How to resign (so your ex-boss will want to hire you again)

Say goodbye properly before you ride off into the sunset. (Shutterstock)

Resigning can be a nerve-wrecking experience, especially when you aren't sure how to go about it. However you can keep things professional when you follow through these steps.

Every working person is eventually faced with the dilemma of whether to stay in their current job or resign. No matter why this decision comes to the fore, there are some important things to keep in mind if you are thinking about resigning.

1. Think before you leap

Moving on to a position in a new company or a new venture sounds exciting, especially if there is the possibility of more money. But before hand in your resignation letter, make sure you leave for the right reasons. Thoroughly think through your next move before taking the leap of faith. Will you be financially stable? What makes the move worth the risk? Is there room for growth in the short and/or long term?

If you don't already know what’s next, you might want to postpone your resignation, given the volatile job market.

2. Give proper notice

This sounds like common sense advice, but a surprising number of employees overlook, "The Basic Conditions of Employment Act". This document states that every employee must give no less than four weeks’ notice to any place of employment where they have worked for a year or more. If you are a senior employee, check your contract as that notice period is probably even longer. Ignoring this advice could make you liable for damages for breaching your employment contract.

3. Write a professional resignation letter

The best way to resign is in writing. Send a formal letter to your boss and HR. State the exact date that you’re leaving, thank them for your opportunity and wish the company well. Being kind isn’t just the right way, but necessary because you’ll need a good reference soon. Also, let your boss know first.

Read: How to write a resignation letter

4. Offer assistance with the job transition when you resign

When you resign, offer to train your successor, or the person who will fill in your position. Prepare manuals or other operating procedures and detail your responsibilities. This will make the transition from you to your successor as smooth as possible for your employer after you resign. Plus, you will be remembered and appreciated for a long time – and it’s an especially great gesture if you’re serious about networking.

5. Leave a positive note

The old saying, "don't burn your bridges" when leaving your current position is still good advice for today. Remember your current employer might one day be a client, but even more likely is that you are going to use them as a reference in the future. Make an effort to leave on good terms. Write a positive resignation letter, stating what you gained from this post. Most importantly, don't bad-mouth your employer when you leave. 

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