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How to resign

Posted on 7/11/2014 by Jo Hodge

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Many people find handing in their notice a nerve-wracking experience and in most situations there is no turning back once you have resigned, so it is important to think carefully about your decision and have all the information to hand before doing so.

Before resigning you should find out what your notice period is. This will be in your company handbook or contract of employment. If none is given and you have worked for the organisation for over one month, by law you have to give at least one week’s notice. Ensure you give enough notice to allow for a smooth handover and time for your employer to find a replacement.

You may decide to resign verbally or by written communication. Either way it is good to have a written resignation to give to your employer.

Resigning in person or over the phone

  • Arrange a good time to talk to your manager/ supervisor.

  • Plan what you are going to say before your meeting and have details of your notice period and last working day to hand.

  • Your resignation may be a surprise to your employer and they may react in a number of ways. They may be happy for you, but they may also feel betrayed and may have lots of questions about your new role.

  • Try not to be negative about your employer, as your paths may cross again in the future.

  • Try to stick to your prepared comments and don’t react to any negativity. Ensure you are co-operative and that they know you are happy to give a handover.

  • At the end of the meeting leave them with a hand written resignation to keep on file.

Resigning by email or letter

  • An email or letter gives you more time to think about what you want to say and gives your employer time to absorb the information in private.

  • A resignation letter should include; name, date, person it is address to, notice of termination of employment, and date effective from, with your signature.

  • It’s also polite to include a line saying that you have enjoyed and valued the opportunity to work for the organisation.

  • Ensure the tone is correct, as written communication can be misread or misunderstood.

  • Offer your employer the opportunity to ask any questions or discuss it further if they wish.

Points to consider

  • Ensure you tell your employer before others in your organisation.

  • You may be asked to attend an exit interview; this will give you an opportunity to provide any positive and constructive feedback that you will feel will benefit the organisation and future employees in the future.

  • Consider any counter offer made very carefully. Further details can be found on counter offers here in our career advice section.

  • Leave on a positive note and try to remain in touch with your employer, as your paths may cross again.

  • Remember, you may want your employer to provide you with a reference in the future, so it’s important to leave them with a positive impression of you.

  • Give them time to find a suitable replacement.

  • You can find more information on entitlement to holiday/ pension schemes/ benefits on the Directgov website.

  • Ensure your employer gives or sends you a p45, as you will need to give this to your new employer. has some great advice on handing in your notice, including templates for resignation letters