Career Development

Q&A: How Much Notice Should I Give When Leaving a Job?

November 23, 2020

When exiting a company, it is standard to provide your supervisor with a letter of resignation. When you submit your letter with a reasonable notice period, you show respect by allowing your supervisor enough time to organize workflow and tasks prior to your departure. In this article, we discuss what a notice period is and how you can determine the appropriate length of time to give your resignation notice.

What is a notice period?

A notice period is the length of time you will continue working between delivering your resignation letter until your final day of work. Notice periods are typically two weeks or longer. However, you can determine the needed length of your notice period by considering variables like the state of your current projects and the schedule of your coworkers.

Easily apply to jobs with an Indeed Resume

Why give a notice period?

Recruitment can be a lengthy process, particularly in specialized fields. Consider the length of your company’s hiring process when you decide the length of notice you will give. Human resource departments will need to process your notice of resignation, create a job description to replace your position and get approval for a recruitment budget. This process often goes through several interdepartmental checkpoints before the application opens. All of this takes time. In addition to being respectful of the company’s time, here are several reasons to provide a notice period:

1. To maintain a positive relationship with your workplace

Whether you are in a position for a few months or a few years, it’s beneficial to leave on positive terms. When you apply for future positions, you may need recommendations or referrals from your current employer. Providing a considerate notice may increase your former employer’s likelihood to speak positively about your time with the company. 

2. So your company can organize your replacement and continue its workflow

Providing your employer with a notice period will enable any teams you have worked with to plan for your absence. You will give them enough time to organize for your replacement or any gaps in the workflow. 

3. You may have agreed to a contract or terms and conditions

You may have signed a contract or agreed to terms of employment at the start of your position. The terms and conditions of employment often state a notice period of resignation.

Sometimes companies decide to reorganize their business structure after your notice. They may have found that your job duties can be arranged to suit several positions. 

Related: How to Quit a Job 

How to determine the length of your notice period

There are many variables to consider when you determine the length of your notice. Use these to guide your decision:

1. Did you sign a contract at the beginning of your employment?

If you signed a contract, it may include details about your resignation period. When planning your resignation, it may be beneficial to check your employment contract first and use it as a guide before planning your next steps.

2. How long have you been in your position or worked for the company?

It’s common courtesy to give at least one week's notice to your employer if you’ve been with your company for more than one month but less than two years. 

Consider giving two weeks' notice even if you’ve only been with your company for a few months. This allows time for your employer to get organized to replace your position. Give at least a two weeks' notice if you’ve been with your company for more than two years. 

It’s not uncommon to give a month’s notice period if you know that the hiring process for your company is lengthy.

Two Weeks Notice Letter Format
Image description

Two Weeks Notice Letter Format
1. Start by including the recipient's company and address (name optional)
2. State your resignation with the date of your last day
3. Add a statement of gratitude
4. Wrap-up with next steps
5. Close with your signature

3. Do you have time off already booked, or do coworkers in your department have time off booked?

If you have vacation time already booked, it’s considerate to let your employer know that you won’t be continuing to work for them after your vacation. Be mindful, it’s up to your employer to decide whether to honor your leave. 

4. Are you in a position where you work closely with other colleagues to complete projects?

Consider how much time you should give your employer if you know some of your coworkers are taking vacation time or parental leave soon. If several people are out of the office at the same time, there will be gaps in the workflow and projects may miss their deadlines. 

5. Are you in the middle of completing a large project for your company?

The length of the notice period you give also depends on your outstanding work. Consider how long it will take to train and pass off any unfinished work to a colleague or new employee. You may be working on a big project and, in some cases, possess unique knowledge or skills the project requires. 

6. Are you resigning from your job around the end of the financial year?

Many businesses operate around the fiscal calendar to determine when to wrap up projects and set new goals for the following year. If you’re considering giving your notice of resignation, factor in the financial year calendar.

7. Why are you resigning, and what are your career goals?

Consider whether you are resigning because of another job you’ve already secured, to branch out as a contractor or to take some time off work. Your career goals can help you determine the length of your notice period. 

8. Do your terms and conditions of employment state a notice period requirement?

Determine whether your position description during the application process had a notice period in the job application or in any paperwork you signed to begin your employment. Make sure you review anything you agreed to on paper before notifying your employer of your resignation. 

How to communicate your notice of resignation

To communicate your resignation in a professional manner, ask for a meeting to submit a formal letter addressed to your supervisor. Businesses may keep your resignation letter in their files to use for their own HR documentation and if you need references in the future.

For resignation letters, follow these best practices to compile a professional letter:

  1. Keep the letter short.

  2. State why you’re leaving and when your last day of business will be.

  3. List only positive reasons for leaving. You’ll want to continue a positive relationship with your employer after you move on. 

  4. Thank your employer for your time with the company and offer to help with any transitions. 

Read more: How to Explain your Reasons for Leaving a Job

Resignation Letter Format
Image description

Resignation Letter Format

Resignation Letter Format
1. Date
2. Address line
3. Statement of resignation
4. Last day of work
5. Statement of gratitude
6. Next steps
7. Closing and signature

Sample of a resignation letter:

[Supervisor Name]
[Place of Business]
[Business Address]

[Date]

Dear [Supervisor Name],

I am writing to inform you of my intent to resign from my position at [Business Name] as the [position] effective [last day of work]. Thank you for the opportunity to work with the [business department]. I have enjoyed my time working with this team and progressing in [industry]. I have learned and grown professionally in my time here.

I am happy to help in the transition process or training of anyone who will fill my position between now and [final day of work].

Thank you for understanding my decision to leave the company to pursue [reason for leaving]. I wish you all the best for future continued success.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]