Happy 2022! Often a New Year signals a time for a change, and I’m sure you’ve heard the “New Year New You” cliché many times already! Changing to a new job can’t happen without quitting your current position. Although it seems as simple as giving proper notice, it’s not always that easy. That’s because resigning professionally is vital to maintaining a good reputation.

Knowing how to handle a job transition is a valuable career skill. Here are our tips for how to resign professionally.

Stay Positive.

Even under challenging circumstances, remaining positive will help preserve relationships with colleagues. These connections often prove valuable down the road if you are looking for references or referrals to other firms. Never gripe to co-workers about workplace dissatisfaction, even after you’ve given your notice and moved on, refrain from public zealousness about how excited you are to get out of there.

Follow the resignation rules of your company.

Read your employment contract for the accepted notice period, be it two weeks, a month, or more. In many parts of the world, a contract of employment is a legally binding agreement between you and your employer, so breaching the notice period could land you in hot water, and your termination benefits will depend on it. No matter how much your new employer is pushing you to start “ASAP,” you commit to your current company to see out your contract.

Check if any restrictions apply.

When you leave a job, some employers will say you can’t work for a similar business for a certain amount of time. They could also tell you that you can’t set up a company that competes with theirs. To protect their business, your employer might want to limit what work you do next to take their customers or if you know confidential information. Look in your contract or terms and conditions of work for wording like ‘You can’t work for a competing business if it’s less than 10 miles away. It should also say how long the restriction lasts – usually 3 to 6 months. Restrictions like this could be under a heading that says ‘restrictive covenants’ or ‘post-termination restrictions’.

Resign face-to-face.

Always give face-to-face notice. Ideally, in person, or at the very least via a scheduled online meeting with the cameras turned on. Then follow that up with a letter. Never quit a job over email, text as it is incredibly disrespectful. In this age of working-from-home, set up a phone call or Zoom/Teams/Skype if you’re unable to meet face-to-face.

Be gracious.

During your resignation meeting, make sure to take the opportunity to thank your boss for the experience and the opportunity you’ve had at your current job.

Maintain the status quo.

While you’re contemplating giving notice and perhaps actively hunting for another job, maintain the status quo at work. Try to leave your colleagues, incoming staff, and clients as prepared as possible before your departure. Wrapping up loose ends and setting your colleagues up for success is a sign of a consummate professional.

Secure good recommendations

Always ask for recommendations before you go. If you already have a job lined up, this might not seem necessary, but it’s a good idea always to have a few people from every past job who you can rely on for recommendations when you need them. Asking in person while you are still fresh in their minds will mean they are more likely to respond favourably to reference requests later.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that, unfortunately, disputes between employers and outgoing employees occur even with the greatest care possible. If this happens, reach out to the HR Department, contact your nearest Citizens Advice Centre or visit ACAS.

With these tips in mind, you’ll soon be moving to an exciting new position without burning any bridges along the way!