How To Hand In Your Notice At Work

Posted March 15 2018 By Jackie MacGregor


Handing in your notice can be a daunting prospect. You’re nervous about how your line manager will react; if you are, indeed, making the right move; if things will be awkward until you leave. That’s why many candidates go about it in the wrong way – fear and anxiety take over, meaning they either leave things to the last minute or handle the initial discussion badly.

As recruiters, we completely understand this. We’ve been in this position ourselves and we know it can take a lot of courage to ask your boss for their time and hand over your resignation letter. However, there are ways of making the process as simple and pain free as possible. Whilst we can’t take away the butterflies of actually saying you’re leaving, we can help you leave things on the best terms possible.

Take a look at our step-by-step guide to leaving your job successfully.

Write your letter

A resignation later doesn’t have to be long winded, but it does need to be clear and concise. Get straight to the point – you’ve had a great experience working there, learned a lot but are deciding to pursue new opportunities. You don’t need to use overly emotional language – and there’s certainly no call to be rude – but you should express what you’ve enjoyed about your current role and state your notice period.

Be prepared

Your boss might ask you a host of questions, so you have to be ready to answer them. They might ask where you’re going to next; they might try to negotiate your notice period; they may make you a counter offer. You have to be prepared to answer all of these questions with a firm answer. They might also be derogatory about your new place of employment – particularly if it’s a competitor – so be ready to take that all in your stride. Speak with your recruitment consultant if you’re unsure; they would be more than able to coach you on appropriate answers.  

Speak to your boss

Once you have your letter, and you have answers to any potential questions clear in your head, ask your boss for their time. Go somewhere private for the conversation. Get straight to the point, and reiterate what you have said in your letter – that you are thankful for the opportunity but have decided to move on. You may have to offer up some of your reasons for leaving, so be as direct as you feel necessary.

Tell your colleagues

The number one rule of handing in your notice is don’t tell your colleagues or team before you speak to your boss. The last thing you want is whispers going around the office or, worse, your boss hearing it from someone else before you get a chance to speak to them. Once you have spoken with your boss, and it’s confirmed that you are leaving, then you can tell your colleagues.

Leave a great last impression

Don’t burn your bridges. Even if you’ve not had a great time at your current workplace, there is no sense in making things unnecessarily awkward. Continue to do your work to your highest standard and be as polite and professional as you normally would. Provide your colleagues with a full, well-rounded handover to enable them to pick up your work and – in case you have a rather boozy leaving do – don’t get drunk and bad mouth everyone.

If you would like to speak to our teams about progressing your career, we’d be delighted to hear from you. We recruit across Scotland, from Financial Services to HR; IT to Manufacturing and Engineering; Office Services to Call & Contact Centre and Accountancy & Finance. Click here to find out more.

View All Blogs
Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you wish you can restrict or block cookies by changing your browser setting. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website.