Getting a new job can be exciting but handing in your notice can be scary. Hays’ Susie Timlin is here to quell your worries and help you make a smooth transition.
Congratulations! If you are reading this, you have been offered a new and promising role elsewhere. This opportunity will give you a better benefits package, more responsibility and is really a testament to your hard work over the years. So why does it taste so bittersweet?
Probably because you’re now faced with the fact that you will have to do the dreaded deed of handing in your resignation. It’s all starting to feel so real, and you have a number of worries floating through your mind.
How do I bring this up with my boss? What if I seem disloyal? Am I burning my bridges? In this article, I aim to identify some more worries like these and explain why they really shouldn’t ruin this exciting time for you.
How do I bring this up?
As soon as you have been offered the job in writing, you have told the recruiter that you happily accept and, crucially, have signed your new contract, it’s time to get a private meeting in the diary with your boss so that you can hand in your notice. Schedule this meeting sooner rather than later so that it’s not left hanging over you and, in the meantime, keep in mind the below points.
What should I write in my resignation letter?
Cover off the below points, remembering that you want to leave on a positive note.
- Inform your manager of your decision. You don’t have to be too blunt here, especially if you are genuinely sad to be leaving. For example, you could say something like: ‘It is with regret that I have decided to move on.’
- Confirm when you would like your last working day to be.
- State that you are happy to help with any handovers or training your replacement.
- End on a note of gratitude and well-wishing, for example: ‘I would like to thank you for your support and training during my time here, and I wish you and the team every success in the future.’
If you wish, you can go into greater detail as to why you are leaving, but this isn’t necessary. There will be a chance to do this during the meeting when you hand in your notice. This brings me onto my next point.
What should I say during the meeting?
Don’t fret too much about the meeting itself. Nine times out of 10, it will only be awkward if you make it. Remember, your manager is an experienced professional. They will have been in this situation before and are therefore unlikely to find the meeting uncomfortable.
Your manager will more than likely ask where you are moving on to, and they may ask why. If so, remember that you want to leave on good terms. Talk about the reasons this opportunity is too good to turn down, as opposed to why you no longer want to work for the business.
Of course, if there are some serious issues that you want to raise for the sake of future employees, by all means, book in some time with HR or use your exit interview as a chance to do this anonymously.
This meeting should just be about confirming your resignation, telling your boss about this new role and thanking them in person for all the support they have given you in getting to this stage in your career.
What if my boss gets upset?
If you are a valued member of staff, and you and your boss have a good relationship, they may find it hard to mask their emotions. In this situation, it’s OK to be empathetic and express your sadness about leaving.
Remember, however, to keep a level head, and don’t lose sight of what’s best for your career. Your manager will move on, this is just their natural human reaction to some bad news. To put it bluntly, they will get over it.
How do I react to a counter-offer?
Of course, if your boss likes you that much, and resources allow, they may well make you a counter-offer in the form of a promotion, a pay rise or both. So how do you react?
Whatever you do, don’t accept anything there and then. Give yourself time to weigh up your options and certainly don’t make your decision based on money alone. Instead, think about your long-term career goals and your personal development.
Can your current company really meet your ambitions? If so, why haven’t they done this already? Can your new opportunity offer something that your current company just can’t, be it a complete change of industry, role or company size?
Throughout your career, it is important to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and get an eclectic mix of experience under your belt. You know this. It’s why you went looking for another job in the first place.
I know that during this nerve-racking time, a familiar work environment is a safe haven and seems pretty tempting right now, but don’t let your fear of the unknown make that counter-offer look better than it really is. You know what they say: nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Am I a traitor?
Once the deed is done and people know you’re leaving, you may feel a pang of guilt, especially if you have friends at work and a supportive boss.
Just remember, if your boss is really that supportive, then they will want you to succeed. They will see this step up in your career as a reflection of their people management skills, and they certainly won’t label you as a traitor. They were in your shoes once. How do you think they got to where they are?
As for your work friends, of course they will be sad to see you go, but true friends support you no matter what. You can always stay in contact, and you never know when your professional paths may cross again. For now, it’s time to put yourself first.
Am I burning my bridges?
It’s highly unlikely that you will burn any bridges if you follow my above advice and maintain your professionalism from this point onwards.
Don’t let your performance drop even though you’re leaving and, as people approach you to ask why you are moving on, don’t bad-mouth the company. On your last day, sincerely thank your managers and colleagues for making your time at the company so special.
Once you have left, stay in contact with your former colleagues. Keep an eye out for any upcoming individual or team successes and send your congratulations their way, be it via email, on social media, or even a card.
Use LinkedIn to give them some good recommendations and endorsements; like and share their updates; and, on the whole, stay fresh in their mind as a great former co-worker and strong professional connection to have.
Hopefully, this has helped you to pinpoint exactly why you are worried about handing in your notice, and why these fears should be eclipsed by the bigger picture of what you need to achieve in your career.
Remember that when it comes to your wider career goals, you have to be strategic and put yourself first. Any good manager will know this and should support you in this exciting new step towards meeting them. Once you look at it this way, there really is no need to be worried about handing in your notice.
By Susie Timlin
Susie Timlin is global director of people and culture for Hays Talent Solutions, responsible for developing Hays’ employer brand and finding the right people to help grow the business.
A version of this article originally appeared on Hays’ Viewpoint blog.