My Career Tue, 11 Mar 14 by "Rebecca Wallace"

How to Resign the Right Way


It’s a big decision to change jobs and the process should be considered and thorough. When the time comes to resign, your objectives should be to maintain your professional reputation, minimise negative impact on your parting employer and retain your valuable contacts and a ‘door always open’ result. The Australian market place is small, don’t let a poorly handled resignation tarnish your reputation. Even if your current work situation is not ideal or professional, this doesn’t give leave for you to compromise your professionalism. If the resignation is executed respectfully, most often the employee will find the manager cooperative and in fact, wishes only the best for the exiting staff member.

Some key points to consider:

  • Set up a face-to-face meeting with your immediate manager, ensure there is adequate time scheduled
  • Even if the situation at work is difficult a resignation meeting should be professional and NOT emotional
  • Don’t blame other employees, management or the organisation for the resignation. There will be time for constructive feedback in an exit interview
  • In the resignation meeting, if asked, refer to the opportunity the new job presents rather than the shortcomings of the current role
  • Thank the manager for his/her guidance of the past X years/months
  • Ensure you’re clear in your own mind as to why you are leaving and what the new opportunity is offering you. This clarity of mind will assist you in the exit
  • Be prepared for a counter offer and know your plan of action should this occur
  • Take a resignation letter into the meeting with you. Leave the resignation letter with the manager – this makes your resignation official.
  • Offer to fulfil the notice obligations of your contract. If you believe the company could use more time in the hand-over than you are contractually obliged to offer; decide before your resignation meeting what you are willing to provide in hand-over time. This will also depend on the start date needs of your new employer. Being prepared for these questions is the key to a successful resignation meeting.
  • If you are joining a competitor in certain role types, it may be policy to finish your employment, in lieu of notice, on the day of resignation. Be prepared for this and don’t take it personally, it is often company policy and for the protection of IP and revenue.


  • Don’t resign via phone, email, text or any form other than face-to-face (this obviously is where it is possible)
  • Don’t resign from any role in anger or haste
  • Don’t use a resignation meeting as an opportunity to complain about your employer


  • Be prepared for a counter offer
  • Be prepared for the WHY questions

After your resignation, remain positive about your place of employment throughout the handover period. Remember this is the place of work for your colleagues and even though it is the right time for you to move on, they don’t need to be regularly reminded of their organisation’s potential areas for improvement. It’s OK to be excited about your new opportunity but always tempered with mindfulness of your situation.

In an exit interview feel free to provide constructive criticism, it’s an opportunity for the organisation to grow and improve. But be careful not to make it personal or emotional; remember to leave the criticism for things the company can change or improve.

Wishing you the best!

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Image credits: [Image: Flickr user  woodleywonderworks] | [Image: Flickr user Deargdoom57]