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How To Resign From Your Job

These days it is rare that any of us will stay in with one company for the rest of our working lives, which means that at some point we will need to hand our employers a notice of resignation. 

source: Unsplash


New Zealand is currently experiencing one its lowest rates of unemployment of just 3.3% (2nd quarter 2022). This has led to an increase in the demand for workers across all industries. It has also led to employers offering higher wages, better benefits and more flexibility in order to retrain and attract the right kind of people. So what do you do if you’ve been offered a job at a different firm and you need to resign? Well chances are a lot of what you will be expected to do will be laid out in your employment contract.  


It can often be a hard subject to approach with an employer especially if you have been there for a while and have had a relatively enjoyable employment experience with them. It’s not uncommon to feel shame or guilt when you realise that you need to have that conversation with an employer. However, regardless of the reason, you need to do it the right way because it will ensure that your references for future employment opportunities will be solid and your professionalism will stay intact. 


So before you take a new job or decide that you are going to quit your current job you need to read your employment contract carefully. Check for any legal requirements and obligations that you have to your employer before you leave to begin working for a new employer. This will include things such as notice periods, the amount of time between telling your employer you are leaving and starting your new job, or requirements that you must fulfil before finishing up your roll. 


Notice Periods

Notice periods tend to be between 2 and 4 weeks. Each employer has a different requirement so make sure that you know exactly what they expect of you. Your employment contract may also specify the format of your resignation notice, i.e. verbal or written and to whom you need to give the notice to. This means that if your employment contract states that you need to provide written notice they will not be able to accept a verbal notification. Of course you can give them verbal notice first and then follow up with a written notice. 

Written notices should be professional in their manner and do no need to be extensive. A simple notification of when your notice starts from till when you will be finishing is a good start. You could also add a kind message thanking your employer for the opportunity to work with or for them. Remember that, in most cases you will still need to work out your notice period so it’s important to ensure that your last couple of weeks there will go smoothly. 


During your notice period your employer should aim to work with you to develop a plan to ensure that any essential work tasks are either completed or assigned to someone else. This will differ from role to role and company to company. It is also important that any files or documents that may be associated with your work are correctly stored so that a proper handover can be completed for the person coming in to fill your role. In some roles where emails are used if you have a personal email address for your role, set up an auto-forward and out of office reply. This will ensure that the message gets to the right person and that customers or colleagues are aware of your departure from the company.  

Exit Interviews 

Many organisations and companies like to perform exit interviews to help them perform better as employers and as a business. Exit interviews are always optional and you should never be required to do one. The benefit of doing an exit interview is that you could help to change the way in which your former employer carries out their internal processes and perhaps even how they interact with their customers. You should always strive to be as honest as possible when doing an exit interview as there are no wrong answers and who knows you might just see something that no one else does. 


An exit interview is just like any other meeting that you may have at work with your employer in that if you wish to take a support person along with you, you have that right.

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