The 6 things to consider when you’re handing in your notice

Good news! If you’re reading this you’ve probably recently secured yourself a new position. This celebratory feeling will often turn to dread when you realise that you have to have a difficult conversation with your boss, and hand in your notice, but it doesn’t need to be that hard.

Here are six things to consider when handing in your resignation:

  • What to write in your resignation letter?

Make your decision as clear as possible. This doesn’t need to be too direct but be as genuine as you can – a good start is always something along the lines of: It is with regret that…

Confirm when you would like your last working day to be (in line with your contract). This can cut out any potential areas of ambiguity – making sure all parties are on the same page.

Make sure that the letter has an air of gratitude – you don’t want to burn any bridges! You should wish the company well and ensure that you confirm that you’re happy to help with any handovers or training for your replacement.

There can be a lot of emotions involved when leaving an organisation however it is never worth ‰’burning bridges’ unnecessarily so make sure your resignation letter is polite and is as rational as possible. Remember your manager will almost definitely not want to be receiving your resignation so ensuring it is a gracious and factual letter will make it easier for both parties.

  • Should I present the letter face to face, over the phone or via email?

You’d be surprised the amount of employees who send their resignation via email or in the post. Some even deliver the news over the phone or via text!

If you’re handing in your notice, you should always make sure that you deliver the news to your manager face to face. Any other way will only cause more problems!

  • How should I approach the conversation?

Don’t worry too much about the conversation; it won’t be as difficult as you expect, especially if it is approached in the right way.

Your manager’s natural reaction will usually be to ask 2 things:

  • Why are you leaving?
  • Where are you going?

The best way to answer these questions is be as transparent as you’re comfortable with…

When outlining why you’re leaving, make sure you don’t use this as a chance to bad mouth your boss or employer – you don’t want to ruin any hard earned relationships. Try to focus the reason on the role you’re about to start, i.e.: It was an opportunity I just couldn’t say no to!

Regarding letting your manager know where you’re going, be as open as you feel comfortable with – it will help your manager help you (references etc.) if they know where you’re going.

Finally, use this meeting as a chance to thank your boss for their support and guidance in getting you to this stage in your career.

  • What do I do if my boss comes back with a counter offer?

There is a good chance that as a valued employee your manager will do all they can to keep you and this will often lead your manager to put together a counter offer. The most important thing to consider when presented with a counter office is know: a) would you stay for an increase in financial package or responsibilities and b) how much the increase in salary would have to reach for you to stay.

There is plenty more to consider when faced with a counter offer, see this Robertson Sumner article for more information.

  • The follow up – don’t down tools!

Finally, once you’ve followed the above advice and handed in your resignation without damaging any relationships, make sure you don’t do anything to jeopardise this position whilst seeing out your notice period.

Always ensure that you remain positive and helpful, make sure that you tie off as much as you can before your last day and that your replacement is as comfortable as possible before embarking on their new role.

Don’t down tools and bad mouth the company to your colleagues, it will only damage your reputation and legacy with the business.

  • If you have had a bad experience with either the company or your line manager then make sure you offer constructive feedback during your exit interview

A lot of the 5 points above are focussed around not bad mouthing your employer however if you had have a particularly bad experience then a good opportunity to share this will be during your exit interview. They say all feedback is good feedback so do make sure you offer constructive feedback without ruining any relationships – remember your exit interview will remain confidential.


To conclude, handing in your notice can be a very daunting task however if done the right way won’t damage any relationships and can ensure that you have a strong reference for the future. Always make sure that you put yourself first when it comes to your career goals and any good manager will understand and support you in doing this.

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