Resign Professionally
Posted on: September 23rd, 2021

So, you’ve found a new job — congratulations! Now, how do you resign from your current job in the most professional way? And why is that important? Let’s review a few things you need to do to make your resignation reflect the professionalism you have shown throughout your time with your current employer.

Why Resign Professionally?

Remember that resigning professionally from a job is one of the best ways to ensure you will get a good recommendation from your current employer. That could be important for your new job or for future job applications. Take the time to give proper notice and bow out of your job gracefully.

Generally, two weeks’ notice is considered a respectful, standard timeframe for notifying your employer that you are leaving. If you must leave with less notice, your current employer may be left scrambling to fill your position, which could also mean they are less likely to give you a positive review or recommendation in the future. Try to give as much notice as possible. You may wish to check the employee handbook for your employers’ guidelines for resignations. Be sure you are ready to resign, because in some cases, employers may wish to part ways sooner than the two-week timeframe.

Step 1: Write a Letter

One of your first steps will be to draft a resignation letter. Your letter will become the official notification that you are resigning. Drafting the letter may also help you frame your conversation with your manager. Your company culture may accept the letter via email, however, taking the time to draft a letter, proof it and print it can be helpful to you as part of your mental process of resigning.

The letter doesn’t need to contain the reason you are leaving. You may be quitting for personal reasons, which isn’t relevant to your current job. We recommend a simple and general letter. There is no need to leave scorched earth behind you by stating what you didn’t like about your current job or place of employment. Good manners dictate that if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything.

A professional resignation letter avoids making judgments and instead, focuses on details. You will want to add a date of your planned departure and mention any existing projects you’re working on that need handed off to another employee. If you’re unsure what to say in your letter, do an online search for “resignation letter examples.” Many people mention that they are willing to assist with the transition to a replacement. It’s up to you what you want to say, but it is always a best practice to keep it professional.

Step 2: Take Your Letter to Your Manager

Once you have your letter drafted, proofread, and printed, set up a meeting with your manager. Having a conversation about your resignation helps to finalize the details of your resignation.

Some topics you will want to discuss with your boss include your:

  • Departure date
  • Remaining projects
  • Expectations for training your replacement
  • Reasons for leaving, if they are positive, such as career advancement
  • Request for a recommendation letter

Because you may be discussing negotiable details, you may wish to wait to turn in your letter until after you have this conversation with your manager. If you wait, you can finalize the details in your letter to ensure it is true and correct.

Step 3: Tell Others Only After Notifying Management

You may be dying to tell your work friends your news, but your manager should be the first person to learn about your resignation. If you let coworkers know, it will very likely get back to your manager, and that improper notification may be frowned upon. Wait until your resignation is accepted to make your announcement.

Step 4: Complete Your Work

During your remaining time at your current job, be sure to do everything you can to transition out of the position and company positively. This will help ensure that your supervisors will give you recommendations for jobs in the future. Continue to get your work done on time, and work with others to ensure that incomplete projects are handed off with all the information you can possibly provide. This includes cleaning up, transferring, and sharing files, documents, and company property.

Resigning in a professional way will help you leave your job on good terms, which benefits you in the short- and long-term. Take the time to think through your decision to quit, and stay professional throughout the resignation process


After you resign be sure to check out our Getting Hired section.