The official blog of Abacus Group — a place to share our knowledge and thoughts on trends in recruiting

February 20, 2013

Moving On: Best Practices for Resignation after Securing New Employment

If you are planning to resign from your current position, you must be sure to do so gracefully and professionally in order to avoid tarnishing relationships with your managers or colleagues. Assuming that you are abiding by Abacus Group’s most important rule for resignation, you have secured a new job with a different organization while working.

Congratulations on your new opportunity! You have already successfully accomplished the difficult task of securing a new job while employed. Now, the final challenge is the tactful communication of your resignation. As your new job offer has been formally extended and accepted, you will need to act promptly to announce your resignation courteously and efficiently to your direct supervisor and Human Resources.

Here are several recommended actions and corresponding strategies for leaving your present employer without damage to your professional reputation. By adhering to these guidelines, you’ll be on your way to a smooth transition into your new role, equipped with the valuable knowledge and experience gained from your current job.

Give Adequate Notice
While most employers require a minimum of two to four weeks’ notice for resignation, providing additional time for your supervisor to prepare for your replacement is encouraged, especially if you are the only person in the company responsible for fulfilling your particular function. The remainder of your tenure with the organization will be much more pleasant knowing that the employer has been given adequate notification of your intended departure.

Put it in Writing
For both your own records and those of your employer, you must provide a basic written expression of your intent to resign. Address letters to both your direct supervisor and the appropriate Human Resources contact. The letter does not need to contain specific details about your resignation; rather, it should simply state your decision to leave and provide an intended last day of work. Additionally, the letter should thank the employer for the opportunity to have held the position and to have worked for the organization.

Request a Face-to-Face Meeting
Although you’ll have prepared written notice of your decision to resign, it won’t be acceptable to simply email or hand-deliver the note to its intended recipients without saying a word. Instead, request a brief, in-person meeting with your manager, to which you’ll arrive with signed copies of the resignation letter in hand. Unless you’re restricted by specific extenuating circumstances—such as your supervisor’s long-term temporary leave—an in-person announcement is the most professional approach. 

Provide a Diplomatic Explanation
Taking a straightforward approach, promptly inform your manager of your decision to resign. An immediate, clear statement of your resignation will affirm your certainty. Then, disclose the specifics of your decision as diplomatically as possible. Even if you are leaving a job that you completely despise, avoid mention of anything negative. Otherwise, you risk burning bridges with your supervisor or the organization at large. Instead, highlight the positive aspects of the new opportunity; explain how your next position will allow you to fulfill the next steps of you career and grow professionally.

Reject the Counteroffer
Assuming you have chosen to disclose your acceptance of a new job offer to your current employer, there is a strong possibility that you will receive a counteroffer. Accepting a counteroffer—an employer’s response to your resignation in the form of higher compensation—is always dangerous. Remain firm about your decision to resign, taking into consideration our four strongest reasons to reject a counteroffer. While an increased salary in your current role may seem appealing, polite rejection and concentration on your new opportunity are your best courses of action.

Remain Fully Engaged
Giving notice of your resignation with the intent to begin a new job doesn’t entitle you to sub-par work performance. As you’re still being compensated for your work during your final weeks of employment, continue to showcase your best possible efforts. This includes completing all outstanding assignments to the best of your ability and leaving proper documentation for your successor. By remaining a valuable, hard-working member of the organization until the very end, you’ll depart from your employer with a positive closing impression.

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