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How to Resign (Without Burning a Bridge).

Posted on Jun 20, 2017


One of the areas of recruitment that we are asked about the most is that moment when the euphoria of landing a new job ebbs a little and the candidate realises that they now have to tell their boss. For most, this is a slightly to very daunting procedure. How do you tell someone (potentially the person who gave you the job) that you’re leaving?

At ALRA we try to make it as easy as possible for our candidates and offer the following advice. Have any tips that differ from or add to ours, get in touch! We’d love to hear them.


Resignation Procedure


At this point you have secured yourself and accepted a new position that offers you more of what you want in your next career move.

Whether it is Increased Title & Responsibility, Career Development Opportunities, New Clients, Better Team Culture & Management Team, Convenient Location, Better Perks, or simply New Beginnings, you’ve obviously made the informed decision that this is the right choice for you.


So, time to tell your current boss you’re leaving…


Resign without Burning a Bridge


Firstly, pick your timing. It sounds simple, but resigning just before lunch when your boss is super hungry might not be the best time to ensure that the meeting stays upbeat. Nor is resigning right before a deadline is due. Manage your resignation around your bosses workflows and pick a time when she/he is most likely to be relaxed and open for discussion.


Secondly, be respectful. There is a reason you are leaving but even if it is horribly negative (and believe me, we’ve heard some absolute doozies), you need to be polite. Give thanks where it is due and if you have to criticise, keep it constructive.


Thirdly, Keep it clean. Keep it professional. Call a meeting with your boss and hand them the following:


  • Resignation Letter – (Ask us for an example letter)
  • To Do List #1 – tasks you will complete throughout your notice period
  • To Do List #2 – tasks that need to be handed over once you have left


Sending a very clear and concise message that you have made your decision to move on goes a very long way to making an amicable split. Most of the time, a burnt bridge is based on emotions, not reality. Going down the route of counter offer opens up the gates to an emotional minefield.

Completing the above ‘To Do Lists’ will also help your (now ex) boss feel less stressed about your leaving and help to ensure that the relationship stays pleasant.


Fourthly, be firm. You need to be prepared for the fact that your boss may try to court you with the offer of more money. Be firm in your resolve and wary of accepting what we call a “Counter Offer”. Unless the problem was that you weren’t being paid enough, more money is unlikely to fix the reason you decided to leave in the first place. Even if your problem was the money – you’ve now bettered your salary by threatening to leave and the trust that once existed between you and your boss is gone.


Finally, leave with a smile and a thank you. Make sure that final memory they have of you is a good one – you never know when you might cross their path again in the future.