People leave their jobs for a whole host of reasons, from landing a higher-paid position, lack of job satisfaction, for better company benefits or just for a change of scenery. Others leave because they no longer believe in the company or they don’t get along with their team and decide that the position is no longer a good fit for them.
Handing In Your Two Weeks Notice
Handing in your resignation letter to your current employer after taking on a new role can present a variety of emotions for different individuals. Sometimes it is done with regret and other times with triumph, however it can also be an intimidating experience for some. What some people do not realize is that getting this process right can be essentially important!
Why Do We Have Notice Periods?
Often laid out in your initial contract, your notice period is an agreed amount of time between the employer and employee in which you must let the company know their intentions to resign. This agreed time is the same period when employers can inform staff that their employment relationship has been terminated.
In short, giving two weeks notice of impending resignation is generally good practice. It gives the employer time to hire someone new and begin their handover processes. Often human resources departments will require a formal resignation letter to begin offboarding processes and to retrieve financial backing to put out advertising materials and begin interviewing.
If you leave without giving notice, you could be leaving your company short-staffed at a difficult time or in the middle of on-going projects that have deadlines.
In the event that you leave your company without giving two weeks notice it can often turn the relationship sour, it also means the company could possibly sue you for breaching your contract. This is often unlikely due to the high legal costs not being worth it.
Remember that you will want to call on your previous employers for references and if they let the hiring manager for your new role know that you didn’t give notice it could tarnish your reputation or even endanger your job opportunity. Burning bridges with your current employer is risky, you may want to call on them as potential clients or even for career opportunities in the future.
How Long Should A Notice Period Be?
This time frame is often two weeks notice but can be more depending on your organization or your position within that company. Your notice period must be in writing in your employment contract or else in theory you do not need to give any notice. It may also differ depending on the contract you have.
Full-time, part-time and casual employment notice periods can differ, it might be best to consult your company’s staff handbook or online resources. If you leave without completing your notice period, employers do not have to give you your salary for any notice you have not worked.
When you hand in your notice you should also consider your commitments at the time of your resignation.
Will there be an extensive handover because of large projects currently underway? Will your timing conflict with the annual leave of your colleagues and leave your employer short-staffed at an inconvenient time?
In general, you should give as much notice as possible and consider the two-week notice period in your contract as a minimal amount of time. If you wish to extend your notice period as a good will gesture most employers will be open to it.
Notice periods differ from country to country as well as the company to company. For example, for some IT jobs in Asian countries, you may be expected to serve between 1-3 months’ notice.
You should give your manager a heads up that you are planning on resigning prior to handing in your formal notice. Namely, as a form of respect, you don’t want to blindside them by sampling handing in a letter.
This isn’t always the case if the relationship is a complex one or you are quitting the role due to tensions in the workplace but, it is best to mention to your manager that you are intending to leave. Some places may even respect you more if you let them know you are intending to apply for a role.
Drafting Your Letter
You should never send your resignation via text or via email, or worse, verbally. You should always hand in your formal resignation via a letter, often employers consider a signed letter addressed to them in an envelope as the most professional way to resign. Your letter should be brief, space out, with perfect grammar and spelling.
How to Begin
The letter doesn’t have to be over-elaborate and you don’t have to give any details or explanation as to why you have come to your decision. Date and address are important, even if you are handing it over to your employer you should date and address your resignation the same way you would send a letter in the post.
This is important for Human Resources staff to log your resignation in their system. Having the printed date of the day you handed the letter over is evidence that you gave notice of your resignation. Your letter should include the job title of the role you are vacating and the date with which you intend as your final day at the company. The beginning should read;
‘Dear (Employers name),
I am writing to inform you that I will be resigning from my current job as (Your current role) at (Company Name). As per my contracts’ notice period conditions, my last day of work will be (date of your last day).’
Say Thank You
Your letter can also be a way to express your thanks for everything you have experienced and learned while you have worked in your role. You could thank your boss for everything they have done for you and for giving you the opportunity in the first place.
