Throughout your career, it is almost certain that you will outgrow your job, find a better opportunity, or experience a personal event that will require you to leave your company. Regardless of the circumstances, leaving a job is never easy.
There are many unknowns that add to the anxiety of an already tough decision. What if your notice causes your manager to become upset? Does your desire to leave make you seem ungrateful for the opportunity given to you? Will you ever be able to work there in the future? What will happen to the relationships with your friends and colleagues?
Even though these thoughts can make you uneasy, it is important not to let your emotions get the best of you. Remember, you are not the first person to resign from a job, and you certainly won’t be the last.
If you elect to take a page out of “Office Space”, drop off your laptop, and throw out a peace (or other) sign on your way out, that is the story you are choosing to tell and it will overshadow all others. To ensure you don’t burn any bridges, here are a few tips on how to professionally resign from a job.
Ending on a good note will keep your reputation in good standing, especially if your new employer is calling your current employer for a reference
1. Don’t Tell Your Peers Before Telling Your Manager
The rumor mill is never a good place to be. Keeping your resignation private until you’ve had a chance to formally tell your boss is the most respected way to leave a company.
2. Resign Face-to-Face
Quitting by leaving a note on a manager’s desk, sending a text, or communicating via email comes off as entitled and disrespectful. There is a level of personal integrity that goes into delivering important news in-person, and the most respectful way to leave a job is face-to-face.
Have a verbal conversation with your manager. Letters and other communication channels lack tone of voice, and you want to be sure your message is heard all the way down to the inflections and tone you are trying to communicate.
3. Give at Least a Two-Week Notice in Written Letter Form
Documentation is key even when resigning. Professionalism counts.
When you do speak with your supervisor or manager, it is important to provide a written letter of resignation addressed to them at the end of the conversation.
The minimum amount of notice that is considered professional when resigning from a role is two weeks. Providing an employer with a three to four-week notice allows your employer time to find a replacement, but you are certainly not required to stay until they find one.
Resignation Letter Sample:
Having a written document prepared at the time you do speak to your manager can make the conversation flow a bit better. However, it’s not always clear what information you should put in your letter, nor what the correct format should be.
Fortunately, a letter of resignation does not have to be this elaborate document with verbose language.
A simple example letter is below:
- Date: X-X-XXXX
- To Whom It May Concern: Leader’s Name
- I’m writing to let you know that I’m resigning from my position as TITLE at COMPANY NAME. My last day will be on DATE.
- I did not take this decision lightly. COMPANY NAME has done great things for my career and development. I greatly appreciate the amount of time you invested in my professional growth and all the opportunities I was given.
- If needed I am more than happy to assist with training my colleagues or new hires to take on my responsibilities. I wish you and COMPANY NAME all the best.
- Your Signature
- Your Typed Name
A letter following this format will be received much better than an email with the following in-line image:
4. Finish Strong
Keep your productivity strong during your resignation. Ending on a good note will keep your reputation in good standing, especially if your new employer is calling your current employer for a reference.
5. Assist With Any Training Needed
Using your last two weeks to assist in training helps your team find new day-to-day processes for when you leave. It shows you care about your professional legacy as well as the future success of your former team.
6. Express Gratitude to Your Mentors
Thank your peers and leadership on your last day. Take a moment to express your gratitude.
7. Do Not Speak Poorly of the Company, Team or Managers
Publicly blasting your former employer, team, or manager is not wise when quitting. Once something is on the internet, it is there forever, and you never know how your emotionally-charged words will impact someone, and you certainly can’t predict how those words will be read (or by whom) in the future.
Leaving a position is hard for everyone, but doing so is a very normal part of the working world. Yes, some feathers can be ruffled by your decision and news will travel fast. How you handle your exit is key to keeping the professional reputation you’ve worked so hard to build up intact.
Your goal when exiting a role should always be to professionally leave and not put a foul taste in anyone’s mouth. When in doubt, put yourself in the position of those who will be impacted by your departure, and what you would expect professionally if you were in their shoes.