Your job search was successful and you have landed a new position. So now it’s time to tell your current employer – how do you do it? Here are some guidelines to help keep you on track and out of trouble.
1. Never, EVER resign until you have a concrete job offer.
This generally means a written and accepted job offer. I’ve had clients accept a verbal offer, give notice and then get turned down for the position. I’ve also had clients receive a written offer, only to fail the background check. Save yourself the embarrassment and make sure you have a legally binding offer before you give notice.
2. Decide how much notice you will give.
This step really depends greatly on your situation and industry. It’s standard to give 2-3 weeks, but there are some positions (Sales in particular) where a shorter notice might be expected on both sides. You really have the upper hand here – your current employer might want you to stay longer to complete a project, but the choice is yours. Decide if you are willing to stay a bit longer and if you will ask for additional compensation during that time. Just keep in mind that you don’t want to burn any bridges and will need a positive reference. Plan out all scenarios in advance so that you are not caught off-guard by requests to extend or shorten your notice.
3. Write the resignation letter.
The letter needs to be short and sweet. Keep it simple and stick to the facts. Ignore the fact that you detest everyone you work with, were cheated out of compensation, or discovered illegal practices – NEVER say anything negative in your resignation letter.
The actual letter should contain three pieces. Start with a paragraph explaining that you are resigning with an effective date. The second paragraph should say something, anything, positive about your time in the position – say that you enjoyed working there or thank them for the opportunities you were given. The last paragraph should say that you want to do everything you can to facilitate a seamless transition.
That’s it! Even if you feel like pouring your heart out and telling the CEO everything you have been bottling up for years – don’t do it. Never say anything negative. Chances are that your paths will cross again, and no matter how good it feels in the moment, you will thank yourself later for leaving on good terms, with a good reference lined up.