Important Things to Know Before You Hand in Your Notice

Written by Calvin Bowers
Last updated September 10, 2020

If you are changing your career, the chances are you will have to leave one job before you can start on a new career path. Resigning and handing in your notice can feel like an awkward and difficult process, but it doesn’t need to be. Nevertheless, there are some important things to know before handing in your notice.

We have gathered some tips and reminders to make this part of refreshing a career much easier:

Have Something Else Lined Up

Before you hand your notice in it’s a good idea to have your next step ready. This way you won’t need to worry about having an income gap or having a long period out of work. If you are choosing to hand in your notice to go on and retrain, then make sure you have already applied for your part-time study, apprenticeship, or university course and confirmed your place.

Know Your Notice Period

This is a really important part of leaving a job. Your notice period may only be a few weeks, or it could be up to three months, so make sure you are able to finish all your current work commitments before starting somewhere else. It can also be useful to know your notice period so you can work out the most suitable time to leave. For example, if your notice period is a month you may not want to leave at the end of November as this would leave you unemployed around Christmas.

Your notice period will depend upon how long you have worked there. If you are changing your career in your 50s from a role you have been in for a long time, you should expect a longer notice period. You can find out your notice period by checking your employment contract.

What to Include in Your Resignation Letter

Before writing a letter, check whether this is necessary. Your employment contract will tell you whether you need to give a written resignation, otherwise, you can just do it verbally.

Keep your letter short and professional and make sure you include all the important information, such as your full name, address, the official date of resignation and when your final day of work will be. You do not need to provide a long explanation as to why you are leaving in this letter as it is just a formality. Instead, choose to talk to your employer in person to have that conversation. They may be interested to hear why you are changing careers, and what they could do to support this transition for other employees in the future.


When you hand in your notice, you will be paid up until the day you leave. You should be paid as usual, including sick pay, holidays, time off, and maternity or paternity leave. Alternatively, employers can ask you to leave immediately when you hand in your notice and will simply pay you the amount you would have earned up until you left in one go. This is known as ‘payment-in-lieu’.

If the reason you are leaving a job is that you have been made redundant, visit our page on Redundancy Assistance.

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Last Updated: Sunday April 16 2023
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