Real talk: Resigning from a job can be awkward. Whether you're leaving your first job or you've said 'goodbye' a handful of times. And no matter why you’re resigning — you can’t get along with your boss, a big salary boost is waiting for you, or anything in between — it’s always best to walk away as professionally as possible. Just in case you need to boomerang back to your old gig.
Can you tell me more about how to resign from a job?
The first step is to decide how you want to do it — in person, via Zoom, over the phone, or email. However you plan to break the news, there are a few ways to prep.
Reach out to your manager
Because no one wants to be caught off guard. Put some time on your manager’s calendar to talk about your plans. And the convo to give your boss a heads-up doesn’t have to be long and awkward. You can also do this even if you plan to make your resignation official in writing. Think: “I just wanted to let you know I plan to leave the company on [DATE] and plan to submit my letter of resignation through email today.”
“Thank you” is a great way to start the meeting. Let your boss know you’re grateful for the time you’ve spent with the company, and anything you might’ve learned while you were there. Bonus points for naming a specific skill you learned in your role.
Consider sharing why you’re leaving
If you’re leaving for career growth, to care for a family member, or to pursue a degree, feel free to share your plans with your boss. But if you’re leaving for a reason that has to do with the company (think: you don’t get along with your boss, you haven’t felt supported during your time there), don’t feel like you have to go into details.
Be transparent about your timeframe
The general rule of thumb is to give at least two weeks notice before you leave a job. Make sure you read the fine print of your employee contract. Because if you're a contract worker, the rules might be different. Because your contract may outline a specific timeframe you’d need to remain with the company– and you could be breaking your contract if you leave earlier than the date your contract ends. In any case, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule — and sometimes waiting two weeks might not be realistic for you. If not, be honest about why you’re leaving so soon.
Help make it a smooth transition
Brainstorm a few things you can do to make the transition as easy as possible for everyone on your team. You don’t have to train your replacement — but offering a helping hand can’t hurt. It can also be tempting to slack off a little on your workload and focus on your new job. But try not to do that. Your last two weeks can be a great time to shine, and setting your co-workers up for success will leave a lasting impression.
What if I’m resigning in person?
When you step into your boss’ office (or log on for a remote one-on-one meeting), here’s how the conversation should start:
Hi [MANAGER NAME], thank you for taking the time to meet with me. I just wanted to let you know that [DATE] will be my last day with the company. I’ve learned so much here and I’ve appreciated all the opportunities I’ve been given, especially when it comes to [SKILL]. But [REASON FOR LEAVING]. My mind is made up, but I do want to thank you again for all the amazing opportunities. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help with the transition.
Heads up: Your boss might want to know more, like more details about your reason for leaving. Or what they can do to convince you to stay. Your move: Hear your boss out. This helps keep the convo respectful. But remember why you chose to leave. And if you’re sure this career move is right for you, follow your gut.
What about a resignation email example?
Here’s a template you can use. Psst…feel free to make tweaks to fit your situation. Your two-week-notice resignation letter should sound something like this:
Dear [MANAGER’S NAME],
I am writing to notify you that I am resigning from my position as [YOUR ROLE] with [YOUR COMPANY]. My last day of employment will be [DATE]. I truly appreciate the opportunities I have been given during my time here, as well as your professional guidance and support. I wish you and the company success in the future. If I can assist with the transition, please do let me know.
And what If I need to resign immediately?
If you can’t give two weeks’ notice that you’re resigning from your job, you’ll need to send an immediate resignation letter after you talk to your manager. Here’s what you can include in your email:
Dear [MANAGER’S NAME],
I regret to inform you that I am resigning from my position here immediately as [YOUR ROLE] for personal reasons. [DATE] will be my last day. I know this is unexpected, but I am happy to assist you in the transition process as you find a replacement for the position. Thank you for the opportunities this company has provided me, and for your understanding in this matter.
Resigning from your job can be nerve-wrecking, no matter how much you prepare. But there are a few simple things you can do to ease the transition and set your company up for success after your departure. Hint: Gratitude and offboarding the right way go a long way.
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