Career Development

How to Resign from a Job Professionally

December 17, 2020

The decision to resign from your job means you have found an opening to advance in your career. If you've found a job or organization better suited to your growth as an employee, you'll want to resign from your current job in a polite, positive and diplomatic way. Here are some tips on how to resign from your job and continue to maintain a positive and healthy relationship with your current employer and fellow colleagues.

10 Tips on How to Resign from a Job

Tendering your resignation isn't difficult as long as you follow the right steps and practice the necessary values in leaving gracefully. It involves kindness, respect and gratitude. Leaving your job is an opportunity to remind your current employer how great of an employee you are. This is one of the most important steps in your career and handling it with professionalism and grace is key to building your career. Here are some things to keep in mind as you proceed with your decision to leave your current employer and head off into a new endeavour.

1. Make your decision for the right reasons

When you decide to leave a job, it should be because there is a better opportunity for you on the horizon. Additionally, you want to be able to provide a proper explanation for your departure to maintain your professional reputation. Good reasons to change jobs include higher pay, more room for growth, or even location. Perhaps you found a job closer to home that suits your lifestyle better. Whatever the reason, be sure to think it through and line up your next steps before you make the decision to hand in your resignation.

If you have other motives for leaving your job, you don't have to disclose them to your boss. The best thing to do is put a positive spin on your decision to leave by explaining how important it is for your future success.

2. Give advanced notice

The minimum advanced notice most employers appreciate is two weeks. Though it may not be required, it is proper workplace etiquette to provide at least that much notice. However, you should also make sure to verify your contract beforehand as some of these may stipulate a specific timeframe beyond the standard two weeks, which you must respect. Of course, the longer time an employer has to find a suitable replacement for the position you are leaving, the better.

If you can give your employer three or four weeks of advanced notice, they will very much appreciate it. This will also open the door for your employer to become a good reference for you in the future. Leaving things off on a positive note is essential to building up your reference, and it is likely the last thing they will remember about you.

3. Resign in person

The professional and courteous thing to do is to resign in person rather than email or telephone whenever possible. If you want to maintain a positive relationship with your current employer, be sure to schedule a meeting in advance so you can sit down and talk about your decision face-to-face. This will be greatly appreciated, and they will remember your respectful nature when you cross paths again in the future.

If your supervisor is out of town or you do not reside in the same city, it is understandable that you cannot meet in person. In this case, it's best to set up a video conference so you can still have a face-to-face discussion.

4. Provide a resignation letter in writing

During your in-person resignation, provide your employer with a formal resignation letter. This way, you and your employer will have a record of the date you submitted your resignation. It will be advantageous if you will include these elements in your letter:

  • A statement that you are resigning
  • The date when your resignation would become effective
  • Reason/s as to why you are leaving
  • Gratitude statement on the time spent with the company
  • Signature

If your company has a Human Resources department, you may also submit a copy of this resignation letter to them so that they can add it to their records.

5. Offer to train your replacement

The biggest challenge of losing an employee is finding and training a new one. Show your manager that you really are devoted to keeping the company's organizational workflow moving smoothly even though you will be moving on. Offer to help hire and train your replacement so the work can continue as usual. Your boss will truly appreciate not having to worry about a stall in your team's production because they are confident that you would be passing along your knowledge as well as some procedural tips to your successor. And again, this will be remembered when you ask for a formal reference in the future.

Make a list of all of your most important tasks and take it with you to your resignation meeting. This is a good time to address how you will ensure your replacement is up-to-speed and shows you appreciate the company and all it has given you so far.

6. Focus on the positive

Regardless of why you have decided to leave your current job, focus on positive things, like the benefits of your job change, when communicating your resignation to your boss. For example, you may want to say you are leaving for a job that has more room for growth or is more in line with your career goals. Focus on why this move is what is best for you. This should be unrelated to your negative personal feelings about the staff or your current job if you have any.

Remember, the goal is to walk away from this job professionally. The way you handle this resignation is a reflection of who you are as an employee and as a person. If you want your time with your employer to be remembered in the most positive way, always be respectful and highlight some of the positive points of your job that you will sorely miss.

7. Give an honest reason for your departure

While remaining polite and positive, be sure to be honest as well. If you want to change your career path, work on your own, or conquer new challenges, it's ok to say so. In fact, it is always best to be honest as your professional reputation will depend on how you end things with your current employer. Just remember to maintain proper etiquette despite having the mindset that you would be moving on anytime soon. If the honest reason for your departure isn't easy to address, focus on the positive aspects of your new job instead and how they are important to professional growth and development.

8. Offer constructive feedback

If you faced a particular challenge in the work setting, you can politely direct it to your manager. Remember, keep your feedback as positively relayed as possible and make it constructive rather than negative and hurtful. They will respect your honesty, so long as it's provided with tact and grace. The end goal is always the same: to leave a positive impression. You will need your current employer or your other coworkers to vouch for you at some point in your career, so the more positive professional relationships you can build throughout your career, the better.

9. Let your coworkers know

Once you have announced your departure to your manager, share the news with your colleagues. Leaving without saying your goodbyes and surprising them on your last day of work tells people that you valued your time in the company a little less than they thought you did. Instead, be sure to let them know about your decision and share your gratitude for all the help they provided you during your stay with the company. Let them know how much you appreciated working with them so you can leave things off on a positive note with your team, as well. This is a good opportunity to exchange personal information with anyone you wish to keep in contact with. It's always good to build and maintain positive relationships throughout your career.

10. Thank your supervisor for the opportunity

Even though you have made the decision to leave, your current job served a purpose for you. Express your sincere gratitude to your employer for the opportunities you gained through learning new skills and growing in and with the company. This is particularly important to do if your employer offered you training sessions, promoted you and encouraged your professional growth. You want your employer to know that all of the efforts they put into your professional development were appreciated and respected. Take the time to point out some of the efforts they have put in and describe some of the highlights of your time at the company.


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