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How best to hand in your notice

So the time has come to leave your current job and although you are filled with feelings of excitement for your new role, you still have the dreaded task of telling your current employer. There is no doubting that handing in your notice can be very daunting, however with the right approach, you can make it less of a worry and handle it in a professional, efficient and considerate manner. After all, it can be one of the key moments an employer will remember about you and you never know when your paths will cross again, so let’s make it a good one and in your favour.

So how is it best to hand in your notice?

  • Timing is everything - it is certainly best to not hand in your notice when you are angry, you will say things you might regret and it will appear unprofessional. Also, make sure your boss is the first to know, it is best not to speak to colleagues before. Don’t shout about it on social media either, even after, as future employers might check your social media and consider it bad form. 

  • Be prepared - expect there is a chance that your boss might try and get you to stay by offering you more money or better working conditions. Consider beforehand if this might change your mind, so you are prepared to negotiate on your terms. You will also need to check your employment contract as it will state the terms and conditions you will need to adhere to. You will need to review:

    • how much notice is to be given

    • how your notice is to be given - i.e. in writing

    • stipulations on working for a competitor or contacting existing clients

    • your entitlement to holiday pay if not taken 

  • Be direct - although it might very tempting to send an email or type a letter and leave it on your boss’s desk, it really is best to do it face to face. It shows professionalism and confidence in your decision. You should however also always confirm in writing at the same time or after.

  • Be positive - no matter what your reasons for leaving, it is best to leave the criticism alone, after all you’re leaving. It’s also a good opportunity to leave a positive message by leaving detailed handover notes or by offering to help train your replacement.

  • Be organised - sadly there are those employers who do not handle employees leaving well, especially if they are going to the competition. You need to be ready in case you are escorted off the premises immediately, making sure that you have tied up any personal effects before going into the meeting.

  • Know your reasons - be prepared to answer questions about your reasons for leaving. You only need to be brief and again remain positive about your current job.

  • Maintain your effort - it might be very tempting to start arriving late and taking long lunches, but you need to think, that is what you might be remembered for instead of all your hard work.

  • Tell your colleagues - it’s best you are honest and direct, as people leaving can cause unrest and try to leave with their contact details for the future. Before you tell people it’s always a good thing to check your boss is happy that you do.

  • Don’t forget to ask for a reference.