How to resign the right way

As an employee, we will all face a time where we leave the company we work for. The vast majority of people are unlikely to stay with the same company, in the same position, doing the same type of work from the start of their career until they retire. Many people move jobs as a means of career advancement, due to bad boss, lack of opportunities for growth, due to circumstances changing (moving towns, lifestyle changes, shift in job focus etc.), or simply when you know it is time to leave as you feel you no longer enjoy the type of work you are doing.

When you decide to leave your job, know that it may not be easy. There are a number of elements to consider from the giving of the actual resignation letter, working your notice period, finalising projects you are currently working on, a hand over, the exit interview as well as saying farewell to your colleagues that you must consider. From an employer perspective, there is never a good time to have an employee leave, so your resignation may not always be well received. It is important though that you avoidburning any bridges as well as damaging your reputation, as if you do exit correctly and leave on good terms you will have a network of contacts for life. Here are a few tips:

1. Choose the time correctly:

This is important from both sides. Have you signed the contract at your new job, or are you starting your own buisiness? Make sure that you have all your ducks in a row before resigning. Also, first thing on a Monday morning, in the middle of a team meeting is not the appropriate place to share this information with your boss. They will feel blind-sided.

2. Decide on your notice period:

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act states the following, with certain careers excluded:


6 months or less


1 week


More than 6 months, but less than 1 year


2 weeks


1 year or more


4 weeks*

What this means is that the above is the minimum notice you are required to serve. So If you are required to work a calendar month notice, and you are able to give 5 or 6 week’s notice do this, as this helps your current employer find a replacement for you before you leave, placing you in a more positive light. Doing this also shows your team you are committed to wrapping things correctly.

3. Write a resignation letter:

Regardless of your reasons for leaving the company, a formal resignation letter is a must. Make sure that the tone of the letter is professional and polite, as well as the entire letter being concise. Make sure that your letter includes the following:

· ensure it is dated.

· a statement of intent that you will be leaving your job

· the date of your last day

· thank your employer for the opportunities given to you as well as what you have learned

· your contact info

Always keep a resignation letter short and to the point -- there’s no need to give a lengthy or emotional explanation of why you’re leaving, remember you should have the opportunity for further discussion in your exit interview.

4. Set a meeting with your boss/manager:

Be sure to not blind-side your boss and simply drop the letter on their desk or via e-mail. The same can be said for telling other colleagues before informing your boss/manager that you will be resigning. This will just make you look bad.

When you have the meeting with your boss, be brief and honest. Immediately tell them that you are planning on leaving, and include your thoughts on how you are going to perform a hand-over of your responsibilities. Remember to thank them, and don’t forget to hand them your official resignation letter. If they ask why you are leaving, remember you don’t have to disclose every reason why, and share only the information that you are comfortable with.

5. Working our your notice period:

In your last few weeks on the job, it is important that you complete all your tasks as you would if you were not leaving, this keeps you in high regard with your colleagues. If you are doing a hand-over, create a jobs manual to help the next person who fills your position, highlighting any roles and responsibilities. This may include an e-mail to all contacts informing them of their new contact person (always check with your boss/manager how they would like you to handle this). Remember to not take on any new projects that you will not be able to complete within your notice period.

6. Exit interview:

In your exit interview, you will be able to have a professional conversation with your boss/manager as well as highlighting any information you wish them to know. Be honest and open in these conversations, but remember this is not a gripe session to bad mouth others. Remember that this boss or manager is likely be your job references in the future so it’s important to not burn any bridges or damage your reputation.

Resigning from any job is a tricky and delicate task, but if you handle it correctly you will be able to avoidburning any bridges as well as damaging your reputation. If you make use of the above tips, they may assist you in leaving on good terms , with a network of contacts for life.

Crafted by Chris Midgley

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