At times, the best career move is to move on from your current job. When quitting is the next step on your career ladder, there’s a professional way to handle that situation—a resignation letter.
However, there’s more to it than just writing “I quit” on a sticky note and leaving it on your boss’s desk. In fact, how you quit a job can have as much impact on your career than how you interviewed for the position.
There are typical protocols for resigning that help prevent you from burning bridges on your way out. After all, you never know how your path might cross with ex-bosses and colleagues in the future.
For example, you might need a recommendation letter from one of your former supervisors—you might even end up working with them again at a different company. So how can you ensure that you quit on favorable terms?
Quit with Etiquette
To keep your positive image intact during and after your resignation, follow the proper etiquette for resigning from a job. Etiquette is more than merely a set of conventional rules for a particular situation or just good manners. Etiquette mean acting in a considerate and respectful manner with others; in this case, your boss and your company.
Although some companies or industries might have slightly different expectations, there is a widely accepted “right way” to quit a job.
Here are the commonly accepted steps to take when resigning:
- Give Proper Notice in Advance
The amount of notice can vary depending on a number of factors including whether you pre-agreed to a specific notice period with your employer, when you need to start your next job or what is common practice for your industry, your role, or your managerial level. If you don’t have a specific notice period, two weeks is generally considered to be the appropriate amount of time to wrap up loose ends and assist with transition.
Even if you provide a notice period, be ready if your employer asks you to leave immediately rather than allowing you to work out your notice.
- Resign in Person
Although a resignation letter is a standard when quitting a job, if possible, you should also try to speak with` your supervisor in person to announce your resignation. And don’t just spring the news on them as you pass each other in the hallway.
Schedule an appointment to meet together in private so that you can have a conversation away from other eyes and ears. Doing this lets your boss control how the news of your resignation is announced to the rest of the company.
If you work remotely, resigning in person might not be possible. A video call or phone call with your supervisor is an acceptable alternative.
- Remain Positive and Professional
During your conversation with your boss—and in your resignation letter—remaining positive and professional is essential. Staying positive can be challenging if you’ve had a negative experience in your job or if your boss becomes upset at the news of your quitting.
Try to keep your conversation short and to the point. State that you are resigning and when your last day will be.
If your boss asks you why you’re quitting, avoid saying anything negative about your job, your colleagues, or the company—even if the bad things are real. Instead, offer vague reasons, like:
- “This is the right move for me right now.”
- “I’m pursuing a different opportunity.”
Before leaving the meeting, hand deliver your resignation letter. If you’re talking to your boss over long-distance, send your letter after your conversation.
- Write and Deliver a Resignation Letter
A resignation letter is the generally accepted and professional method of notifying your employer that you are leaving. Keep the letter simple and to the point. You don’t need to elaborate on the reasons you are leaving but if you do, make sure you’re positive in how you present yourself. Keep in mind that you may need colleagues for networking in the future and you may need your employer to provide a reference. So, don’t burn your bridges. The method of delivery of the letter should be either in person or via mail. But, you can also attach the letter to an email sent to the appropriate person in your human resources department (copying your manager) .
When writing your letter, be sure to include the following:
- The correct heading with
- Your contact info
- The date you’re delivering the letter
- The recipient’s contact info
- The date of your last day
- A “thank you” for the opportunities and experience you gained
- An assurance that you’ll do what you can to ensure a smooth transition
Make sure to use proper resignation letter format. Look at the sample resignation letter template to get started.
Resignation Letter Example
[Your city, state, zip code]
[Your phone number]
[Name of recipient]
[City, State, Zip Code]
Dear [name of recipient],
Please accept this letter as notification of my resignation from my position as a [your job title] with [name of company]. My last day will be [date].
I appreciate the professional and personal development opportunities I have gained while working at [name of company], and want to thank you for your support and guidance.
Please let me know how I can assist with any transition matters.
I wish [name of company] continued success for the future.
Written by Jessica L. Mendes.
Please note: The article in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only and may or may address or be appropriate for your specific situation, and therefore should not be used as a substitute for legal, human resources, or other professional advice.