If you have been thinking about resigning from your job, you're certainly not alone. According to The Engineer 2020/2021 Salary Survey, almost 47% of Automotive Engineers are considering changing jobs. When it comes to reasons for resignations, 62% of Engineers would do so for better pay, almost 60% for a new challenge, and 49% due to limited opportunities in their current role.
Handing in your resignation should not be an impulsive decision. It's a wise move to take some time to reflect on why you want to leave and then speak to your Manager to see if it's something they can address. If they're not able to help and you still want to leave, here are some steps you can take to 'resign right’ and ensure you don't burn any valuable bridges in the process.
Be Well Prepared
When considering how to resign from your job, it's important to know that the way you manage your resignation is how you’ll be remembered. That's why it's paramount to prepare for it just as you would for a job interview. While it's natural to feel uncomfortable speaking to your Manager about your resignation, it is also easy for your nerves to takeover and inhibit your ability to speak clearly, calmly and logically.
Preparing what you want to say beforehand and practising it may help negate this. Take a little time to run through your speech to make sure you cover all the necessary bases, aiming to frame it as positively as possible. You could begin by giving your reason for leaving, taking care to avoid negativity. For example, rather than saying "I feel stuck here", you could say "I’ve found another opportunity that’s a great step for my career".
You can then share your intended date of departure (being sure to abide by any contract notice terms), before moving on to expressing what you’ve learnt while working with your Manager, team and the company. End by thanking them for giving you these opportunities to expand your career.
Arrange a Meeting with Your Manager
Delivering resignation news via email is generally seen as unprofessional, so once you’re confident with your resignation script, schedule a face-to-face meeting with your manager (or a video call if you work remotely). When picking a meeting slot, let your manager know how much time you’ll need, while also checking it will be a private one-on-one conversation.
During your meeting, deliver your speech calmly and give your Manager some space to digest the news. If you have previously approached them about changes to your role, they will likely expect this outcome, but be prepared for the eventuality that your speech may still come as somewhat of a shock. A couple of tips for the meeting include:
Offer to take an active role in ensuring a smooth and effective transition.
Consider extending your notice period, if you're comfortable and able, or offering to reply to emails after you’ve left for a limited time should someone has a question you can best answer.
Check whether your manager will manage your resignation announcement or if they want you to.
Ask them what they require for a handover, and whether they want you to help hire and/or train your replacement.
Send Your Formal Resignation Letter
Directly after the meeting follow up with your formal resignation letter. This should be in hard copy format, with a secondary copy sent via email if they require an electronic version for your file.
Reiterate your reason for resigning in a positive tone, expressing gratitude for the opportunities you had working for the business, and also note down your intended departure date.
Your letter should detail the return of any workplace equipment as well as notification of any files and folders you may have had in your possession.
Continue to Act Professionally
Depending on the arrangements you have put in place with your Manager, you can now inform the rest of your team and colleagues. Take care to act professionally in your remaining time. After all, today's colleague, peer or Manager could easily become tomorrow's boss at another company. It's well worth keeping your professional reputation intact and retaining your connections.
Consider putting together a handover file detailing information about your role that only you know. Create ‘how to’ guides for processes, software programs or equipment. This should be a detailed transition plan for your replacement, including essential contacts. The more helpful you are, the more likely it is your employer will provide a positive reference (see next point).
If your Manager requests you do an exit interview, you can offer constructive criticism where necessary. This will help them tweak processes, procedures or tasks for current and future employees. As you did in your resignation interview, try to remain positive when delivering news that might be hard to hear. You can also counter it with something great you learnt in your employ.
Leaving on the right terms not only makes it much easier to ask your employer for a reference and/or a LinkedIn recommendation but increases the chances it will be a positive one. It is an ideal way to have a record of the work you’ve done and the things you’ve achieved at the company.
You might also like to seek out recommendations and contact details from colleagues, clients or suppliers. Consider remaining connected by sending out an update after you’ve left, as these network contacts are one of the most valuable things you can take away from a role.
Need Some Support In Your Job Search?
We understand that even with all of these tips, you may still feel a bit apprehensive about how to hand in your resignation. As an automotive engineering recruitment specialist, we’ve helped many candidates navigate the sometimes-tricky terrain of handing in their notice. If you’d like some extra support to talk it through, please connect with one of our experts.
At the same time, you might like to peruse our extensive selection of exciting Automotive Engineering jobs, whether you're looking to remain in the same area or take up the challenge of a new one in connected cars, e-mobility or autonomous driving.