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How to Resign Professionally

You got a new job — hooray! 

You’re ready for a new challenge and a new set of coworkers. But after a little celebration, the reality sets in: you have to tell your boss you’re leaving. 

Resigning is nerve-wracking for everyone. Many dread the conversation and put it off until the very last minute or make it extremely awkward. That behavior can put your boss in a tough position and leave a sour taste in people’s mouths. 

The good news is there are ways to resign that don’t put anyone in a bind and leave a positive, lasting impression. Below, I’ll share seven steps you can use to ensure you’re resigning professionally. 

7 Steps for Resigning on a Good Note 

This probably goes without saying, but the number one thing you should not do is quit on the spot. Instead, you should: 

  1. Be 100% ready to leave right away – Most people assume they’ll get two weeks-worth of pay before their last day, but that’s really not a given. Some companies ask people who resign to leave on the spot, so have your next job lined up or be prepared to dip into your emergency fund. 
  1. Wait to tell your coworkers – You’re probably closer to your coworkers than your boss, but that doesn’t mean they should know you’re moving on before your boss does. It is respectful to loop in your boss first to avoid conflict of them finding out through word of mouth. 
  1. Give your boss two weeks’ notice (or more) – Two weeks is the bare minimum notice you need to give, even if you’re a contractor. Doing so gives you time to transfer your knowledge and gives your team a headstart on finding a replacement. You should also offer to train your replacement if they end up hiring someone before you leave. 
  1. Thank your boss – Even if there are hard feelings, your boss likely influenced your career in some way. So make sure to write a nice thank you email (or even better, a hand-written note). You never know when you might work with them again or need a glowing recommendation, so it’s better to err on the side of gratitude. 
  1. Notify HR – As soon as you tell your boss you’re leaving, contact HR and ask them about next steps. You may be asked to write a resignation letter or put your last date of employment in writing. In those documents, be sure to include a note of appreciation. 
  1. Be helpful – This transition can be tough on your boss and your peers, so don’t slack off. Be as helpful and accessible as you can in your last few weeks at work. I promise people will remember your graciousness when it counts. 
  1. Reflect – Before you leave, take stock of what you’ve accomplished and what you want to achieve next. Doing this can prepare you for goal-setting at your next job and level up your commitment. 

Keep It Professional 

Resigning can be sad and scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Following these seven steps will help you close everything out in the best way possible.  

Just like the say goes, “treat others the way you want to be treated.” You really never know when someone might go to bat for you, so it always pays to be professional. 

Are you about to resign and are looking for your next job? Contact one of our expert recruiters at Planet Professional. Our clients are always looking for hard-working, talented professionals, and we are happy to make those connections. 

Best of luck in your new position! 

Photo Credit: Canva

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