Career Advice

The 9-Point Resignation Checklist

min read
Vera Chan

Leaving a job may seem easy, especially if you're dying to leave. But before moving on to your next job or starting your job hunt, you need to make sure you leave professionally. Resigning from a job can be done poorly or properly. To do the latter, we have compiled top tips to bear in mind before you make your departure.


The importance of resigning in a polite manner is that you will leave behind a good impression. This makes it that much easier and beneficial to you if your next employer calls for a reference.


1. Give Notice

Check your notice period. Is it one-month or three months or more? Are you subject to gardening leave? Give the proper amount of time to give notice before you start your next job. If you're accepting a job offer from the next place of work, make sure your starting date starts after you leave.


If you are under probation, your notice for leave may be slightly different based on the first week or month. Check your contractual obligations to be sure.


2. Tell Your Boss

Before you provide written notice, it is polite to inform your boss or direct report that you are leaving. This will make for a more graceful exit rather than them finding out through the grapevine. The next step is to follow-up the verbal notice with writing in black-and-white.


3. Write a Letter of Resignation

Make sure that your resignation letter includes the following most basic information:

  • The effective date of your resignation — the day you give notice of your leave that comes into effect
  • The role from which you are resigning — your position
  • Your last working day at the company — the date of your last day

You can choose to include handover details if you feel it is necessary or if asked and required. Don't forget to cc — send a carbon copy to human resources via email, and keep a copy for yourself.


4. Tell Human Resources

When you inform human resources, be sure to discuss your remaining pay and how that will be handled. There may also be other outstanding issues to go through, such as how your vacation days will be paid out. If you are entitled to sick leave as well, also discuss this. Bear in mind that you may be asked to go through all of these topics in your exit interview. Exit interviews may or may not be held, depending on the company's requirements.


5. Plan a Handover

If you have already found a replacement or are filling in your colleagues on your work, make a plan. Include outstanding tasks or projects in the making and the statuses. This will enable a smooth transition for the replacement or subordinate. They may only be temporarily managing and not filling in your shoes. But doing this shows responsibility on your part and this will reflect well on you. You're also more likely to be fondly remembered.


6. Save Work Samples

Aside from proprietary work and intellectual property, think about work samples to save. You might be asked at your next job interview to show examples of work you have done. Save records or work of projects you have worked on and you can add this to your portfolio.


It is important to note that for some positions, once you hand in your notice, you will be escorted out. This is usually in cases where you work in environments with sensitive information. This is for security reasons and nothing to do with you being in trouble. So be prepared and save your work samples before you hand in your notice if you might be in one of these situations.


7. Tell Your Co-Workers

Some companies have a policy dictating when you can and cannot tell your colleagues. Check your employee handbook, ask human resources or ask your boss when you are allowed to do so. Once you have this figured out, think about how you will tell them. Over email or over lunch? Will you do it as a group or individually? News travels fast, so think about including everyone so they all find out around about the same time.


8. Clear Your Data

Do you have any personal files on your laptop or work computer? Remove anything that you don't want seen. This also includes refraining access to your information, so update your passwords. Tidy up your desktop and download folders. Share any work documents that will need to be used by colleagues once you have left. You can save this on company servers or the cloud if it is only on your hard disk. This will depend on what platforms and softwares your company uses.


9. Tie Up Loose Ends

This takes us back to the exit interview. Things to look out for include any insurances your company might cover. Are there outstanding benefits that are owed to you? What happens to your pension plan once you leave? If any updates will be sent to you, will it be via email or post? In any case, make sure your email address, number, and postal address are up to date for any correspondence.


At the end of the day, if you follow all of the above, this will make for a smooth exit. What's next? Read 4 Tips & Answers to "Why Are You Leaving Your Job?

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