A large part of what I do aside from identifying and recruiting top talent is helping guide folks through the entire interviewing and ultimately the resignation process. Truth be told, its actually one of the most enjoyable parts of a recruiter’s job. You may be asking yourself WHY? Generally speaking, the resignation process is hands down the most unpleasant part of the entire process according to the hundreds of folks I have worked with over the past 20 plus years. That said, it doesn’t need to be dreaded. Here are a few tried and true key points to keep in mind when giving your employer notice of your intent to resign.

1. Provide a written letter:
Yes, to many of us, this seems rather obvious but to many others, they don’t see the need. There are two main reasons to give your notice in writing- the first is that it will help you leave your position in “good standing” and allow you not to inadvertently burn a bridge. Your employer may choose to pay you out money’s owned and walk you to the door that day or before your two weeks are up, that’s entirely their prerogative. The second reason for a written letter is that it can help be used as your “script”- yes, a script. If your employer reads your letter and it mentions your move for a long-term better career move, that is the script you convey verbally- it helps keep the conversation on level footing and keeps the interaction to the point and most importantly not personal. Many times, a supervisor will be blindsided by a resignation and can take it personal, a letter will help ensure that that is not the case.

2. Do not divulge where you are going or for how much:
I always strongly advise candidates I work with NOT to get into the details of their offer including the name of your new employer. All this will do is create an opportunity for your supervisor or their supervisor to “corner” you and create confusion and potential conflict. The goal is to make the exit painless, cordial, and professional with as little disruption as possible.
The expression “Less is More” really does apply here- if you are serious about the move in your career and are genuinely excited about it, remember that you have gotten to this point in the process by carefully assessing the new role and opportunity and have made the decision it’s the best move for you, your career and your family (if applicable). Its frankly none of your employer’s business where you are going or how much they are paying you- be professional but limit what you share!

3. Don’t play the Counteroffer game:
It’s important you DON’T let the supervisor “guilt” you into feeling bad for making a career move, at the end of the day, this is for you and your family, it’s not about your supervisor. It’s okay to empathize with him/her that you leaving may cause disruption on the team but that you are glad to work towards your departure date to minimize any challenges it may create. It’s very common for a supervisor to try and “match” an offer to get you to stay, it’s also common for a supervisor to make assurances of promotions or provide other “carrots” to entice you to not leave (promotion, new title, more money, promises of advancement in the future and the list goes on). Don’t be surprised, it’s really par for the course because your departure may cause them to have to move quickly to find a replacement…Just remember- you have come to the decision to move forward based on a number of factors already (lack of career progression opportunity, compensation, benefits, work environment etc.).

Because your company wants to attract you to stay, a counter-offer will usually come cloaked in flattery. It may sound something like this:
• “But you know we’re right in the middle of a big project! And you’re much too valuable to the team to desert us now!”
• “You are driving a stake right through my heart. How could you leave me!”
• “I don’t know what I am going to do if you leave. You know everything about that job and I could never find anyone like you!”
• “We didn’t want to tell you until next quarter, but we were just about to give you a raise/promotion to show you how much we appreciate your work. Why don’t we make it effective immediately instead of having you wait any longer?”
• “Why, we had no idea you were unhappy with anything here. Let’s discuss this further before you make some rash decisions. Whatever it is, we can work it out.”
• “You know we have great plans for you here! But the company you’re going to work for? What can they do for you?” (this is not a question but a statement to destroy your excitement about the new company and new position)
• “Why don’t you tell me about your offer and perhaps we can match it.”

Why counter-offers don’t work-statistically, you are 60% more likely to be terminated or leave within six (6) months of a counteroffer then your colleague with the same job.

Bottom line- if you are accepting an offer of employment with another firm, do yourself and others the favor of following it through to the end and enjoy your new journey, you deserve it!