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Articles > Interviewing & Resignation - Writing your Resignation Letter
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Interviewing & Resignation - Writing your Resignation Letter

How to Resign in Style

By JDA Professional Services, Inc.

Resigning is one of the final steps in the process of accepting a new job.  The purpose of resigning is to give your current employer notice that you will be leaving their company so that they can prepare for as smooth a transition as possible and you can begin your new position.

When to Resign
You should not resign until you have received and accepted an offer, either in writing or through an authorized agent such as JDA.  We strongly suggest that you also wait until the completion of all pre-employment checks, which could include reference checks, employment and education verification, work authorization verification, credit checks, drug testing, criminal history checks, and pre-employment physicals.

The Resignation Process
The resignation process can be exceptionally difficult if it is your first time or if you are a non-confrontational person.  Remember that the anticipation and stress related to resigning, such as not knowing how your boss will react or what your peers will think, is much worse than the task itself.

Keep it short, simple, and positive.  The IT community is small, and you always want to maintain professional relationships.  The last thing you want to do is burn any bridges.  Focus on the new opportunity you are moving toward, not the negative reasons you are leaving.

Steps to a Successful Resignation

Step 1: Before Resigning
  • Determine if you really want to do this. Once you have made your final decision, move forward without looking back.
  • Anticipate your employer's reaction and avoid feeling pressured with a counter offer.
  • Develop a transition plan, review the status of your outstanding assignments, and determine what you will be able to complete during your notice period.  Look at other ways you can be helpful in the transition out of your position.  Again your goal is to have this be as smooth and easy as possible for everyone.
  • We recommend a short letter and a written transition plan.  See sample resignation letters below.
Step 2: Resign
  • Schedule a meeting with your boss ASAP so you can get it done.  Set up enough time to resign and review your transition plan and any other outstanding issues.  Schedule the meeting at a time when the shock and stress of your notice won't interfere with other key activities.
  • As a professional courtesy, make sure your boss is the first to know you are leaving.
  • At the meeting, review your resignation letter.  Let your boss know you have thought it through and believe that this is best for your long-term career goals and that your decision is final.  Also let your boss know that you have enjoyed the experience, learned and grew professionally, enjoyed contributing to the team's success, appreciated their leadership, and are excited about your new opportunity.  Since your decision is final, ask that they respect your decision and not make it uncomfortable for you by making a counter offer.
  • Review your transition plan with your boss and set priorities for a smooth transition.
  • Keep in mind that this is not an exit interview; questions concerning why you are leaving and what they can do to fix it are not appropriate at this time.
Step 3: After Resigning
  • In most situations, an exit interview will be done later by HR as a way of completing your employment.  Typically you will be asked your reason for leaving and suggestions for departmental and company improvements.  You will also be given information to assist you in the transition of your benefits and the returning of company property such as security cards, parking tags, and credit cards.  Arrangements for your final pay check and payment for any outstanding vacation or other benefits will also be discussed.
  • Lunch parties are a great way to visit one more time and to say good-bye.  Always keep this positive; avoid talking negatively about the company or managers.  Keep in mind that work is one of the best places to meet people and make friends.  The friends you have developed will stay friends regardless of where you work, and those that are more "water cooler" acquaintances will be replaced with new ones.
  • Expect to spend a day packing up your personal belongings.  It's amazing how much stuff can be accumulated.  Depending on the company policy, you may be expected to clean up your hard drive, and you may need to allow time for this.  Always leave all business information for the next person as part of the transition process.
Tips That Will Aid in the Resignation Process
  • Do not delay.  Resignations are never easy, and waiting only creates more stress for all parties involved.  Once you get the resignation over with, you will rest much easier and be able to enjoy the excitement of your new opportunity.  If your employer is supportive and has your best interest at heart, he/she will respect your decision to move and wish you well.
  • Write it down.  Have a concise, well-written statement to make your point for you.  Hand it to the appropriate authority before you start discussing your resignation.
  • Prepare for your resignation emotionally.  Some people may take it personally and play on your emotions in an attempt to keep you.  Resignations are almost always perceived as a negative reflection on your manager, not the company itself.  If you are a key person, the manager will look bad by allowing you to get away.  Keep it professional.  It is understandable to become attached to the people you work with, but this is not the time to dwell on personal issues.  If those relationships are truly meaningful, they will always be there.
  • Keep your distance.  Remember the reasons you started to look around to begin with, and that you and your spouse/significant other/family have already been through the painstaking process of making the decision to move on.
  • Request confidentiality.  Inform only those that need to know and your transition will be less hectic.
  • Ask for a letter of recommendation or if they would be future references for you.
  • Although two weeks is considered standard notice, there is not a set amount of time that is required when you leave an employer.  The duration of one’s notice time is often based on security issues, project status, and work load.  In most cases a two-week notice is more than ample time to start the transition process.
Sample Resignation Letters

Remember that JDA Professional Services, Inc. is a reliable, effective, and highly knowledgeable IT staffing firm specializing in the recruitment of strategic-technical to executive-level professionals in Houston.  We provide staffing solutions through full-time, contract, and project-based placements.  Since 1981, we have been helping companies build great IT departments while helping IT professionals find the right career opportunities.  Because of our experience, we are the leading provider of industry and career management information for IT professionals in the Houston area.  You can find other related articles on our website at or call us at 713-548-5400 to discuss your career needs in detail.  We wish you the best in all your career endeavors!

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