Starting a New Job

How To Hand in Your Notice

May 12, 2021

Many of us find the experience of leaving our job and handing in our notice rather daunting. It can be a challenging task to master, however, by taking a number of steps, you can successfully hand in your notice while still remaining in the good graces of the company. In this article, we discuss how to resign from a job, how to hand in your notice and provide some tips for doing so successfully.

How to hand in your notice

Below are some steps you can take when handing in your notice:

1. Have a new job secured

Generally, you shouldn't give your notice until you have managed to secure a new job in writing with all the terms and conditions clearly detailed. If you are uncertain about any of the conditions or they come across vague, you should have them ironed out by speaking to the HR manager.

2. Review your terms and conditions of employment

When planning to hand in your notice, you should carefully look at the terms and conditions of your current job position and in particular, the notice period that is required. Your notice period requirement could be one week, two weeks or as long as a month. It depends on the current employment contract and the company you are working for. The general rule of thumb is the more senior of a position you hold, the longer the notice period will be.

If your new employer has asked you to start with them before your notice period is fulfilled, tell them that you would never leave an employer without doing the entire notice period. Say that you will ask your employer if they would be okay with you doing a shorter notice period and that you will get back to them as soon as you can. By doing this, you will prove to them that you are reliable.

Most likely they will not have a problem if you cannot accommodate them sooner. Keep in mind, when the discussion has gotten to this point, it is clear that you are good as hired. It is unlikely they will want to go through the entire recruitment process again.

3. Be professional

If you get on well with your manager, ask them if you can have a chat with them when it's convenient. When speaking with them, say that you would like to leave, hand in your full notice or attempt to negotiate a shorter notice if necessary. Just remember not to stop being friendly during this process. It is also your opportunity to ask for a reference.

Each company has a different policy regarding references with some having to take place on the phone and others having to be written. With all that being said, try to get some reassurance that they will speak favourably of you. In addition, it is crucial to get the name of the person who is giving you a reference if they are not your manager. It is a good idea to try and get all of this sorted in the one meeting and before you leave as going back to them months later may not be practical.

4. Write your letter of resignation

The next thing to do is to write your letter of resignation. You should keep this short and professional, mention why you are leaving and thank them for the opportunity. Ensure the tone of the letter is polite and does not speak poorly of the company or its staff.

5. Hand in your notice

Arrange a meeting with your manager to hand in your notice. Ensure you have a couple of copies of the letter and give one to the manager. Once you have given your resignation letter to your manager, you will begin working your notice period.

What to avoid when giving your notice

Handing in your notice can be daunting. Below are some things you should avoid when giving your notice:

1. Leave on poor terms

You should never leave on bad terms, despite any problems you may have faced. Choose the right moment and take your time to provide your notice and be sure to do it with regret at leaving the business. You may be shocked at how your manager responds when you say this. They could be relieved at the idea of removing your role or maybe they will be sad about the idea of you leaving.

2. Don't be negative about your previous employer, colleagues or new employers and colleagues

It does not matter whether you are chatting to previous employers, co-workers, new employers or clients, you should never speak poorly of your last role, even if you had difficulties. Remember to never criticise them as it will only reflect poorly on you. Always speak of the fond memories you had with your colleagues. Say it was a good business to work for and recall your learnings from that job. Mention this and people will believe you. If you say the opposite, you risk affecting your own image.

Tips for handing in your notice

There is no right way and wrong way to give your notice. If you approach it the wrong way, you may not get a reference. Here are some tips practices to ensure you don't leave your current role on bad terms:

Ensure the timing is good

Look at your contract and discover what length of a notice period is required. Be ready to work for the duration of this period. This will help you secure a good reference from your manager and end your time with the company on good terms.

Be open and honest

Whilst you should restrain from outright insulting anyone, you should also be honest and share the actual reasons you are leaving the company. It may give your manager honest and helpful feedback that can be used to improve the work environment.

Don't let your emotions get the better of you

Ensure you know what to say before you have that conversation with your supervisor. If you are set on leaving, don't allow them to pitch you any offers to encourage you to stay. Preparing in advance will limit any counter offers.

Write your letter in advance

Ensure you write the resignation letter before the conversation takes place. Make sure to print the signed copy afterwards and follow up with your supervisor via email.

How Should I react to a counteroffer

In the long-term, counteroffers almost never benefit the individuals who accept them. While you get a short-term high with the promotion or pay increase, the fundamental reasons you are searching for a new role still remain. Below is a list of steps you should take when reacting to a counteroffer:

1. Think about why you are leaving

Think about your motivation for leaving. Is it to do with the workplace culture or career progression? It is important to think about this because if you agree to the counteroffer, you may not achieve the goals you would have achieved by leaving.

2. Don't allow your current position to be a safety blanket

While your manager could propose a tempting offer, your relationship with them is probably already damaged from the experience. Therefore, do not allow your current position to be a safety blanket. Although venturing out into the unknown can be scary, it also has benefits.

What should I do once I have handed in my notice?

When working our notice period, it is crucial to not allow your performance to drop simply because you are leaving the company. You should still work at your normal performance because you are still working for the company. Do not speak poorly of the company to any of your managers or team members.

If you have negative reasons motivating your leave, you may be tempted to express your views. However, this will just result in you getting into trouble. The best way to behave once you have handed in your notice is to remain dedicated to your work and be professional.

If it is necessary to do so, you should create a document that details the work you have completed and what you are currently working on, your day to day and week to week tasks. This document will help to inform your replacement and ensure that they excel in your role. If possible, you should help to train the individual who will be taking over your post.

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