Had an opportunity to get a glimpse of the Links newsletter that went out this week? (This is your reminder to subscribe!). The opening note from our team talks about how the start of a new year brings with it new beginnings, new opportunities, and the limitless potential for self-improvement and change.

Are you, perhaps, one of the many assessing their current satisfaction levels in…career? Is it time for a fresh start? Even with our job board bubbling with plenty of opportunities, as a PA or EA it is essential you maintain a positive and professional reputation on departure. The world is small, and you do not want to upset your current employer! They gave you a job in the first place, and they probably helped you pick up some valuable skills and experience along the way.

This is a guide to help you prepare to say goodbye gracefully.

Step 1: The In-Person Dialogue

Depending on your level of seniority and the nature of your workplace, this step can range from straightforward to potentially challenging. For instance, if you lead a team and engage directly with clients, the process may become more intricate.

Firstly, it is common courtesy to tell your manager you are resigning face-to-face before they learn of your departure through the grapevine! Secure the meeting and the space, whether it's a conference room or a lunch or coffee setting. In addition, your emotions, tone of voice and body language will humanise you.

Top Tip: If it’s not possible to meet in person, arranging a video call on Zoom or Teams is your next best option.

During the conversation:

  • Stick to the facts, maintaining a respectful and direct approach.
  • Be prepared to provide a brief explanation for your departure, such as "I've decided to explore a new direction professionally" or "I've been presented with a compelling opportunity aligning with my current needs for x reasons."
  • Express gratitude to your employer for the experiences and opportunities you have had. (more on this in Step 2)
  • Clearly state your desire to stay connected and work your notice period.

Step 2: Show Gratitude

That one-to-one conversation is an important chance to thank your employer! It is perhaps one of the most crucial as gratitude can go a long way.

That might include thanking them for:

  • the opportunity you’ve had to work at the company.
  • the guidance that they’ve show you.
  • the unique opportunities that have been offered to you.

Top Tip: Even if you are no longer happy at your role, there’s likely something that you’ve taken from it that you can be grateful for.

Step 3: The Formal Letter

Following your verbal resignation, it is imperative to formalise the process by sending a letter to your employer at the earliest convenience post-conversation. It may be prudent to draft this letter in advance of your discussion.

Top Tip: This letter needs to provide the date of your last day of employment, so make sure you’re giving the required amount of notice. Your contract of employment will contain details of your notice period.

Providing adequate notice affords your employers ample time to address the transition of your responsibilities, facilitating a smooth departure and contributing to a positive conclusion. Not giving enough notice can be considered disrespectful and unfair to the rest of the team.

Step 4: Reinforce that Glowing Impression.

Your role in those final weeks or months is to ensure a smooth transition, complete all your outstanding tasks, and leave handover information whoever is taking on your workload once you’ve left.

Have you heard of recency bias? People place more emphasis on experiences that are freshest in their memory, so make them as positive as possible! If someone does contact your old employer for a referral, they’re more likely to provide you with a reference heavily influenced by your behaviour and performance in the last week.

Top Tip: it is generally considered good etiquette to ask for permission from your employer before you provide their details. This way they have time to reflect on your performance.

Step 5: Support Post Departure

Cultivate your professional network by staying connected with colleagues. Engage in online interactions such as liking their posts, celebrating successes, and connecting. Additionally, refer people when it’s fitting, as you never know when these connections might prove beneficial. Maintaining these relationships is crucial, as they may serve as valuable references later in your career. Leverage professional networking sites to stay connected with contacts, fostering potential opportunities for future career ventures and job prospects.

In Conclusion

Throughout the resignation process, it’s important to remain professional. Maintaining a positive relationship with your manager and colleagues will make working your notice period much easier and could allow you to return to this employer in the future. Remember, the world is small than you think with industries becoming increasingly tightly knitted, especially when you are supporting senior individuals.

Respectful Resignation:

  • Arrange a face-to-face video meeting with your manager.
  • Maintain a direct and respectful tone, express gratitude for the experiences.

Express Gratitude:

  • Utilise the conversation to thank your employer for the opportunities and guidance.
  • Even if you are happy to leave, find aspects to be grateful for, contributing to a positive departure.

Formalise the Resignation:

  • Send a formal letter promptly after the verbal resignation with the date of your last day, adhering to the notice period.

Leave a Positive Lasting Impression:

  • Focus on a smooth transition in your final days, completing tasks and providing handover information.
  • Be mindful of recency bias; aim for a positive and lasting impact on your employer’s perception.

Continue Support Post-Departure:

  • Stay engaged and supportive even after leaving the company.
  • Interact online, share their successes, and refer people when appropriate to maintain positive connections.