Just because you’ve resigned from a job doesn’t mean you can slack off. Be as helpful as possible, maintain your professionalism, ensure a smooth handover and stay positive.

The corporate world is small and the way you resign from a job could make or break your career.

Know why you’re resigning

Before looking for a new role, ensure you understand the reasons you are wanting to change employer as sometimes these things can be addressed by discussions with your manager- particularly around salary.

If you are leaving your current employer for monetary reasons, you are far better off asking for additional money prior to searching the job market. This gives your employer a chance to resolve your concerns, and will also save your reputation in the external market. It can become very frustrating for future employers and recruitment consultants representing you if you waste time searching the market when really you could have avoided a lot of time wasted.

Resign face to face with your manager

It’s usually better to resign in person by arranging a meeting with your manager to run through your decision. Prepare in advance how you intend to advise of your decision and be sure you are well prepared as this can at times be a difficult discussion- particularly where you have a good working relationship with your manager. You should expect a reaction from your manager and potentially disappointment in your decision- particularly if you haven’t had any lead up discussions around the possibility of moving on. Your manager many wish to know specifics of your new position which you may choose not to disclose- particularly if you are going to a competitor. Just emphasize that you have made your decision and would prefer not to go into detail at this stage. Do emphasize the positives about your current position and company and always leave the meeting on a positive note- remember also that your manager may need to give a reference so it’s important to keep everything as positive as you can.

Follow up with a letter or email

Keep your resignation letter or email short and professional. Ensure that you include the date that your resignation is effective, and thank your current manager for the opportunities you have had during your employment. It is important never to include anything negative in your letter, regardless of your circumstances as you don’t want to burn bridges and taint your professional profile.

Stay focused and remain positive

Although it can be challenging to stay motivated once you’ve resigned, ensure you ask what you can assist with and remain focused for your last weeks.

Dealing with a counter offer

There is a chance that when you resign (particularly where you have been offered a higher salary with your future employer) that you will be counter offered. If you have followed the advice above and asked for an increase before searching the job market, this should not have any impact on your decision- as it demonstrates that your employer didn’t value your initial discussion. It is also a researched fact that 80% of employees who stay for a counter offer end up leaving their employer within 6 months- it is very rare that $ will fix any existing concerns with an employer.