Handing in your notice: Do's and Don'ts

You’ve found the perfect job, smashed the interview process, and received a formal offer. Now, you’re probably wondering how to hand in your notice without damaging your relationship with your soon-to-be-former employer.

For a lot of people, handing in their notice is one of the most stressful parts of changing jobs. It’s only natural: we don’t like to feel that we’ve let people down or misled them by searching for a new role behind their backs.

In reality, there’s no reason for it to be a difficult process. If you keep it professional, you can look forward to moving on with your career, safe in the knowledge that you’ve done everything right and not left the business on a sour note.

With that in mind, we’re going to look at all the do’s and don’ts for how to hand in your notice.

Before you resign

What to do

Write a letter of notice

The first step in handing in your notice is to write a letter of notice, otherwise known as a resignation letter. It should contain the following information:

  • The date when you intend to submit the letter
  • The address of your current employer
  • Your line manager’s full name (or the full name of whoever you’re submitting the letter to)
  • Your final day of employment, as determined by the notice period in your contract
  • Your full name and signature

You might also wish to add a sentence or two explaining your reason for leaving and thanking your manager for their support during your time in your current role. It’s not compulsory to do so, but it’s definitely polite, and remember: it’s in your best interests to maintain a positive relationship with previous employers. You might need them for a reference (or something else) down the line.

One final point: don’t submit your notice letter until you’ve spoken to your line manager, which we’ll discuss later on in this article.

Want a little help with writing your letter of notice? Check out our resignation letter templates.

What not to do

Use your resignation letter to air grievances

A letter of notice absolutely isn’t an opportunity to vent at how much you hate the company, your job, your line manager, your colleagues, or anything else for that matter.

If you have any specific grievances, save them for your exit interview. Even then, try to keep them positive and solution-oriented. The last thing you want is to burn bridges with a former employer.

Check out our video guide to handing in your notice:

When you hand in your notice

What to do

Speak to your manager in person

Wondering how to hand in your notice via email? The simple answer is: don’t. This is an important discussion with major ramifications for you and your current employer, so you owe it to your line manager to speak to them in-person if at all possible.

If you’re in a fully remote role or you work in a different location to your manager, try to arrange a video call to hand in your notice, or at the very least speak to them on the phone.

Give adequate notice

Your notice period should be spelled out in your contract of employment, so consult it before writing your resignation letter and use it to calculate your finish date.

In most circumstances, you’ll be expected to work your full notice period, so don’t tell your future employer that you can start earlier unless your current employer gives you permission.

Ask for a reference

Chances are your future employer will ask for a reference, so it makes sense to ask your current line manager or HR department if they’d be happy to provide one.

Provided you have a positive relationship with them, you might also ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn.

Help with the transition

Your current employer might ask you to help with the transition period, which could include anything from sitting in on interviews to holding handover meetings. Either way, it’s in your best interests to do so, because it’ll help you maintain a good relationship.

What not to do

Watch the clock

While you might feel a little less motivated than usual after you’ve handed in your resignation later, don’t dial out and start counting down the days until the end of your notice period. Otherwise, you risk leaving your team with a massive workload of incomplete tasks, which is a guaranteed way to burn bridges.

Forget to say ‘goodbye’

On your final day, be sure to write a goodbye message to your co-workers to let them know you’re moving on and thank them for being such great colleagues during your time with the company. You might also wish to include your contact details so they can keep in touch after you’ve left.

What’s next?

Feel ready to hand in your notice? Check out our advice on how to make your next career move including whether you should work for a start-up or big organisation, how to use personal branding to land your dream job or how to choose between two different jobs. 

If you want to keep your options open, submit your CV today to become discoverable to all our live roles. 


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