Seven ways to quit your job like a pro

Businesswoman working remotely, resigning from job

Article by Rebecca Siciliano, Managing Director, Tiger Recruitment

Amid economic uncertainty, you would think that people would be reluctant to change jobs. However, while the quit rate has slowed, countless studies show that UK professionals still have itchy feet.

For instance, a Tiger Recruitment survey of more than 2,000 workers found that despite recessionary fears, four in 10 people plan to change jobs this year.

Another growing trend is the return of employees who resigned during the Great Resignation. According to new research, around a quarter of people hired in the past year and a half are so-called boomerang employees who went back to their former employer, often because the job they left for didn’t meet their expectations.

And so, the message for anyone considering a job move is clear: consider your decision carefully, and if you resign, do so with dignity and respect. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it also ensures you don’t burn your bridges.

If you’re planning to hand in your notice, the following steps will guide you through the process and help you stay professional to the end.

Don’t be hasty

If you’re unhappy in your job, don’t be too quick to throw in the towel. People often look for new opportunities because they feel they aren’t earning enough or don’t have enough flexibility, which they could potentially resolve by raising the issue with their boss. A lack of career progression is another common reason people choose to move on. Again, it is worth having an honest conversation with your boss to see if there are opportunities to develop in your current role.

Tell your boss before your team

If, on reflection, you feel the time has come to move on or you’ve secured a new job, tell your boss before sharing the news more widely. They deserve to hear it from you first — with plenty of notice. As tempting as it might be to fire off an email rather than face an uncomfortable conversation, tell them in person if you can. If that isn’t possible, a phone or video call is the next best option.  Once you’ve told your boss, resist going public until you’ve agreed on when and how to break the news to the team and anyone else who needs to know, such as clients and partners. Keeping things private initially will help you and your boss manage the transition smoothly.

Write a resignation letter

To formalise your plans, you’ll need to write a dated letter to your line manager stating your notice period and confirming your last day. The letter’s contents are entirely up to you, but keeping it positive and professional is recommended. Ending on an optimistic note and thanking them for the opportunities they’ve given you will leave a good final impression.

Stay professional 

Keeping motivated can be difficult, particularly if you have a long notice period. You might be impatient to get stuck into your new role, but this is not the time to drop the ball. How you perform in that final stretch is how you’ll be remembered, so it’s important to keep doing your job to the best of your ability. Check out now and you may not get the reference you hoped for.

Be respectful 

When discussing your decision to leave with others, be respectful of your employer. However strong your desire to vent about how unhappy you were or how badly you were treated, keep your frustrations to yourself. Gossip spreads fast among colleagues and further afield, and you don’t want to gain a reputation for indiscretion. Keep things as amicable as possible, even if you don’t mean it.

Give constructive feedback

Exit interviews are important and merit the same preparation as any other interview. Whatever your reasons for leaving, aim to provide honest yet tactful feedback that could help the company improve. Discussing petty grievances with your colleagues or raising issues that can’t be addressed won’t be helpful. Focusing on what you enjoyed about your job and what you would change if you could will be much more constructive.

Provide a smooth handover

Generally, the more time you have to hand over to your successor, the smoother the transfer of responsibilities will be. This won’t always be possible, but if there’s some cross-over, be as open and helpful as possible. You’ll expect the same in return in your new role. It’s good practice to draft a written handover containing the information your replacement will need, such as the status of current actions, upcoming deadlines, key contacts, passwords, and login information.

Working out your notice is never easy; once you’ve decided to go, staying focused on the role you’re leaving behind can be difficult, however much you’ve enjoyed it. And if you’ve been unhappy and are eager to take the next step in your career, handing over to your successor may feel like prolonging the agony. But you still have a job to do, so keep doing it as best you can. You never know when your path might cross again with your employer or colleagues, so part company in a way that keeps the door open for future opportunities.

Rebecca SicilianoAbout the author

Rebecca Siciliano is the Managing Director of Tiger Recruitment – a boutique recruitment consultancy headquartered in London. Rebecca has worked in the recruitment industry for nearly 20 years and today is the trusted recruitment partner to some of London’s premium blue-chip companies – from private equity firms and creative companies to tech start-ups and professional services.

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