something new, there is a reason you want to find a new position.  Identify your real motivations for leaving and concentrate only on opportunities that will offer you what you seek.  When you finally do accept that new position, there should be no question in your mind that this really is the best opportunity for you at this time.
  • Never accept a counteroffer; you only put yourself at a disadvantage.  By starting the resignation process with your current employer and accepting more money to stay, your employer still learns that you are unhappy in your position.  If salary wasn’t your main reason for wanting to leave, then many (if not all) of the other reasons you wanted to leave still haven’t changed.  And don’t be surprised if they question your loyalty when you’re up for awards, honors, new clients, responsibilities or promotions.  Employers could go so far as to use a counteroffer to buy them time to find your replacement, ultimately replacing you (and leaving you without another job to go to).
  • Always start a resignation meeting with a matter-of-fact (not apologetic) letter.  It could simply state: “Dear ____, The purposed of this letter is to inform you that as of (date), I will no longer be employed with (company).  I wish you continued success in future.  Kindest, ________”
  • Upon presenting your resignation letter, reiterate that you are leaving and assume next steps.  Explain the truth in a way that communicates respect for all parties and assumes the next logical step is your handover.  Let them know that as of a certain date you will no longer be employed and wanted to start the turnover / handover process as soon as possible.  By asking for details to start this process, you leave them less room for trying to convince you to stay or offering you something else to keep you happy.  Your decision seems more final.
  • No matter how your employer reacts to the news, stay calm and professional.  Though employment laws differ in every state, unless you feel comfortable or have a binding non-compete to honor, you do not have to disclose why you are leaving or the new company who has hired you.  If your employer continues to insist, you need only state that you choose not to discuss your reasons for leaving but focus on how you can help the company before your departure.
  • Before sharing your departure with colleagues, ensure you have discussed how it will be addressed.  Will you announce it?  Will the company?  Will it be done in writing or verbally?  This step further conveys your respect for your employer/manager as well as solidifies the finality of your turnover.
  • Between the time of your resignation and departure, don’t change your work ethic.  While it might be tempting to come in late, leave early, leave things unfinished or not work as hard, don’t do anything that might change the way your counterparts view you and your work.  Burning bridges never works!

Most of all, remember that you are in control of your career – not your employer!  Your new opportunity will bring with it great things.  The resignation meeting is just one small thing to do before you get there.

Good luck!

Jess Bedford for Artisan Creative