Unless you're moving from one location to another, you've probably started job searching either because you're looking to move on in your career or because of company issues such as lack of opportunity/recognition, poor remuneration, unsupportive manager, "negative" work culture.
Depending on your motivations for moving, you'll either know that resigning is the right thing to do or you'll be unsure and have mixed emotions about it. Whatever your reason, the resignation process should be straightforward. Talk to your manager, explain the situation, confirm your resignation in writing and work out your notice period.
Currently however, with our low unemployment rate and exodus of Kiwis on their delayed OEs or to overseas jobs, employers are having to compete for skills and finding it difficult to hire and/or keep staff. This means there’s a high probability that when you hand in your notice, the company will do everything it can to keep you and you'll receive a counter offer. Basically, whatever it was that sent you job searching, they'll try to rectify or change to encourage you to stay.
Whilst everybody’s different in their motivators for leaving, I’d recommend you ask yourself these questions before you even start the resignation process:
What prompted me to look for a new job?
Would I stay here if I was offered more money/career progression/different team/new manager?
Am I excited about my new job - is it what I really want to do? If it’s not, then why have I accepted?
Am I taking this role because of external pressure e.g family thinks it’s a great career move?
Do I feel bad letting down my current manager/team?
Once you've answered those questions and are ready to resign, are you prepared for a counter-offer conversation and how will you respond? Here's three scenarios and what to consider for each.
You’re resigning. No conversation needed. It's the right move and you're excited about your new job. You may be able to avoid the awkwardness of a potential counter offer conversation if you politely but firmly make it clear that your resignation is not about the company but about you/your career/your family/your lifestyle. If you're convinced that leaving is absolutely the right thing to do, then give them reasons that they won't be able to counter offer.
You’re tempted by the offer but are unsure whether to accept Ask your manager for some time to think about it, re-ask yourself the questions about reasons for leaving and then look at what’s on offer. Are you really getting what you want and will it actually happen? Promises and words are easily given, but are they backed-up in writing and confirmed? And why's it's taken your resignation for these changes to be offered or made? Will your company value you going forward as much as your potential new employer?
You want to accept because it’s easier to stay or you like what’s being offered Ask yourself all the same questions in (2) above and then re-ask yourself about your motivation for resigning. If you really believe you'll get what you want and things will change, that's great, but one last thing to consider is that having shown you weren't happy by finding another job, your employer may now question your loyalty and commitment compared to other employees. It may take time for you to re-build that trust. If you do decide to accept, there's one final thing to consider. Research has shown that of those people who do accept a counter-offer, a large percentage usually start looking for a new job again within 6 months - and that's why being clear about why you looked in the first place is so important
Resigning is never an easy thing to do, whatever stage you're at in your career. Most of us want to ensure we treat both our existing and potential employers fairly and make the right decisions. Current market conditions are making that a little harder, but asking yourself a number of questions and confirming in your mind what’s right for you and your career, should make the process easier for everyone concerned.