In today’s workplace, you may have to move to another company to achieve your career goals. This can be stressful, but is a good time to strengthen relationships with your coworkers and current employers. If you handle your resignation with grace and professionalism, you can improve your reputation and personal network, both of which can be helpful in achieving your long-term goals.
The following tips will help you resign with respect and help avoid accidentally burning any bridges as you transition to a new company.
Give Adequate Notice
One of the best ways to be respectful when resigning is giving plenty of notice that you are moving on. Two weeks’ notice is the minimum amount any employee should give. However, if you are in a crucial role on your team or in the middle of an important project, consider giving more notice than just two weeks to avoid leaving your team in the lurch. Your title and responsibilities dictate how long that should be—senior-level managers and executives typically offer several months’ notice to ease the transition.
Give Notice In-Person First
The respectful way to resign is to arrange a meeting with your immediate supervisors and communicate your plans. Do not do this via email, phone, or text. Begin the meeting by telling them that you intend to resign and when you intend to be your last day. Stay positive, professional, and constructive in anything you say during this meeting. If needed, offer further explanation, but be gracious: “I received a job offer I cannot refuse” or “I am seeking new opportunities” are acceptable options.
Your supervisors may have questions for you about your resignation, so be prepared to have a discussion about it. In rare instances, employers choose to not have the employee continue their tenure for the duration of their notice.
Put it in Writing
In addition to giving notice face-to-face, offer your superiors a written letter explaining that you have chosen to resign and when your last day will be. Be polite and respectful in this letter, as copies may make their way up the ladder. Use a paragraph to express your gratitude for the opportunity you have been given by working with your current employer. Print copies of the letter and give them to your supervisors. You may do this at the end of your meeting, or after the meeting if any negotiations were to occur to keep you.
Counter-Offers are a Possibility
Before you resign, you should be prepared to receive a counter-offer, but do not assume you will. Whether you accept any counter-offer should depend on why you are considering leaving the company. If you have been unhappy in your job or if you see no clear advancement for you within the company, it is best to respectfully decline. If you are planning to leave solely over a salary issue, you may choose to consider their counter-offer, but be aware that counter-offers are often just a way to keep an employee on until a replacement can be found.
When you conduct your exit interview, focus on being positive and appreciative. Take time beforehand to think of the memorable experiences you have had with the company or the positive lessons you have learned while working there, and use those reflections during your discussion. If you have any constructive criticisms, you can share them, but remember to offer realistic solutions to any critique you bring up. Don’t mention issues just to mention them as it makes you sound negative. Emphasize how appreciative you are for the opportunities you have had.
Use your last days as an opportunity to express your appreciation for your managers and coworkers. Hand-written thank you notes are always a great way to tell someone you are grateful for the time you’ve spent together. If you are feeling particularly generous, you could give small gifts to your coworkers or host a lunch for your department.
If you are ready to take the next step towards reaching your career goals, check out our job boards or make an appointment to talk with one of our recruiters today.