In most jobs you’ll do across your life, there will come a time when you decide to leave. But how to hand in your notice?
This could be for many different reasons – maybe the pay isn’t as good as it could be, you’re ready for a career change, or you’ve had conflict with your colleagues. Whatever the core issue is, you need to overcome the barrier of handing in your notice to officially begin the process of resigning. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps of how to hand in your notice, as well as giving you some great examples on how to write a notice letter.
How to write a notice letter
Before you hand your notice in, you need to write a letter outlining the basics of why, when, and under what terms you are planning on leaving your current job. This will eliminate any uncertainty between you are your employer regarding your final date of employment or other finer details.
Keep your notice level simple, positive, and uncomplicated. This is a great opportunity to thank your employer for any training or experiences they have provided, but it isn’t the right place to air any grievances. If you have anything you want to discuss further, you can do so in person during your exit interview (which you should request if one is not offered).
Below is an easy-to-follow template for how to write a notice letter which can be adapted to suit your needs.[DATE]
To [MANAGER/HR MANAGER’S NAME],
Please accept this as formal notice of my resignation from the position of [YOUR ROLE] at [YOUR COMPANY]. According to my contracted notice period of [NOTICE PERIOD, e.g. 2 months], this means my final day of employment will be [DATE OF FINAL DAY].[OPTIONAL] During my notice period, I will endeavour to [adjust depending on what is applicable to your job role] tie up any loose ends and provide training to other employees to make this transition as smooth as possible for everyone involved [OPTIONAL] I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for the time I have spent working for [YOUR COMPANY]. I have learned valuable skills that I will carry forwards through the rest of my career and hope that we can maintain a professional relationship moving forwards.
Sincerely,[YOUR SIGNATURE [YOUR NAME]
- Remember: it’s a very small world and burning bridges with this employer might come back to haunt you further down the road. If you have any solid grievances that you want to raise, you should go through your company’s HR department.
- Tip: If you want to negotiate a shorter/longer notice period, mention this in your notice letter and whilst handing it in. You could write: ‘If possible, I would like to reduce/extend my notice period to [LENGTH OF TIME], which would make my final date of employment [DATE].’
When to hand your notice in
Try to consider the following when deciding exactly when to hand your notice in:
- Do you have a job lined up? Unless you can financially support yourself whilst searching for a new job, or you are taking a career break, you should always have a new job lined up before handing your notice in. Make sure you have accepted a written job offer.
- Leave it until the end of the week, or at least the end of the day. This will allow you and your employer to leave the office and have a couple of days or a night to mull it over without encountering each other.
- Try to avoid stressful days where your manager has a lot of meetings or important project deadlines (unless this is every day).
Figuring out the right time to hand your notice in isn’t easy, but it’s important to remember that there will never be a right time. If you delay it every time something comes up, you may never leave!
Read more: How to change your career path
How to hand in your notice
Once your notice letter is written up, the next anxiety-inducing step in the process is handing in your notice. Check your contract or employee handbook to see if there is a process outlined for this. You should always hand your notice in in person, if possible, but the company may prefer notices to go straight to the HR department via email or other written methods.
- Schedule a quick meeting with your line manager or ask if you can have a private chat. You shouldn’t drop this on them suddenly in an office full of people. Asking to talk privately, especially if you don’t usually do this, will usually mean you are going to hand in your notice or ask for a pay rise, so this will give your employer a short time to prepare for either eventuality.
- Print out your written notice and put it in an envelope. Take this to your meeting and hand it across immediately so that your intentions are completely clear. You can also offer to send this across on an email so that they have a digital copy.
- Get to the point straight away and avoid small talk, this could make it more awkward. You could start with “Thanks for agreeing to talk to me, I am handing my notice in today” or simply “I’d like to hand my notice in”. Then you can go into any reasons you have for doing so. Keep it light, professional, and positive.
- Be prepared for questions. Your employer will likely ask you where you will be working, what made you start searching for a new job, and why you want to leave. Make sure you have practiced your answers and take your time.
- Be ready for a counteroffer. If you are a valuable employee, they won’t want to let you go. Be prepared to reject any counter offers. Accepting a counteroffer might be in your best interest, but if you have previously asked for a pay rise/more benefits and they have been denied, you shouldn’t have to get to the stage of quitting for them to be offered to you. Retracting your notice can make for an awkward work environment, and will be frustrating for the company whose job offer you accepted.
If your reasons for quitting aren’t positive, this is okay, and your concerns should be heard. Keep it broad when handing your notice in, and request an exit interview so that you can provide feedback to your line manager on what they could be doing better.
What to do during your notice period
- Keep working hard – don’t use your notice as an excuse to take it easy! Your (now former) employer will appreciate you putting the effort in to ensuring everything is ready for your departure from the company.
- Don’t talk badly of the company – this goes back to our previous point of not burning bridges. Don’t start being negative about the company to other employees. This will cause a bad atmosphere and you will paint yourself in an unprofessional light.
- Prepare for your new role – are there any skills you need to brush up on before you start your new role? Online home learning courses could be the right way to set yourself up for success.
Remember: Is there anything in your contract that might cause issues when you leave? E.g., are you allowed to work in the same industry? Did you sign any NDAs? Make sure you are following the rules to avoid getting into any legal trouble.
Read More: What Is A Notice Period?
1. Do you have to work your notice?
If it is in your contract, you have to work it. Refusing to do so will mean you are breaching your contract, and your employer may choose to take you to Civil Court to claim losses caused by you not working the agreed notice period[i]. Instead of refusing, have a conversation about shortening your notice period. No good employer wants a disgruntled employee on their team, so they will usually accept this.
2. How long is a notice period?
This depends on your job. A standard notice period can last anywhere between 2 weeks to a month, but some industries have higher notice periods of 3 months, which increases with each year you work for the company.
3. How much should you get paid during your notice period?
You should get paid the same amount that you were paid under your normal employment terms.
Good luck handing in your notice!
We hope the above advice has prepared you and helped you to understand how to hand in your notice in the best way possible. It’s not an easy task by any means, but being able to have these difficult conversations in your career will pave the path to a better, brighter future.
If your manager isn’t being fair, or you are unsure of your rights as an employee, you should go to the gov.uk website to read up on up to date policies regarding handing in your notice. You can access this here.