How to Resign From a Job With Grace

Taking on a new role encourages people to look ahead – planning the next months and years of their lives. So with a new job offer in hand, it’s not surprising that some people put little time or effort into making sure they resign from their previous job on a good note, with dignity and grace. Here are our job resignation tips.

Prepare: Think of resignation as you would a job interview. Put time and thought into it. Prepare what you are going to say, in what order, and to whom. You can do serious damage to working relationships if you tell the wrong people first (even in confidence) and somebody influential finds out second-hand.

Be honest: Don’t withhold the truth from your employers and colleagues. Tell them up front that you are leaving.

Be succinct: Whether telling your boss in person or writing, get straight to the point. Explain why you are leaving, but avoid expressing negative feelings.

Be flexible: If you can, negotiate a finishing date that suits your current employer and your new employer.  Cooperate fully in handing over the files, documents, projects and clients you are working with before leaving.

Be aware: If your resignation is coming “out of the blue,” expect a reaction from your employer. Allow time for the reaction to your news. If your manager becomes aggressive, confrontational or upset, don’t respond with similar behavior. Revert to your prepared comments.

Be diplomatic: If you think it is important to express your negative experiences, do it face to face. Don’t do it in writing. Again, use your prepared comments rather than doing this off the cuff.

Be appreciative: Thank your employers for past training and other opportunities. Thank your colleagues for what you have learned from them. Accentuate the positives – find something good to say.

Follow-up in writing: Always send a letter of resignation to confirm – in writing – when you are leaving the organization.

Don’t burn your bridges: You might need to rely on your previous employer for references, advice or even a job! You also never know where people from your current place of work may end up in five or ten years’ time.

Look after number one: Make sure you know what you are entitled to when you leave, such as unused vacation or sick time. Get someone senior in the company to give you a reference.

Keep in touch: Be proactive about keeping in touch with the valuable contacts and friends you have developed in this role.

Dealing with a counteroffer: Resigning from a company you have been with for a long time can be very stressful. Once you decide to accept a new position, make sure you are clear when you resign by stating that your decision is final and that you do not wish to make matters more difficult by receiving a counter offer from your company.

Sample Resignation Letter

(Date)

(Employer)
(Company Name)
(Address)
(City, State, Zip)

Dear (Employer Name):

This letter is to officially notify you of my intention to leave (Company Name) and to offer my two-week notice, with an expected last day of (day and date).

Although I have grown from my experience here, I have determined that it is in the best interest of my career to pursue an opportunity outside of (Company Name). I am confident that this new position represents the best opportunity for me in the continued pursuit of my long-term career goals. I hope that you will respect my position in this matter and the amount of thought and consideration that has gone into this decision, as it is final. I truly appreciate all that I will take with me as I continue to progress professionally, and will reflect on my experience working for you as being very positive.

My focus now is to complete whatever projects I can and to transfer, as smoothly as possible, any work that will continue after my departure.

Sincerely,
(Your Signature)
(Your First and Last Name)