After you have formally accepted a new offer of employment, it’s in your, as well as your current employer’s, best interest to serve notice as soon as possible. Serving notice can be a difficult thing to do, especially if you have worked for your current employer for a long period of time and formed strong bonds with those around you. However, if you follow a few guidelines, you will be able to minimize distress of the situation.
Don’t Burn Your Bridges.
It is very important that you present your resignation as the logical conclusion to your due diligence on another company and their subsequent offer, not as a means to bargain with your current employer. You don’t want to come across as an opportunist, and certainly don’t want to exit your current company on bad terms. A formal letter of resignation should accompany your verbal notice. A brief, professional and definite letter of resignation will ensure you maintain control of the situation. On most occasions, you will have the upper hand, as your current employer isn’t aware of your intent to leave the company, and may be taken by surprise. Because of this, you must be prepared for a range of reactions, from anger to disappointment to a congratulatory handshake. Many times these reactions can lead to emotional appeals or promises of counter offers.
It is important that you keep your verbal resignation, notice and letter short, to the point and professional. It isn’t necessary to give a detailed explanation of your reasons for leaving the company or how the company could have kept you in its employ. However, it is also necessary to give enough information to get the point across, and again, stay on good terms.
Here is an example of an effective letter of resignation:
October 21, 2003
Mr. John Smith
VP, Example Business
777 Illustration Drive
City, Province w3y 2t5
This letter serves as my formal notice of resignation of my position, effective November 4, 2002.
I would like to thank you for all of the support that you have shown me during my employment with the XYZ Corporation. I’ve enjoyed working with you, and value the relationship we have built over the years.
Be assured that I will work to the best of my ability to ensure a smooth transition during the next two weeks.
My decision to leave was not made lightly, and I believe that this career move is very beneficial in helping me reach the professional goals I have set for myself.
Again, thank you for the opportunities that you have shown me during my time here, and please feel free to contact me in the future if I can ever be of assistance.
Common practice is to give your current employer two weeks before leaving the company. With senior executives, projects sometime necessitate a lengthier notice period. Make sure the amount of time that you give is fair for both your current and your new employer. This time can be uncomfortable to both your peers and subordinates, and should not be drawn out longer than is necessary. It is a difficult time for them to include you in projects and information of a confidential nature or that could affect the long-range plans of the company. Also, if your new employer did not have a pressing need for an individual with your abilities, they would not have extended an offer. They are interested in getting you on board as soon as possible. You should not feel guilty in leaving your current company as soon as you have completed a smooth transition.
Prepare yourself for the possibility of an emotional reaction when delivering your resignation. Many companies actually have a policy to immediately terminate anyone who is going to a competitor.