How to Resign Without Any Drama

What you need to know to resign from your job gracefully.

Now that you’ve decided it’s time to move on, find out how to resign from the company without burning your bridges. Expert AiRene Tan, an associate director of consumer, healthcare, professional services abd digital at Robert Walters Malaysia, shares simple steps you can take to ensure a peaceful exit.

Before you pass the letter on

If you’re thinking of handing in your resignation, AiRene and the experts from JobStreet both emphasise taking time to weigh a major decision such as this. Whether you decide to stay or leave, self-reflection will serve as a guide to aligning your career with your goals and aspirations. One of the questions to ask yourself is whether you have a clear exit plan for a more successful transition to a new work environment. “During an interview with a potential employer, don’t hesitate to ask about the team you will be working with and the company culture. This will help you determine if the company will be a fit for you,” AiRene advises.

If you’re thinking about leaving your job without securing another job, thoroughly think it through to be sure that you’re not acting on your emotions, because you may have had a terrible day at work or an increase in your workload. An exodus out of the company should also not be the sole reason for you to jump on the bandwagon. As for taking a sabbatical, AiRene recommends drawing up a timeline for this career break and to think about your plans on returning to the workforce – consider keeping your skills up to date or being involved in short-term projects to remain relevant in your area of expertise.

Another thing to do before you hand in your letter is to survey the economy. The experts at JobStreet.com suggest studying the market rate to assess the appropriate compensation for your experience and skills if your earnings happen to not meet your everyday needs.

 What to do with a counter-offer

Once that letter of resignation has been read by your supervisor, only one of two things will happen: he or she will have sit down with you to understand what’s on your mind, process it all, and either let you go or present to you a counter offer.

The latter should be handled with carefully as counter offers tend to go astray, no matter how flattering it may seem initially. Should you accept it, both the experts from JobStreet and AiRene caution that your loyalty will be questioned. “Statistics show that if you accept a counter offer, the probability of you leaving within six months, or being let go within one year, is extremely high,” AiRene stresses.

Another reason to turn down the counter offer is the lack of trust between you and your supervisor, now that you’ve brought up the idea of wanting to leave. You may be passed over for a promotion, and when times get rough, there’s a danger of being one of the first on the chopping block.

What to expect after

One of the most compelling reasons for switching jobs is an increase in salary. AiRene shares, “Professionals in the sales and marketing industry can expect salary increments of 15 to 20 per cent, while those with niche skills can expect their salary to rise by 25 to 30 per cent. Professionals in the technical healthcare industry can expect salary increments of 15 to 25 per cent.”

You’ll have to start from ground zero once you step into a new environment – stay professional and flexible, so you’ll adapt more quickly to the different working styles and personalities.


Once you’ve decided to move on, AiRene suggests planning your exit strategy immediately:

  • Before handing in your resignation, ensure that you have signed the letter of offer with your new employer and passed all medical checks.
  • Fulfill the notice period stated in your employment contract.
  • Maintain your professionalism and positivity by working hard till the last day.
  • Conduct a proper handover of your work projects and assignments to minimise any disruptions after your departure.
  • Discuss with your supervisor and HR department how you can claim your work benefits or clear your annual leave.
  • Be mentally prepared for the exit interview. Keep in touch with everyone of importance, as you never know when or how your paths will cross again.
  • Don’t take anything the company owns.
  • Ask for recommendation letters, especially if you have enjoyed a good working relationship with your supervisors.
This article was first published in Her World Malaysia’s August 2017 issue.