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Navigating your notice

So there. You’ve done it. You’ve resigned from your current role, and you’re in that ‘in-between’ place known as the notice period.

Notice periods, along with managers and businesses approach to them varies, so it’s hard to find a one size fits all guide. One thing is for sure though, how you exit a business is as important as how you join, so we always advise, use your time wisely.

Here’s some things we’ve seen, heard and been told by ourclientsandcandidates:

The resignation conversation. Be clear on your reasons for leaving. Sounds obvious but be concise and to the point. Waffle is rarely your friend, and if the resignation comes as a shock, your line manager is unlikely to listen to all the reasons you’re giving.

Be compassionate

If you’re worked for the business or your manager for a long time, there’s a good deal of emotion in this conversation. You’ve had time to prepare, but they won’t have so bear this in mind.

You don’t have to let your current employer know where you are going but think about how this might land if you don’t. In some cases, it can be construed as suspicious and even sneaky. If you’re heading to a direct competitor, check your contract if you haven’t already to make sure you’re clear on restrictions you may have to abide by. Ask for clarification from your HR team or line manager if this is the case so you don’t fall foul of any misunderstanding.


If there’s no appetite on your part for a counteroffer, say so to save time and wasted resource.

Ask what you can do to support the business during your notice period. Leave a legacy. A ‘How To’ guide for your role can be a good starting point, along with completing any ongoing projects, or handing them over with comprehensive notes. Meet with your manager and colleagues as soon as you can to ensure you’re clear on what they expect from you now you’re moving on. Sounds obvious, but time goes quickly and what can feel like ‘plenty of time’ soon runs into ‘no time at all’.

Don’t be upset that you start to get left out of things. The business will be making plans around what to do when you’re gone. They might be restructuring, recruiting, or reallocating work.

Give your colleagues some love

Chances are they’ll be sorry to see you go and will wish you well. Make them feel appreciated and thanked for the work you’ve done together.

You never know when your paths might cross again with people you’ve worked for and with. Never burn a bridge.

Some notice periods are lengthy. Some businesses will allow or encourage you to take any unused holiday during your notice period. If you have unused holiday at the end you’ve not taken, the business should pay you for those days you didn’t use. Holiday can be used at the end of the notice period to allow you to start a new role earlier if you so wish.

Ask for an exit interview

Most businesses offer these now as a matter of course but make sure you have the chance to finish things well. Give the business feedback on your experience whilst you’ve been there.

Make sure you have all your appraisal documents, and copies of any courses you’ve been on. Much easier to gather this information now, than trying to retrospectively back track once you’re 6 months into a new role.

And finally, never speak badly of the business or the people. Now is not the time to air grievances and grudges. Leave well and look forward to your new challenge ahead.

Good Luck!

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