Resignations can be bittersweet. Leaving a company and a job especially one that you have enjoyed is a major life change.

However, it is important to leave on a great note. Keep the door at your former employer open in case things do not work out with your next challenge.

Below are 5 steps that you can consider when resigning from your role:-

  • Create a handover checklist
  • Begin the resignation process with a conversation
  • Maintain a grateful tone
  • Agree final work date
  • Have a strong closing in your resignation letter

Let’s take a closer look at these.

Create a handover checklist

Create a handover report with all the outstanding projects that you are working on. Update with granular information on every project.

Begin this process at least a month before you issue your official letter privately. This is paramount as even though you do a handover meeting, people will tend to miss all the details provided.

As an example, include information on the best time to place order of a specific item if your role is within a purchasing function. In addition, highlight special aspects of the role that may not be obvious to a new comer.  

Again, if your role is within the purchasing function, this may be the dates by which to order stock during the busy periods such as Christmas. This document will become a reference point for the role when you are gone.

Hereunder are some points to consider in your handover checklist:-

  • Save any important emails relating to outstanding projects to the company’s shared folders, Dropbox or drive. This will ensure that information is easy to retrieve in your absence. File locations should be included in your handover report.
  • Create a contact list of all key stakeholders complete with name, email address, location, telephone number and nature of the relationship. Also include a notation of your experience dealing with this stakeholder. For example, if you have a supplier who takes long to deliver but the quality is excellent then include this. The newcomer will be thankful. Include things that you have tried and failed. This will save time as your replacement gets the full history relating to the role. Your replacement will not have to reinvent the wheel.
  • It is best to issue this report to your immediate manager a few days after resignation. Request for a review and if anything important has been omitted so that it can be included. It is important to give yourself enough time to ensure that this document is comprehensive.
  • Once your replacement is identified or the person to whom you need to handover this role to, keep your manager up to date. During the final week ensure that your manager is aware of the things that you are working on and the point of completion via email.
  • Contact key suppliers and internal customers especially if your company has several branches. Let them know that you are moving on and provide new point of contact.
  • Avoid starting any major project especially with external stakeholders. Be mindful of your final date as you may not be able to complete projects that you have started. Discuss and ensure agreement with your manager.
  • Leave the last two days if possible free to ensure that you put everything in order.
  • Plan at least two meetings with your manager or replacement to present this handover report
  • Label and file all your working documents into folders.
  • Remember to clean out your desk, remove any personal material that you may be storing on the company computer. Shred any scrap papers and old notes that you may have made. Start clearing out your personal item bit by bit even before you issue official resignation.
  • The key thing is to ensure after you leave that no person can say that an area was not properly handed over into them.
  • Email your manager with the final update on the last day on the job.

Begin the process with a conversation

I believe that the best thing to do is to go to your manager and have a conversation before issuing your official resignation letter a few days prior to the official letter. This is a better approach than issuing the resignation letter out of the blue.

This is very critical especially if you are a key member of the team or someone who has a specialist skill. You will also get an opportunity to discuss the handover process.

It will also help to maintain the relationship. If you manager feels a bit blindsided by your resignation, it could hurt your changes of keeping this future relationship or obtaining a reference in the future.

Maintain a grateful tone

Ensure that the tone of the letter represents one of gratitude for all the great things that the company would have exposed you to. 

I know you may say Rachel at times things were not great but I believe that every experience has a lesson which prepares you for the next stage of your career so ensure that the tone remains appreciative.

In life, most times you learn the most from the not so pleasant experiences so be grateful for them. They have contributed to your growth.

Agree a final work date

Agree a final work date with your manager during your meeting when you discuss your pending resignation.

Ensure that the proposed final work date is included in the letter which should ideally correspond to your notice period as per contract. If you will like to include your vacation days as part of your notice period, you should say so.

In good taste, if you will like to include this assuming you have two weeks vacation leave outstanding and your resignation as per contract is one month, then it’s great to hand in your resignation 6 weeks ahead of your final work date.

Depending on the size of the business and how critical your role is in the operations to give the employer sufficient notice to ensure that the business successfully transitions as you move on.

Have a strong closing in your resignation letter

A great closing in your resignation letter will be one that wishes the company the best for the future. Also, assure the manager that you are willing to provide support during the handover process.

It’s important to ensure that you put all your files and working documents in order before you resign during the resignation period so that your replacement can easily follow on from where you left off. 

Also, ensure that your resignation is sent in via a signed hard copy. Remember to request a reference letter before you move on. I always recommend five hard copies.

There are several other articles which you may find useful as you resign from your current job. Feel free to click any of the links below to explore:-

A Thank You Prayer For A New Job

How To Calm Your Nerves Before Starting A New Job

11 Valuable Tips For Starting A New Job

8 Top Questions To Ask Yourself When Changing Jobs

How To Survive The First 90 Days At A New Job

Final Thoughts

Resignation process is never easy and it is critical to handle these in a delicate manner so as to ensure that a cordial relationship is maintained during and after the process.

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How to resign from your job


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