The Professional Way to Resign

Resigning Gracefully

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You've been offered an exciting new job at a competitive salary and have accepted.  Congratulations! You are ready to begin a new chapter in your career.  However, before you start your new job, it is important to leave your current employer in the most professional way possible.  Giving notice requires sensitivity and tact.  Remember that your leaving will cause problems for your supervisor.  Someone will have to pick up the slack that your absence will create.....most likely it will fall on your supervisor's shoulders.

Resignation Do's & Don'ts

  • Do prepare for the resignation and remove personal property to your home and remove personal files from your computer before you write your letter of resignation.
  • Schedule a meeting with your boss to break the news.  Deflect any curiosity by saying the subject is something you would rather discuss face to face in private.  Bring a typed resignation letter with you.
  • Do give proper notice....two weeks is standard...include this in your resignation letter.
  • Do be straightforward in the meeting.  Discuss the new opportunity in the context of a situation that was too good to pass up. Don't feel you have to go into detail regarding the new position.  Mention how you have enjoyed the opportunity to work for your current employer and how much you have learned from your boss....keep the tone of the conversation positive.  Even though you may have disagreed with your boss at times, there's usually something you learned from the experience.  Despite your personal opinions of your old job or boss, this is not the time to vent them!
  • Do try to be flexible with the standard two weeks notice if you're in the middle of a project and a little extra time is needed to complete a crucial segment of the work.  Recommend other individuals within the department who can take your place.  This type of gesture carries a lot of weight and positions you as someone who wants to make the transition go as smoothly as possible.
  • Don't offer constructive criticism during an exit interview, your background and reference checks may suffer in the future because of your 'honesty'.
  • Once your resignation has been accepted, say "goodbye' and be sincere in expressing appreciation.  Don't criticize the company or co-workers, you don't know who you can trust once you have tendered your job resignation letter. 

The employer you are leaving may try to make you a counteroffer to get you to stay.  It is not a good idea to accept a counteroffer.  Once you give notice, your loyalty to the company will be questioned.  Counteroffers are often used to buy employers time to find a permanent replacement for you.  Accepting a counteroffer will usually wind up coming back to haunt you.  Before you succumb to a tempting counteroffer, consider these universal truths about counteroffers.