‘I would like to express my thanks for all of the support I have received from you and also from the entire team. I have learned so many new skills and have achieved so much alongside all of you. Thank you for giving me this opportunity and I hope we can keep in touch. It has been my pleasure to have worked with you all.’
Granted, not everyone will be sad to leave their role and progress to new things, sometimes people need to leave the company for other reasons. Never hand in a negative letter with all the reasons why you wanted to leave. You can still be glad to go and be appreciative of having had the job. Allow the good times you had with the company to dictate the tone of your letter, you might need or want a reference from them for future employment opportunities.
If you are happy to discuss the transition period in your letter, you can do so. You can offer to help in the interim until they find someone new, obviously depending on when your new role needs you to start.
Extending an offer of support will be greatly appreciated and your manager will likely give you a glowing reference. If you are in the middle of a project you should endeavor to complete all of your current tasks and time your resignation well, so your departure doesn’t have a negative impact on the company’s project. You are unlikely to be looked on fondly if you significantly disrupted important projects because of your timing.
‘I would like to offer my support should you need someone to help with training or handover in the interim. I endeavor to have completed all of my current tasks and projects before the end of my two weeks notice period.’
End with ‘Kind Regards,’ and sign your letter with your handwritten signature rather than an electronic signature. Then print your name below and your resignation letter is complete.
Two Weeks Notice Letter Template
Please see below for the perfect notice letter template.
Name of Manager
Name of Company
To whom it may concern (manager)
I am writing to inform you that I am resigning from my current job as (Your current role) at (Company Name). As per my contracts’ notice period conditions, my last day of work will be (date of your last day).’
Upon my departure, all of my projects will be completed in full, and I am more than happy to help in terms of training or handovers when you hire my replacement.
I would like to express my thanks for all of the support I have received from you and also from the entire team. I have learned so many new skills and have achieved so much alongside all of you. Thank you for giving me this opportunity and I hope we can keep in touch. It has been my pleasure to have worked with you all.
I will fondly look back on my time here at (company name). I am so thankful that you gave me this opportunity and it has been an absolute pleasure to work alongside all of you.
Many Kind Regards,
Make sure your resignation letter is formatted properly. Use Arial font or Times New Roman with eleven or twelve for text size and spaced paragraphs.
What Not To Include
Now that we know what to include lets discuss what you should never put in your resume. You do not need to give your employer a full job description of your new role and why it is much better or higher-paid than where you currently work.
Also do not express any pessimism that suggests your spell with the corporation was disappointing, even if it has been. Ensure you do not suggest your reason for leaving was because of your co-workers, even if it was. Rather you could say that you have simply decided to move in another direction.
Just because you didn’t fit in or get along with your colleagues, is not reason enough to slate them to your manager. Remember that people often move in the same occupational circles, you never know who your new manager could bump into from your old job. However, it is a delicate balance, by being overtly positive you could come across as disingenuous.
Ask someone you trust to proofread your resignation to check for mistakes and grammar, you don’t want to make any embarrassing mistakes with a letter that can remain on your employment record for life. Never ridicule or patronize the company or the services it provides. Suggesting you are moving on to bigger and better things won’t be taken well.
You could also receive a counter offer in terms of your notice period. You should also be ready for what could be a negative response, having to hire for a position when you took the time to train a staff member can be stressful. That being said most companies will be supportive of your decision and wish you well.
The corporation could potentially come back to you with a range of options. Your manager might entreaty that you work a longer notice period, depending on your circumstances you may be open to this to help out so they can hire someone new.
They could also suggest that you take leave with immediate effect, if this happens you can ask for an explanation but be conscious that the organization must still reimburse you for your predetermined notice period.
They may also offer you a new contract with a new position and a higher pay rate to stay. If you have made a significant impact at your company and your team doesn’t want to lose you, they will sometimes offer you a better deal. It will then be up to you to decide what the best for your career is.
Can I Have My Holiday Leave When I Am On My Notice Period?
Companies are within their rights to ask that you take your holiday leave for your notice period rather than them giving you it in the form of a pay-out. Most organizations will include a part like this in your contract.
