How to Resign from Your Job Without Burning Bridges

January 17, 2019 Pete Newsome Pete Newsome

When deciding how to resign from your job, there are a variety of ways to do so. You could approach it in a short-sighted manner, which may lead to a damaged reputation and no chance for a good reference, or you can depart with class; leaving the relationships you honed during your time at the company intact.

When deciding how to resign from a job in person, there are different things to consider:

  • How much time do you give your existing employer?
  • How do you know what to say when you resign? And
  • Do you want to have the option of working for your current employer again in the future?

As a professional recruiting and staffing agency, we work with a variety of small and large employers across nearly every industry. Over the years, we’ve seen positive and negative examples of ways to resign from a job. Here are a few recommendations for how to resign from your job gracefully:

5 Professional Ways to Resign from a Job That Make a Positive Impression

How to Resign from Your Job — Tip #1: Make a Plan

Much like other big decisions in life, it’s essential to have a plan in place for how to resign from your job professionally. You have many things to accomplish before walking out the door for the final time. Such a plan can include (but not be limited to) the following considerations:

  1. Confirm that your new job is 100% certain. Don’t quit until you have final confirmation from your new employer concerning when you will start your new position. You don’t want to tell your boss that you’re leaving, only to discover that your new employer reneged on their job offer at the last minute.
  2. Know exactly who you are going to tell about the new position (and in what order). There’s no such thing as a secret in the workplace. Much like other juicy office gossip, news about employees quitting or being fired travels like wildfire among employees. In short, don’t let your boss be the last to hear the news about your new job — tell them first.
  3. Write and collect letters of recommendation for/from colleagues and management. Part of leaving a job on a good note is soliciting letters of recommendation for your coworkers and managers. Equally as important is writing letters for them as well.

How to Resign from Your Job — Tip #2: Provide As Much Notice as Possible

Taking a new job and telling your existing employer that you won’t be coming into work the next day is not only unprofessional, but it shows a lack of respect. When leaving a position, it is customary for most jobs to provide two weeks’ notice; however, some industries and higher-level jobs may require more lead time.

For example, if you are a high-ranking employee within your organization, it may take additional time to extricate yourself — requiring two or three months’ advance notice. If you’re planning to retire, you may want to provide ample notice. This allows your existing company to have the time they need to take appropriate measures to ensure that no work suffers until they can hire or promote your replacement.

Finally, consider allowing your manager to take the lead concerning what to say when you resign when informing your colleagues. They may have a crucial reason to hold off on telling other employees about the change.

How to Resign from Your Job — Tip #3: Assist in the Handoff of Your Existing Duties

A professional courtesy we always recommend to candidates who are transitioning jobs is to make the process as easy as possible for their current employer. A few ways to resign from a job that will leave a positive impact include:

  • Training your temporary replacement on some of your duties;
  • Creating a guide or reference document for any helpful information (such as a full list of your responsibilities that may not have been included in your original job description, or a list of all client accounts for which you are responsible); and
  • Offering to answer questions by phone or email for a brief period after you have left.

In addition to showing your character, it also may land you references and help strengthen your relationships with your supervisor.

How to Resign from Your Job — Tip #4: Don’t Get Lazy at the End

Keep working hard right to the very end — don’t become complacent or lazy in the last few days. If you’ve always been a hard worker, it will reflect poorly on you if you suddenly stop putting forth the same level of effort you demonstrated throughout your time at the company.

How to Resign from Your Job — Tip #5: Recommend a Replacement

While this may not always be possible, another idea for how to resign from your job while making a positive impression is to recommend a colleague or someone in your professional network who may be an ideal replacement. Pointing your existing employer toward someone who has the applicable knowledge or experience to perform your role can help them save time and money when hiring your replacement.

We hope that you find these tips useful and informative as you prepare to transition to your new position. Learn more tips on how to compose a resignation letter here. 4 Corner Resources (4CR) continually ranks among the top Orlando staffing agencies. Our team is also nationally renowned and places candidates with clients around the United States.

Contact us today to start a discussion if you are looking for a new career or are hiring a replacement for a vacant position within your organization.


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