How to resign on good terms

Turning in your resignation is not always easy. Before you make the decision to quit, be absolutely sure that this is the right decision. Writing a list of pros and cons can often sort out mixed emotions and help when people are making decisions about their career life.

When you quit a job, it is important that you do not ruin your relationship with the employer you are leaving. You will possibly need to use your current employer as a reference in the future, and it can be very damaging to your professional life and reputation if you burn bridges.

Instead, write a formal resignation letter so that it can be placed in your employment files. Keep your resignation letter simple and short. There is no need to go into too many details about why you are quitting and what you are doing next. At the very least, your resignation letter should include the following:
  • The position you are resigning from
  • The date yon intend to leave
  • Today’s date
  • Your manager’s name
  • The company name and address
Although not essential, you might want to thank your employer for the opportunities you have been given and offer your willingness to ensure a smooth handover. If you have a written contract of employment, you should find details of your notice period there and should abide by it.

Often exit interviews will be conducted with departing employees in order to learn both the positive and negative reasons: relationship with supervisors, their perception of pay, training, career opportunities and performance appraisal systems. Usually conducted by the human resources department, they will seek to gain the departing employees’ views on the working conditions offered by the current organisation and ask for suggestions for improvement.

Naturally the decision whether or not to participate in an exit interview is ultimately up to you. Some things to consider before participating in an exit interview are:
  • As a departing employee, will you gain any benefit from an exit interview?
  • Is the reason you are leaving any of the company’s business or an invasion of your privacy?
  • Will the human resources department really use your suggestions for improvement or are they just trying to find out the real reason you are leaving?
  • Might this exit interview burn a bridge, ruin a reference or cause an adverse background check on you?
How much constructive feedback you should divulge largely depends on the kind of organisation you work at, so think things through and go in the exit interview with a strategy. If the human resources department is likely to be defensive then it is a better idea to keep some of your opinions to yourself. If they are reasonably open to feedback in the past then you can probably afford to be a little more frank. Calmly state the negative points while balancing them with some positives so they would not get overwhelmed by a wave of dissatisfaction.

Be pleasant and professional to everyone at the exit interview and use the opportunity to clear up any lingering questions you have about pay or handing over the work to the next person.