1. Put it in Writing
Write a letter of resignation and schedule a meeting so that you can hand-deliver it to your direct supervisor. Include the effective date by which you will conclude your tenure at the current company (typically two weeks). You should submit this letter as soon as possible, upon the settling of any contingencies in your offer.
2. Thank Your Employer
Thank the employer for the opportunity over the period of employment. Do this in the letter and in person. Keep it short and positive. You have reasons for leaving but you obviously want to maintain a productive and professional relationship with all your colleagues past and present. Industry connections are important for future references, collaboration, and future employment.
3. Why are you leaving?
Be prepared to give a short reason about why you are leaving but do not invite, nor feel obliged to enter into a lengthy discussion. Keep your reasons within the scope of the positive. Ex. The new position you have accepted offers a significant new challenge with a technology that you are passionate about. This is not an exit interview and it is not the time to air grievances.
Clearly state that this decision has been thoughtfully made and is final. For example: “This was a difficult decision but it is final and I do not wish to discuss counter proposals.”
5. Counters end badly
Be prepared for a counter offer anyway because it is less disruptive and costly for the employer to keep you than have you gone in two weeks. Typically appeals to keep an employee turn out badly within that year. What happens often is that:
– Other colleagues get wind that you resigned and then got raise or other benefits and they are bitter. You can be sure that you will not enjoy the same working relationships with these people afterwards.
– If budgets get tight, you are in a highly risky position. Management wanted to keep you when they were taken unprepared but now they question your loyalty and mistrust you. Why retain the person who was going to walk?
– When promotions are to be made, will you be among them? Will management be shy or unsure that you will have their back? Will they be wary of promoting you and then having you leverage that in the marketplace?
6. Tense Goodbyes
Be prepared for a less than warm reception to the news. Some employers will ask you to gather your personal belongings, and turn in any company property such as keys, car, phone, or laptop. This is not uncommon in roles where there is sensitive information entrusted. It may be policy, it may be emotion, the key is to remember why you accepted another offer and remain calm and professional.
7. Maintain your relationships
Let colleagues know where you have moved to and keep lines of communication open. Make sure and express your gratitude for the collaboration and any mentoring you had while there. Most industries are fairly small, you never know when you will be working with past colleagues in some capacity, consider these relationships as the gold in your rolodex and give them the respect they are due.