Although, you can also suggest that you take a vacation instead of working your notice period but employers can refuse to grant you leave.
Your employer could suggest you steer clear of the building during your notice period, either by working from home or not working at all and still receiving full pay. This could be because you may have a conflict of interest and you’ve been hired by the company’s competition or for security purposes.
Employees could be asked to take garden leave because they have been exposed to sensitive information, documentation or company secrets. Bankers and financial employees experience this situation more than most.
Other Things To Consider
Internal Resignation Letter
Your resignation letter will differ if your new role is an internal role. Even though you aren’t leaving your company, if you are transferring between teams and departments, you will still need to give a notice period for your current job.
You should check with your manager and ask if they need a formal resignation. Also, speak to HR to ensure that your company benefits will remain on-going and they don’t pay out your holidays to you.
You will still need to follow most of the steps of a standard resignation by including the job title and the date of your last day before your transfer. Once again, thank your manager and team members for the guidance, support and opportunities that have been afforded to you.
Even though you may be stepping up within the company you may still have to work with and see your soon-to-be ex-manager and coworkers. Therefore, if you are intending to leave you should probably discuss it with them first.
They may even offer to speak to the hiring manager on your behalf to explain why you would be such a great candidate for the role. Or they may look over your resume and cover letter for you and offer suggestions on how to improve it.
Transferring teams is always a little more awkward as you are definitely going to see and speak to these people again and in turn, they can easily contact your new manager consequently you should consider your move carefully.
Will I Still Get Sick Pay?
You will still be entitled to all the terms of your contract until the final day of your notice period. If sick pay and company insurance was a part of your employment conditions, it will remain so until you leave. Your holiday pay should also be paid out at the end of your contract.
Can I Still Be Dismissed If I Have Handed My Notice In?
As your contract conditions remain the same throughout your notice period you can still be dismissed and disciplined throughout your notice period. If you are causing disruption or your behavior warrants disciplinary action your employer can react in the same way they would if you weren’t leaving.
It is up to the employer as to whether or not dismissing you is worth it but remember that you will likely need them for a reference in the future, it is, therefore, best to resign gracefully.
Have You Signed A Contract?
You should also ensure that you have a formal job offer in writing from your new manager before handing in your notice in case your new employment falls through.
Don’t jump the gun and quit your stable working conditions for an ambiguous offer that is yet to make it to writing. Verbal offers aren’t binding, and you don’t want to place yourself in the embarrassing position where you resign and then have to ask for your job back.
When To Hand It Over?
You should ask to meet with your manager for a one on one to hand over your resignation letter, you can then email them a copy later if they need a digital version for HR.
If they haven’t been forewarned you want to make it as comfortable as possible when you do hand your notice in. Never hand your letter in when you are amongst a crowd or in a meeting with others, you can’t be sure of the reaction it may evoke.
Be Careful While Notifying Your Colleagues
Your manager might inform your coworkers in your next team meeting that you are leaving but consider sending them an email yourself.
You might want to send a goodbye message since your letter will only be seen by Human Resources and your manager. Making an effort with your colleagues before you leave will be respected and you will be signing off on a positive note.
I No Longer Want To Resign
It happens! If you have had a sudden change of heart or your new offer falls through you may wish to detract your resignation. It will be at your employer’s discretion if they choose to allow you to keep your job.
In reality, it depends on the situation of your departure and if they have begun the hiring process which comes with financial costs. Some companies prepare for this rare eventuality with a cooling-off period before they begin to look for someone new, this is usually the case if the resignation was sudden.
You Can Always Ask
You can always refer to the human resources team if you need to know the best course of action when it comes to your resignation.
If you feel uncomfortable taking advice from those loyal to the company you could also visit a recruitment consultant who will be able to offer you advice with regard to the length of your notice period and what you should say in your letter.
If your employer takes your two weeks notice badly and dismisses you on the spot without good reason you can take legal action.
Particularly if you are refused pay for your notice period but you should always look at your contract and company policy before you hand in your notice.