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Ask Alexander: How do I hand in my notice?

  • June 17, 2014

Ask Alexander returns, this time discussing how to go about handing in your notice.

Dear Alexander,

I’ve got a new job!  I’m so excited and can’t wait to start; it’s going to be a new challenge for me and a really good next step in my career.  However, I’ve now got to hand in my notice at my current job.  I really enjoyed working here but there are no real opportunities for me, so I feel a bit bad like I’m leaving them in the lurch.  Should I just submit a letter or meet with them to discuss, I’m not sure how to go about it.  Please help?


Dear Tim,

I do understand, this is a very difficult and pretty scary part of moving jobs, particularly if you are leaving on good terms with your employer.

First thing to remember is not to hand in your notice until you actually receive your offer letter from your new company.  Once you have, then it’s the time to submit your notice; you should do this in writing and also meet with your direct line manager.

Your letter needs to be concise, including any notice period that you will serve and any holiday etc. that is outstanding.

You should submit your letter in a meeting with your line manager.  Try to arrange this as soon as possible and don’t let time drag – don’t forget your new employer is keen for you to start!  Going into your meeting, know what you’re going to say before hand and remember to take your letter with you.

Keep the meeting professional and don’t be shy about expressing your appreciation for your time spent with the company (if you do feel that way that is.  If you don’t then don’t just keep it straight to the point!).  On the whole your manager won’t take it personally, but they will often be disappointed in your decision, they are after all losing a valuable employee!

Hopefully you should be fully confident in your decision before this point, if you do feel guilty or that you should stay, remember why you decided to go for your new job in the first place.  If this reason hasn’t changed, then nor should your decision.

I’m sure you want to leave on amicable terms and a positive note.  As a word of warning therefore, your notice period is not a time to kick back and relax.  Your work ethic shouldn’t change from what it has always been.  Some people do experience a negative reaction from others, and whilst this is unpleasant you need to try to rise above it and remember that the clock is ticking down.  You do have rights during this period that relate to your notice period (you don’t have to work any longer than that stipulated in your contract), references (you can’t be threatened with a poor reference as no company should give you a bad or non-factual reference) and pay (you are covered for any outstanding wages by the Wages Act 1986).

Overall, try to maintain a professional approach to the end.  Leaving on a high note is a great way to move on, they should remember you fondly and you can be confident that you made a great impression that will stand you in good stead for the future.

Good luck!