You're moving on to bigger and better things -- and this time, that means moving to a new place. Part of the process of moving forward is taking a little bit of time to look back, and to make sure you give your employer the respect he deserves by turning in a proper resignation. While there is no standard time frame for giving your notice, some unwritten rules of etiquette do come into play.
Handbook or Contract
First, check your employee handbook or employment contract to determine whether there are any in-house rules regarding the amount of notice you are supposed to give before you leave your job. If your employer has stated a certain time frame, follow it or you may risk burning bridges or losing perks of the job.
If your employer has not specifically stated anything, the standard time frame for your resignation is two to four weeks. Typically, if the job is in a professional realm in which it takes a long time to find and hire qualified candidates, err on the four-weeks side. If your job is so complicated that you'll need to train the new hire, give even more time. For entry-level jobs or jobs in retail or service that don't require a lot of nuanced training, two weeks should be plenty of time. In any case though, be prepared for the occasional furious boss who may ask you to leave the second you let him know you're moving.
As there is no real right and wrong time when to give notice -- there's also no right or wrong in how you give that notice. Traditionally though, the first step is to tell your direct supervisor that you plan to leave, and then give him a general time frame. The sooner the better -- the supervisor is going to want to have plenty of time to start looking for his new hire. There's no real need to let the boss in on the details of your resignation, though if you're in good standing, you may just give him a heads up that you're leaving because you're moving. This may paint you in a better light than if the boss thought you just up and quit for no good reason.
Also part of the process is the written resignation, which serves as proof that you've given notice of your leaving. Draft a letter with today's date, and then start off the letter by thanking the current employer for the chance to work with him. Then state the specific date you will leave the company, and bring up any other details that need to be discussed, such as your suggestions for training the new person and the address of your new house, if you know it. It's totally up to you whether you decide to do the verbal or written notice first -- some people opt to to them at the same time.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.