The best way to hand your notice in and leave on good terms

“His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti
He’s nervous, but on the surface, he looks calm and ready
To drop bombs, but he keeps on forgettin’
What he wrote down.”

It’s a lesser-known fact that the 2002 Eminem classic “Lose yourself” was actually based on the rapper’s feelings before handing his notice in.*Telling your employer that you are leaving your current job is one of the most nerve-racking professional experiences you can have. In Marshall Mathers experience, he was so nervous he experienced many symptoms of a full-blown panic attack.

Because of the highly emotive situation, it is possible to sour relationships. You don’t want to “lose yourself in the moment” and spew out all the negative reasons why you may be moving on. But, on the other hand, you also don’t want to cut your notice short, disappear into the night and leave them in the lurch.

It’s expected that people will change jobs a few times in their career, and the business world is small, so you may also end up working with someone you used to. They might be your boss – or you might be theirs.

So how do you hand your notice in and maintain a good relationship, or at least keep your dignity?

Do your research

The first step before you hand in your notice is to follow your company’s procedure. Next, read your contract to see how much notice you have to give. Depending on how long you’ve been in the business and your level of seniority, this could be anywhere between 2 weeks to 6 months. Making sure you work the entire length of your notice is the best way to leave on good terms to ensure you get the best reference possible.

Within your contract, you should also be able to see who you should be speaking to when you do hand your notice in. It might be your line manager, Managing Director or CEO! But best to check before.

Most importantly, don’t tell anyone else in the company before your own boss.

Prepare for “the talk”

In preparing to hand your notice in, write down all the reasons why you are looking to leave.
Doing this helps you make sure your decision was made with good reason and well thought out. The last thing you want is to come across unsure of your reasons or what you want.

Once you have noted down your reasons, highlight the key points that you feel comfortable sharing with your employer. By doing this, you will feel more prepared for your conversation, and it will also help them by giving feedback, meaning they might be able to make improvements for others.

This step is also helpful in preparing for a counteroffer. If you know why you’re leaving, it will be easier not to be tempted by what they might throw at you.

Organising a time with your Line Manager to talk. It’s like breaking up with someone, so ideally, you would arrange a time face to face. However, if you are working remotely, a Teams or Zoom meeting works just as well.

It’s Showtime

In this conversation, it’s best, to be honest. Refer to your notes that you prepared and tell them why you are leaving. However, be considerate with what you are going to say. Now is not the time to get personal. Instead, try and keep it constructive. Also, we strongly advise avoiding the internet trend of handing a “Sorry for your loss” card over with your last working day written inside.

You want to leave on good terms, so it’s important to stay positive.

Once you have handed your notice in, email across a formal letter of resignation. This should include:
• Time & Date
• Address
• Statement of resignation
• Last day of work
• Statement of gratitude
• Next steps
• Signature

Just keep swimming

That’s it! You’ve done the hard bit. Now the main task is to stay engaged during your notice period. Take time to prepare for your departure by creating a document that details all aspects of your role and how to do certain tasks. Also, offer to train people up on any important areas of your role for a smooth transition.

Don’t forget to say thank you. This is a sure-fire way to stay in the good books of the employer. Over the years, there will be many people who have helped you get to where you are now, and it’s important to be grateful.

This is one key thing to remember in life – never burn your bridges. It is actually quite a small world, and you don’t know who you’re going to meet in the future.


*In case you weren’t sure, this fact is not true.


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