The etiquette of resigning

For many candidates that we place in new roles, finally receiving a concrete job offer can be a bittersweet moment. Why? Because after weeks and months of hoping for a new opportunity, the moment has now come where they have to take a deep breath and resign. It’s never pleasant and if you do it badly it could even have a detrimental effect on your next role, especially if you’re expecting good references.

If you’re celebrating a new job offer but at the same time dreading the potentially awkward conversation with your boss, read on for our Etiquette of Resigning.

Stay Professional

Now is not the time to undo all the hard work that you’ve put in to your current role and professional reputation for the sake of short-lived satisfaction. Always tell your boss before letting the whole office know that you’re leaving. Most companies will require notice in writing, so when you’ve set up a meeting with your boss have this ready, along with a leaving date if appropriate. It’s also bad form to give notice just before a pre-booked holiday – you might think you’re beating the system and getting a nice break before starting your new role, but you’re actually just doing the company out of an effective handover period.

Stay Dignified

One thing that all Recruiters will tell you is – don’t quit just because you’re having a bad day, if you’re bored or if the boss didn’t sign your birthday card. Don’t be that person that dramatically storms out one day only to come back with their tail between their legs the next day when they realise there’s a job shortage in their industry. Get advice and talk it through with family, friends and Recruiters that specialise in your sector and skill sets. And when you’ve made the decision, don’t then immediately start slagging off your employers, especially on social media! Employment law might still be murky on this subject, but why take the risk? It certainly wouldn’t impress your new employers if they were to see it, they will simply assume you’ll do the same to them in time. Maintain a dignified silence online and you can vent to your heart’s content when you’re out of the office.

Stay Respectful

How you behave when you resign all comes down to respect, and the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Regardless of how you may feel about your current role and boss, they will affected by your resignation and might be blindsided or even upset that you want to leave (they might refuse to let you go and put a counter offer on the table, which is a whole other topic!). Be respectful to your other colleagues too and don’t think that resigning gives you carte blanche to put your feet up for the next four weeks. This kind of attitude can be poisonous to the working environment and people will end up wishing you would just hurry up and leave.


Thinking about resigning but want to see what your options are? Speak to one of our friendly consultants on 01926 487487 or send an email to

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