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Newhampton Consulting

Professional Career & CV Support

Career Advice Blog

Career Advice Blog

As the year Moves to a Close - Did Your Employer Deliver in 2015?

Posted on November 23, 2015 at 10:30 AM

If NOT - Shouldn't You Start Looking For the Next Step on Your Career Ladder? 

And if so Once you have the Right New Role Locked & Loaded - How do you to Resign the Right Way

I get a lot of questions from people who delay looking into thier next key career move as they don't like the prospect of change or resigning.

They perhaps don’t know the right way to resign, i.e. how to not just quit, but how to resign gracefully and with class.

Indeed, being courteous and smart about your resignation and departure guarantees that you've given yourself the best possible shot at future, long term success.

Fortunately, there are some key principles you can follow. We’ll talk about them in this blog article.

The most important rule however is a fundamental: Try to never quit and leave on bad terms! You owe it your employer, your colleagues, business partners, and – most importantly – yourself by being and coming across as a mature professional.


  • Evaluate Your Situation - Firstly, verify that resigning is the right decision. Don’t quit to just make a point. Understand what the pros and cons of your decision would be. Are there things you can do to improve aspects of the job that bug you? Could you get another job in the company? Have you e.g. talked with your boss and does he/she know that you consider resigning (at least, if you feel there are meaningful reasons for you to stay)? Has he/she had a chance to address your needs and wants?
  • Check The Legal Aspects - Carefully study any legal documents you signed when joining or working at your current job. Are there any non-compete agreements, does your contract require a defined period of work from you, which is the leave notice your company requires, etc.? By the way, you should also be clear about the financial consequences a resignation might have on your life; especially when not yet having found another job.
  • Choose The Right Timing - In a perfect world try to leave when you’re on a high note and not when you are on the back foot (always have an up to date CV). In a non-perfect world, which is the case most of the time, don’t wait with your resignation too long. After you have conducted a thorough situation analysis and came to the conclusion it’s best for you to leave, then do it. You have only one life to live!
  • Do It Personally - Don’t chicken out. Request a meeting with your boss. Don’t send a resignation email or letter. You need to say it face-to-face. Very important: Tell your manager before anyone else. He/She deserves it.
  • Hand In A Resignation Letter - Written in a professional, i.e. non-emotional manner. It should be a short and polite letter stating your intention to leave and by when. Submit your resignation with sufficient lead time before your planned resignation date. Submit it to your direct supervisor (e.g. whilst you personally inform him/her about your resignation) and with a copy to the HR manager.
  • Be Prepared To Answer About Your Reasons - Be as honest as you can be. Again in a tactful and respectful manner. It’s a good opportunity to give your boss (and others) constructive feedback. Be fair and mention all factors and try to weight them. Whatever reasons you provide, keep your story consistent. Be prepared and open to receive feedback from colleagues, peers, etc. If your company offers a formal exit interviews trying to understand the "real“ reasons why you’re leaving take part at it. Again, be conscious not to burn any bridges by saying anything negative or insular.
  • Anticipate The Reaction Of Your Boss - If you have a good and professional boss, he/she will tell you how sorry they are to lose you. If you already have a new job, he/she should congratulate you. Most importantly, they should respect your decision. If they react poorly, then it reflects badly on them, and not on you. Stay professional, explain your reasons and stress that you will support him/her and the team to make a smooth transition - But don’t allow either your boss or your team to pile any guilt on you.
  • Anticipate The Reaction Of Your Company - How has your employer handled employees who resigned in the past? Is your management grateful to employees who provided long notice, or are people who resign usually shown the door immediately? Be prepared for this scenario by clearing personal files and removing personal information and belongings, and getting your workspace organised. Don’t take anything with you which belongs to the company.
  • If you are a valuable employee, be prepared for your employer to present you with a counter-offer to make you stay. You should have considered in advance, if and under which conditions you might accept it. Personally I advise against accepting a counter-offer as experience shows that it still does not work out. Either way, be clear in your answer.
  • Take With You What You’ve Earned - Ensure you get a fair settlement and compensation for any outstanding salary, commission payments, vacation days, and to get details on all employee benefits, rolling over your pension plan, etc.
  • Support A Smooth Transition - Do your best to complete all open assignments, have any remaining work well documented and organised in a file. And, if time and situation allow, assist in training your replacement. Some people even offer to be available for a couple of phone calls with their replacement after they leave. This generates considerable goodwill and is often highly appreciated by the replacement and the company. A great way for you being remembered as a committed and highly supportive team member.
  • Respect Confidentiality - Don’t talk about your resignation until its official. Once you've resigned, don't go spreading the word. Do not mention your departure to anyone before you have discussed these details with your boss. Agree with them when and how to communicate it.
  • Don't Be Negative - When you're talking about your resignation with co-workers, try to emphasize the positive and talk about how the company has benefited you, even though it's time to move on. Don’t brag about your possible new job. Be modest and appreciate what your company and your colleagues are doing.

Also after you’ve left the company, don’t say anything negative about your former employer, manager, or colleagues.

Be Committed And Hard Working Until The Very Last Day - This point usually separates the wheat from the chaff. That’s when you can identify the true professionals. Be as loyal as you’ve always been. Avoid taking a short-term attitude and avoid aligning yourself with any discontented co-workers. Sadly, many who resign suddenly seem to have forgotten about all those years when they’ve worked hard to build their career in and with the company. In a few weeks or days they damage their profile – and often also their future reputation without realising it. Don’t be stupid!

  • Inform Your Colleagues And Business Partners - After having spoken with your boss be sure to personally tell other managers or key employees with whom you have worked that you have resigned. Thank these persons for having successfully worked with you and have helped you when building your career (are they on LinkedIn).
  • Say Goodbye - Before you leave express a heartfelt farewell. Offer your colleagues, boss, and business partner’s a few words of gratitude and appreciation. On your last day in the office perhaps organise a farewell drink with some food. Your co-workers will remember it. Try to stay in touch with the right people by exchanging contact information. Send a farewell message by email to those whom you can’t personally bit farewell.
  • Ask for a Reference - Ask your boss, colleagues or business partners, if they were willing to give you a reference. Inquire if they were available to give a recommendation via email, phone, or professional network sites like LinkedIn.
  • The way someone leaves a job tells a lot about a person’s character. Handle yourself well. In today’s highly connected world it’s pretty likely that someone knows someone with whom you’ve worked with. You may also cross paths again in the future. Or, and that also happens from time to time, you might want to be rehired by a former employer.

In a nutshell: Make sure you leave on the best possible terms and don’t burn bridges.

What do you think? Please join the discussion by leaving a comment below.

Best regards,

John Hodgkinson @askthecvexpert

John is the Head of Newhampton CV- the London based CV Experts, and is one of Europe’s leading CV writers. He is also a Partner at Aston Hill Selection, an international Executive Search Consultancy. His work includes advising on key career moves, CV writing and interview coaching. He has worked with many leading corporate firms to ensure they appoint the best possible team or a key executive. John has both worked and lived in the UK, France and Sweden. He enjoys blogging as a way to share his up to date knowledge of the modern recruitment process and related topics.

Please 'Follow this blog if you would like to hear more from John in the future. Feel free to also connect via the NEWHMPTON CV Web site:

Where you can request an expert review of your own CV.

If you are thinking about an important career move - do feel free to get in touch via our web site, to get some direct advice for a key application or to optimise your CV.



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