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How to hand in your notice and manage the pre-departure period

You’ve secured your dream job, you’re on cloud nine and you’re eager to hand in your notice. Life’s good! However, life goes on for your current employer, so it’s important to handle your departure in a professional and considerate manner. So, how should you hand in your notice?

Resignation letter

First and foremost, you need to resign; you should do this once you’ve signed the contract for your new position. When drafting a formal letter of resignation, my tip is to keep the letter simple and to the point – no elaborate explanation is needed.

Who to tell first

Next, arrange a suitable time to deliver the message to your boss; your boss should be the first person you notify. The last thing you want is your colleagues and/or boss finding out before you’ve had the chance to tell them yourself.

Thank you, but no thank you

The meeting may prove difficult, especially if the firm you’re leaving has taken the time and money to invest in your training and development. The conservation that follows can be a tricky one to navigate; feelings of guilt may rise to the surface and your employer might make promises, such as offering you more money. The best way to deal with this conversation is to remain professional and calm and to say thank you for all the help, exposure and training, but to reaffirm your decision.

Ultimately, your current employer can offer you a number of things, but it’s crucial to reflect on why you started the job search in the first place. In reality, those who accept counteroffers are back on the market within 6-12 months of handing in their initial resignation. So remember: thank you, but no thank you.

What next?

Once the above conversation is out of the way, it’s time to work your notice, which in the legal profession tends to be three months. In most firms nothing much will change - you’ll be expected to carry on in the same vein.

However, for some people it's a difficult and testing time: some employers will make the remaining time difficult. If this is the case, view the short time left as a means to an end: to ultimately better yourself in a new environment that affords you a greater opportunity.

Can a legal recruiter help me prepare?

The legal recruitment process doesn’t stop at securing your dream job. A good legal recruiter should help you at every stage, including the preparation involved in order to hand in your notice. If you’d like further advice on this topic, don’t hesitate to contact me.   


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