6 Steps to resigning, without damaging your future career.


Resignation is tough, there are multiple factors that go towards making it a difficult task. The working relationships you have built, the time you have invested into your work and the energy you have poured into your projects. Top this off with the fact that if you resign in a bad way, it has the potential to damage your career, and you have one very stressful situation.

In this blog post I will give you a process to resign professionally and pain free.

Leave on Positive terms

This is the overall focus of the process. It doesn’t matter if your relationship with your boss is great or terrible, you never know how that person could impact your career later down the road. Imagine walking into an interview in 5 years’ time and sitting across from an ex manager, who you told couldn’t run a bath, let alone a department!

Remember, this extends to your co-workers too, I worked with a woman many years ago, at that point, we were in very different places in our lives and certainly didn’t get along well, that lady is now my sister in law. I sure am glad I was polite and amicable with her when I left that company.

Check your contract, you are looking for two main points

  • Your contractual notice period, you don’t want any nasty surprises here that will throw out your planned start date with your new company.
  • Training cost claw backs, has your employer invested in a qualification or training for you, that you would be liable to pay back if you leave within a certain time period?

Write your resignation letter

  • Take the direct approach. Own your decision and state directly that you are resigning.
  • Do not explain yourself. Millions of people quit their jobs every month, literally millions. It is a completely normal occurrence in world of business. People outgrow roles, find better prospects, change jobs for all kinds of reasons. The bottom line is you don’t have to explain. If pushed for an explanation politely and firmly state, that you feel that you have been offered a better opportunity at another firm. Remember any explanation you give can and will be held against you, especially if you end up coming back to the company in the future. (See step 1. Leave on a positive)
  • Take a polite and professional approach. Thank your boss for the opportunity to be part of the company and the experience that you have had.
  • Set out the next steps. This is the ideal opportunity to give your employer an outline of the handover and support that you are prepared to provide during your notice period. Don’t over commit at this stage set out clear levels of handover, this will help transition you out of the business and maintain a positive relationship with both colleagues and managers. ‚Äč

Hand in your resignation to your direct manager

You must tear the plaster off here, take your manager to one side as soon as possible and tell them that you are resigning. Hand them your resignation letter and tell them your intentions with regards to your notice period and handover. If you want to leave sooner, you will need to discuss this with your manager. But remember, leaving on a positive is the goal

Do not be swayed, stay the course, turn down the counteroffer

Counter offers are counterproductive. You may be lucky and not receive a counter offer. Yes I said lucky, because counter offers add a huge amount of psychological and emotional stress to an otherwise stressful situation. I had the pleasure of working with an engineer last year, who worked for a large Japanese OEM, his companies policy was to not make counter offers, they recognised that when a team member wanted to leave it was to go to a job where they felt that would be happier, and so, they didn’t stand in the way of that persons development.

You may get offered more money (this was going to be your raise next year anyway), a different title, more responsibility, a training course, the Director may want to speak with you to tell you how valued you are. Trust me, the shine of all these things will fade away, and within 6 months you will be back in the job market.

Take a moment to congratulate yourself

You have just dealt with a particularly stressful situation, in a clear, professional and confident manner. If you can, call a friend or loved one to share the news.


So there you have a structure for resignation that avoids potentially harming your career in the future

Using this process you will leave your old job on positive, professional footing, whilst cementing working relationships.

Have you resign recently, tell us how it went, what was the hardest part for you?