The title of this article should really be “How to Give Two Weeks’ Notice and Leave on Good Terms” because that is your ultimate goal when you resign from a job.
If you leave an employer on a positive note, you maximize your chances of receiving all of the compensation and benefits that are due to you. You also stand a better chance of getting a letter of recommendation, and your old employer will be more likely to be generous when responding to a reference or background check from a future employer.
This article will guide you through the difficult process of giving notice to your current employer so that you don’t burn any bridges. We will explain the role that emotions play in the process, provide guidance in writing a resignation letter with template examples, and prepare you for possible questions that you might be asked about your decision to leave.
Giving two weeks’ notice can be an undertaking with an unpredictable outcome. You never know how your employer will react. Before you do anything, check your employment contract for your current job and find out if you are due compensation for paid time off and what your final paycheck should be. That way, if your news is not accepted as warmly as you would like, you will know if your employer is withholding compensation.
When you give two weeks' notice, the event will be marked by some type of emotion. If you hate your job, you might feel relief and even satisfaction if you feel like you have been unfairly treated in some way. On the other hand, if you have enjoyed your work, you might feel guilty and that you are leaving your employer in the lurch.
Either way, you should not let your emotions affect how you resign or the notice period that you want to serve. You should take a rational and professional approach to resigning to get the best outcome. That means considering how you can help your employer to replace you if need be.
When you plan how to give your two weeks’ notice, do whatever you need to do to be in a calm state of mind. Don’t do anything hastily because you are likely to regret it later.
The best way to deliver the news that you will be leaving a job is to meet with your supervisor and inform them in person. At the same time, you should hand them a formal resignation letter outlining your plans to serve two weeks’ notice. You don’t need to tell your former employer why you are leaving, but if you can give a valid and understandable reason, it is best to do so.
Knowing what to say to your boss in the meeting requires some thought, so it’s a good idea to write your resignation letter first.
What you write will depend on your experience with the company, the reason you are leaving, and the terms of your resignation. If you are anxious to leave and are not happy, you will want to leave no room for negotiation in terms of the two weeks.
On the other hand, if you want to maximize the goodwill that your old employer will exhibit toward you in the future, you might be willing to extend the two weeks or offer to do what you can to find a replacement.
Remember that you do not have to explain why you are leaving in your letter. Keep it simple, state the date that you plan to leave, and express gratitude to your employer for the opportunity.
Here is an example of a two weeks' notice letter if you want to make a clean break.
Dear [Manager’s Name],
Subject Line: Resignation
After much consideration, I have decided to leave [Company Name].
Please consider this my official two weeks’ notice with [date] being my last day of work. Thank you for the opportunity to have worked at [Company Name] and for all that I have learned.
I am happy to outline a transition plan for review at your convenience. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do that would be helpful.
Here is an example of a resignation letter template if you want to maximize your chances of getting a letter of recommendation!
Dear [Manager’s Name],
Subject line: Resignation
After much consideration, I have decided to leave [Company Name]. This has been a difficult decision for me and one based purely on my desire for professional advancement. It is my understanding that [Company Name] has limited options for me in this area, so I am seeking a placement in a larger organization.
I thank you for the opportunity to have worked at [Company Name] and for all that I have learned. It has been a truly invaluable and enjoyable experience.
Please consider this my official two weeks’ notice with [date] being my last day of work. However, I am willing to stay on to find and train a replacement if need be. I will also outline a transition plan for review at your convenience. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do that would be helpful to ensure a smooth transition.
Now, you have your content, you can decide how best to deliver it.
As stated before, the best way to deliver the news of your two weeks’ notice is face-to-face and with the resignation letter in hand.
That said, if the relationship between you and your boss has been a contentious one, you might want to avoid a confrontation. In that case, it is absolutely fine to send the letter by email, or to deliver it without a meeting.
The advantage of the meeting is that you could ask for a letter of recommendation if your supervisor is gracious and takes the news well. A meeting is also a time when you can express your gratitude and cement a professional relationship going forward even though you are leaving.
Never choose to have a meeting so that you can air your grievances. That will make a bad situation worse, and there is every chance that your employer will give you a poor review when a future employer contacts them to check your application information.
Lastly, you should copy human resources on your letter of resignation. If HR does not contact you, contact HR and ask for a meeting to go over details such as when you will receive your final paycheck, what you will receive in terms of paid time off, what happens in terms of any 401ks or retirement funds that you may have paid into, and what do to with company equipment.
How your news is accepted is anybody's guess. Your employer may simply offer you congratulations if you have a job offer and wish you well, your employer may present you with a counteroffer, or they might ask you some awkward questions when you resign.
Questions may be in the form of an informal chat, or HR might ask you to take part in an exit interview. The questions asked in an exit interview are designed to find out why people leave the organization and what a company is doing right and what they are doing wrong in terms of company policies for staff.
Below is a sample of questions you might be confronted with, and for a more in-depth look at exit interviews and how to handle them, read this article on, “How to Answer Questions in an Exit Interview.”
What made you start looking for a new job?
What does your new opportunity offer that we don’t?
How was your relationship with Your manager?
Is there something we could have done to prevent you from leaving?
Would you recommend this company to a friend?
The trouble with exit interviews is that your current company should be asking these questions while staff are still on board, not when they are leaving. Also, a wise employee is not going to be critical of an organization when they are about to leave, so exit interviews are often a waste of time.
Remember that you are under no obligation to answer questions or to attend an exit interview. However, it can be awkward to refuse. The best way to handle questions from your boss or interviewer is to be as gracious as possible in your answers and to avoid saying anything negative.
Also, prepare yourself for a counteroffer. You should know how you will respond, even if it is simply that you would like to ask for enough time to consider the offer.
Where counteroffers are concerned, remember that your employer has now seen your hand and is aware that you are considering leaving. Therefore, they may only keep you on until they find a cheaper replacement. A counteroffer from your current employer might come with higher compensation in the short run, but you might lose out in the long run.
In summary, leaving on a high note requires diplomacy, handling your emotions, and following proper etiquette if you are to avoid burning bridges. Keeping a positive outlook can maintain relationships that you may need in the future.
Lastly, make your final day an easy one by preparing for some creative maneuverings in the event you are asked questions about why you are leaving, and give yourself permission to say the odd white lie!