Are you thinking of quitting your job? There are several ways to resign. While all of them will have the desired effect of a departure from your employer, they don’t all represent best practice or leaving on good terms without compromising your professionalism or reputation. Maintaining a positive connection with your boss and co-workers after resigning is critical to safeguarding your professional reputation. Here’s how to leave your job gracefully — without alienating your bosses or co-workers. Follow our best practice tips for a smooth, graceful resignation and transition to a new job.
These 15 tips should make your bridges fire-resistant with people at your soon-to-be-former employer and enhance your chances of receiving a favourable recommendation down the line.
- Ensure you’re on solid ground.
Finding a wonderful new job, as well as quitting one you don’t like, is certainly a reason for celebration. Unfortunately, far too many candidates leave before receiving a confirmed offer in writing from their new company. There are many reasons you shouldn’t do this, but the most important one is that you’re essentially going to make yourself redundant from your present position, so you need to be very certain that the position you’re quitting for exists. This implies a formal offer that spells out all of your compensation and perks, as well as a definite start date and a copy of the contract you’re required to sign. Never quit if you haven’t received a written offer.
- Inform your boss first.
You want to deliver the news to your boss, not someone else in the office. If you’re worried about resigning, don’t share your worries with your co-workers. You lose control of the situation if your employer learns the news first from someone else. Rumours among your co-workers might offer your supervisor false information about your reasons for leaving. Instead, speak with only your boss and explain your departure.
- Give at least a two-week notice period.
It’s important to work the full notice outlined in your contract unless your employer asks you to go sooner. This is customary job-exit etiquette and legally binding. Sometimes, the employee doesn’t have a contract or has a very short notice period—one week, for example—so an employee offering two weeks will ensure the employer isn’t scurrying to find someone to replace them. Tell your boss while you’re talking to him or her about your proposed last day. If at all feasible, attempt to comply with your boss’s request to stay on until they find a successor. It’s important to maintain a good relationship with your employer as you may need them for a reference in the future.
- Maintain a low profile.
Don’t annoy your co-workers by boasting about your fantastic new job. By controlling the reasons for your departure, you go on good terms. Don’t claim you’re moving on to something bigger and better. Instead, your employer and co-workers should feel as though the situation is not personal to them or the job. Be subtle about leaving. When quitting a job, try to be as modest as possible. If you’re looking for a job, don’t inform your co-workers until the deed is done, or browse for jobs while you’re at work. Initial interviews should be scheduled during your lunch period or non-working hours. It’s also better to contact recruiters rather than publicly posting your CV so that your co-workers aren’t aware you’re looking.
- Don’t criticise anyone or anything.
Show civility before leaving the business, regardless of your sentiments. Avoiding putting anybody under the bus is the most crucial aspect of a good job exit. Don’t play the blame game, even if you’re not departing on good terms. You don’t want to jeopardise your career by disparaging former co-workers or supervisors. When resigning, you could say something along the lines of, “The last x years have been fantastic. You’ve taught me a great deal. But it’s time to move on to the next step and learn something new. Thank you very much for all your help. You’ve been fantastic.”
- Stay committed to your responsibilities.
Remember that you are responsible for your job until the day you walk out the door. Complete – or pass on – any accounts or tasks you’ve been assigned to make the transfer easier. Keep in mind that you may need to utilise your previous bosses as references later in your career.
- Continue to follow the rules of the office.
You worked hard to cultivate your professional profile, so make a good impression on your employer and co-workers when you’re resigning. Maintain a polite demeanour and remember to express gratitude to your employers for the chance. Describe how the position has aided your professional development. Even if your boss doesn’t respond well to your departure, have a good attitude and let any negative comments slide off your back. They’re probably aware that they’re losing a valuable employee, and they may be resentful of your new position.
- Go over the employee handbook.
Make an appointment to examine the employee handbook with a representative from your company’s HR department. Know your rights when it comes to perks and reimbursement for unused sick or holiday days. Determine how to transfer funds if you have retirement plans via your employer.
- Get your files in order.
Make it simple for your co-workers to locate resources so that they can effortlessly shift your task without you. Make a spreadsheet with a list of all open work projects and accounts. After you depart, provide colleagues and supervisors access to any files they may require. To leave your employment on good terms, you must work as part of a team until the very last day.
- Make sure your successor is well-prepared.
Your present employer has been paying your salary for the entire time you’ve worked there. You owe it to the firm to entrust your position to capable hands. Offer to train your successor or provide contact information for colleagues to reach you after your last day to go on good terms.
- Don’t take something that isn’t your own.
This should go without saying. This covers office supplies and work materials that were not created by you. On your last day at work, turn in your keys and ID, and clean out your desk of any personal items. If your supervisor does not provide you with a professional reference after you depart, we advise you to wait before asking for one. Once your employer gets over you leaving and can see your time with him or her in a favourable perspective, you are more likely to obtain a good recommendation if you wait a few months before calling or emailing your former supervisor to reiterate how much you loved working there and to inquire about the potential of a future reference.
- Provide constructive feedback.
Your manager, as well as HR potentially, will be curious as to why you’re leaving and what input you have for them. Give them productive feedback that will benefit them in the future and be as polite as possible. You might tell them, for example, that the pay isn’t high enough for the level you think you’re at or that you don’t get enough performance reviews from your bosses. Give honest criticism, but don’t be harsh.
- Write a resignation letter and choose the best time.
Never resign by email as it’s really poor form. While resignation is unavoidably a formal procedure, it is best conducted in person. It’s much better practice to offer your employer a proper letter of resignation when it comes to quitting a job. Your resignation letter should state that you are resigning and the date of your final day of work, as well as express gratitude to your employer. It’s also a good idea to mention that you’re prepared to train your successor or assist in any manner you can to ensure a seamless transition. Remember, even if you despise your job, you must always be polite while resigning in the best interests of your career.
The importance of timing cannot be overstated. One moment to perform the deed is at the end of the day. Your employer is unlikely to be able to say they need to go to a meeting, for example. We highly urge that the resignation be done in a quiet, private location.
- Inform your co-workers and clients.
After you’ve submitted your resignation letter, ask your employer whether it’s okay if you tell your co-workers and clients that you’re leaving. Then, add your contact information, such as your personal email and LinkedIn profile, in an email to your co-workers and clients. Make it clear that you’d like to stay in touch. You never know when something like this could come in handy later in your career.
Moving jobs is normal. The vast majority of people change jobs in their career, so there’s no reason to be concerned about the process. In order to move on to a new job, you have to quit your current one. It’s a fact of life. Gone are the days of one-job careers. It’s highly unlikely, but if your boss is embittered by the news, then that’s not on you. If you’re looking to move on to a new chapter – take a look at our current opportunities.