You made it. You finally got that dream job after going through the ringer of onsite interviews and white-boarding sessions. There’s just one more step, and you’re more nervous than ever.
…you are dreading putting in your notice to your current employer.
Even if you can’t stand your boss and the organization is a mess, it’s very important to resign professionally. This doesn’t mean you can’t be authentic and honest in your approach, but think about how you want to go about it before acting on an emotion.
Throughout my career, I have spent a lot of time coaching candidates on interviewing; giving them tips on what to expect and how to prepare in order to get the job. Now it’s time to talk about giving your notice and how to resign properly, because there is a right way, and a wrong way, to do it.
Consider these 6 things when giving your notice:
1. Think about the why.
There could be numerous reasons why you’re leaving: benefits, leadership, pay, commute, lack of recognition, etc. Your manager, and most likely your HR department, is going to ask you specifically why you are leaving, so it’s important to have at least two talking points that you can articulate clearly.
2. Always have a resignation letter prepared in advance.
After you inform your boss of your resignation, you will probably be asked to provide formal documentation that you are planning to leave. It is best to have this prepared ahead of time, formally addressed. It is 100% acceptable to give verbal notice and then follow-up with a letter. The letter only needs to be a few sentences and does not need to contain specific reason why you’re leaving.
3. Give proper notice but also be prepared to leave on the spot.
No matter what you have heard, it is professional to always give at least two weeks notice. Your new employer should not expect you to start sooner than two weeks, as they would expect you to give them proper notice if you left them. In addition, some organization will ask you to leave the day you give notice (common example: highly competitive roles like sales or recruiting). It’s nothing personal, just business. If you are in a role like this, be prepared to give your notice and leave that day.
4. Counter Offers.
This one can be tricky. Depending on the position you’re in, your company may give you a counter offer and try to keep you from leaving. Really think about this:
- If you were leaving for money, where was this money 6 months ago?
- Where is the company getting this money to pay you?
- How will this affect your next raise?
Extra compensation only mends you wanting to leave for so long. I read somewhere that 83% of people who accept a counter offer leave after 6 months. It’s better to leave your organization and come back, than it is to accept one. The best strategy in dealing with counter offers is to appreciate the gesture, but you’ve made up your mind.
5. Find out about your final paycheck / commissions.
While you’re still employed, find out about your final paychecks, expenses, 401(k) rollover plan, COBRA, and how potential bonus / commission are paid out. It’s tough to contact HR and ask about this stuff without sounding suspicious, but there should be a company handbook or manual that can assist. If not, try logging into your internal payroll system to pull the info.
6. Exit Interview.
If the company offers or asks you to do an exit interview, you should do it. This is where you can be strategic about your words and opinion on the organization. There is a way to be truthful about your work and the company, but do not burn a bridge. If you were unhappy with your experience, or something about the organization bothered you, it is completely appropriate to address it without sounding angered or acting pompous. Employers would rather know than be left in the dark.
Overall, resigning can be a very stressful and exciting time. You have the weight of the interview off your shoulders and the anxiousness of wanting to start a new chapter of your life.
It’s important that when you do decide to put in your notice, you plan it out each step of the way. Resigning properly sends a message to your co-workers and current employee that you are a professional and that you wish them well. The relationships you maintain throughout your career can make or break you down the line.
Kevin Kluge is a Sr. Recruiter, Salesforce Specialist, and Recruiting Team Lead at Objective Paradigm. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn here.