5 steps to a stress free resignation

By RedLaw | 06 Aug, 2018

So, the good news: you’ve landed your next dream job. The bad news: you’re fearful of resigning. It’s often a lot less painful than one usually fears. Michael Madigan gives his top tips on how to tackle the dreaded meeting:


You have spoken with your recruitment consultant and, following a tailored search, have identified a position that is of genuine interest. You have undertaken a number of interviews and completed complex technical assessments. You have met your new team and despite serious competition you have obtained a job offer at a law firm you are very excited to be joining. However, now comes the part that, for some, is the hardest part of a successful role search – resigning from your current role.

The good news is that this is part and parcel of the majority of recruitment processes and is a lot less painful than one usually fears. I provide some helpful tips below to help you in getting over that final hurdle of the resignation allowing you to then look forward to starting your new position:

1.      Arrange a meeting face to face in a location where you know you are not going to be disturbed. It is better to resign face to face (as scary as it may be). Book a quiet room and ask your line manager for a quick conversation in private. Whilst it may be tempting or easier to leave your resignation letter on your line manager’s desk or send them a soft copy in an email (more on that later) it is impersonal and will not give you the opportunity to explain in detail the reasons behind your decision and why you are taking your new opportunity.

2.      Bring your signed and dated resignation letter with you to the meeting with your line manager. Bringing your resignation letter to the meeting enforces the notion that this is a final decision that you have taken time to consider. In addition, it allows you to formally serve written notice in person and immediately enter your notice period following the conclusion of the meeting in most circumstances.

3.      Explain your decision in a calm and concise manner. Regardless of the circumstances regarding your decision to move on, you should be wary not to burn your bridges. Thank your line manager for the opportunity and explain that whilst you are thankful for the experience you have gained it is now time to move on. Should you wish to provide criticism ensure it is genuinely constructive in nature and don’t spend too long focusing on this.

4.      Following your meeting, email your line manager with your resignation letter. Although you will have served notice in your meeting it is useful to have written correspondence over email too. Scan your letter in and reference your meeting earlier and send the email to your line manager. This ensures there can be no confusion regarding your day of resignation which will be important when ascertaining your notice period.

5.      Stay strong and determined with your decision (often your law firm will try to “buy” you back). Lack of progression, salary, personality clash, work/life balance – there are a range of reasons for seeking a new position. Whatever your initial reason for wanting to move in the first place, keep this at the forefront of your mind if (which is usually the case) the firm wishes you to stay. Even if you do accept a counter offer it may be in vain – approximately 70% of those that accept counter-offers leave their role within 6-12 months in any event.

As detailed above, resigning from a position is something that should not be feared. Whilst your line manager will likely be disappointed in losing you, in time the large majority come to terms with your decision and wish you the best in your position.

The legal market is a small one and it is beneficial to always maintain positive relationships as you move across the market – doing so will make the call to the “other side” on a deal a little easier if they happen to be a former employer with whom you departed on good terms.


Comments are closed.