7 Tips To Resigning Professionally


I’ve been in the position a few times in my life where I’ve needed to resign from a job because I had been sought out and offered a higher ranking and / or higher paying position somewhere else. But, how do you resign from a job and keep from burning your bridges?

Most companies ask their employees to give a two week resignation notice, but not all of them. I worked for a company years ago that asked for a four week resignation notice. This is a bit excessive and I haven’t heard of a request like this since. Then, there are the companies that ask the individual to leave as soon as they give their resignation notice, no matter what time frame the employee offers. My husband’s company is like this, and this is usually to cover the company especially when the employee has access to sensitive information or has the potential to financially damage the company through fraudulent sales, for example. While an employee is not usually perceived as someone who would maliciously harm a company, some companies have this policy to protect their best interests.

While you aren’t required by law to give a notice to an employer that you are quitting before the day you leave, it is a professional gesture. Here are a few things to keep in mind when resigning:

1. Requirement of Resignation Period. Read your employee handbook / contract to see if you are required to give a notice to receive certain payouts when you leave. While it is the law that you receive any money due to you for wages, some companies require a resignation of a certain timeframe to receive additional payouts (although not common).

2. Resignation Letter. Write a letter of resignation and state that you are thankful for the time you’ve had at the company and the help you’ve received in your professional career (if you are comfortable doing so) and the date of your last day of work (this is typically 2 weeks).

3. Resign In Person. When possible, give your resignation notice to your direct supervisor or HR Director in person and explain your reasons as thoroughly as you feel comfortable.

4. Be Considerate. Don’t act too anxious to get out of there. Your new job is waiting and you’re now considered a ‘short-timer’, but keep your cool and don’t act like you can’t wait for your last day.

5. Pass Off Responsibilities. Go through all of your responsibilities, tasks, and projects and ensure all information you have to the person or persons who will be handling those items once you are gone. Giving as much information to others about what you did in your role will help you get better recommendations, and a possibility of going back in the future if you need to.

6. Keep It Positive. Don’t ever talk negative about your time with the company, about your boss, about the company, or about your co workers, even in the exit interview. You may meet the people you are working with down the road in one capacity or another and you’ll want to keep their respect and have them think of you in a positive way.

7. Professionalism. Remain professional with everyone. Don’t go telling off that horrible coworker who annoys you because he doesn’t pull his weight or has some extremely annoying habits. This isn’t professional and it will paint you in a bad light in the eyes of others in the company, not to mention that you can still be written up until you are no longer an employee.

Most companies, the good one’s anyway, will be happy for you if you’ve found another opportunity that meets your needs better than they can. And most companies prefer at least a two week resignation notice so they can work on hiring someone to take your place and/or to give you and them time to transfer your responsibilities to someone else.

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