How to Quit a Job: What’s the Best Way to Resign from a Job?

by Cassandra Nguy   ·  2 months ago  

Sometimes in life, you find yourself in a situation where resigning from a job is the best course of action in furthering your career. Maybe you’re leaving a toxic workplace, maybe you’ve been offered your dream job, but no matter why you’re leaving, If you have a positive relationship with your place of employment and want to preserve your relationship with your coworkers and team, you want to resign from your job professionally and on good terms with your boss and colleagues. If you’re wondering how to quit a job professionally, follow these steps to preserve your work relationships and end on a high note.

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How to Quit a Job Professionally: Key Takeaways

  • Leave the company on good terms by providing a proper notice period, not speaking ill of the company, and communicating clearly with your managers
  • Help your teammates by providing training on necessary skills, creating documentation of your tasks, and assigning your responsibilities to other team members
  • Communicate with any vendors and clients you work with directly, and introduce them to their new point of contact within your company
  • Create a paper trail and loop HR into the offboarding process if you fear retaliation from your manager
  • Review your employment contact so you understand any rules and clauses that impact the process of resigning from your position
  • Speak positively of any former team members or managers you want to preserve a relationship with and maintain a professional reputation with

1. Prepare a Proper Reason For Leaving Your Job

The first thing to do before resigning from your job is to prepare a proper reason for leaving your job. Even if you’re leaving because you dislike the company you work for, you can resign professionally by omitting that information and focus on the positives, such as what you learned and how you grew. When it comes to explaining why you want to leave, inform them you’re looking to pursue new opportunities or challenges, highlighting the future rather than the past.

Don’t speak to anyone at work about your plans to leave. It’s possible that people will talk, and it may reach your boss before you can professionally explain to them.

Once you are 100% sure about leaving, practice as if you were practicing for an interview. You want to speak with your boss confidently and comfortably and to prepare for any possible questions they may ask about your leave.

If your leaving is due to receiving a new job, then make sure everything with that new job is finalized and signed.

2. Re-Review Your Employment Contract

When you’re planning to quit your job, you’ll want to re-review your employee handbook or employment contract (if you have one) to learn what requirements the company has for the resignation process. Sometimes, employers have set clauses that require you to give specified timing when leaving the job. Reviewing your employment contract can help you avoid situations where you may have breached the contract without knowing.

Here is a list of things to look out for when reviewing your employment contract:

  • Notice period—Details how long you must give before resigning from your job. Look for how far ahead you must notify your employer, as well. Two weeks’ notice is commonplace, but more involved or higher-up positions may request longer. Failing to do so will penalize you in legal compensation.
  • Non-compete clauses—Some contracts restrict working for competitors for a certain period.
  • Intellectual property—Understand that whatever work you have created or helped in creating is the company’s property. If they specify those creations are theirs, you must comply and may not take any programs, patents, or designs you may have built .
  • Confidentiality agreements—Comprehend the confidentiality outlined in the contract as you may not give company private information to other or third parties.
  • Severance pay—See if you are entitled to severance pay or employee benefits upon leaving.
  • Return company property—-Return any items given to you when working in the company, like uniforms, computers, equipment, etc.
  • Restrictions on future employment—Some clauses show restrictions on being rehired to the same company. Make sure the choice you make is firm if you have such a clause.
  • Penalties for breach—Review the consequences for violations, like financial penalties or legal action.
  • Dispute resolution—Familiarize yourself with the contract and resolve disputes relating to your resignation.

If you reviewed your employment contract and did not see any resignation stipulations or any legal consequences on leaving, you may proceed to create a resignation letter.

3. Create a Proper Resignation Letter

After taking the time to review and understand the scope of your job search your contract, now is the time to create your resignation letter.

Create a formal letter addressed to your boss politely and professionally. Add the planned date you intend to be the last day of your employment, as well as the position you’re resigning from.

State why you are leaving and highlight the positive learning experience you’ve gained when working for the company. You may specify how you enjoyed working for the company and end with a positive note.

Keeping good relations with your boss is foremost since employers may conduct background checks and consult with previous employers, and you may need them to be references. Proofread your resignation letter and make sure your tone and wording are professional and concise.

4. Meet Your Manager Face-to-Face to Notify Them

Now that you’ve completed the groundwork, it’s time to meet your manager face-to-face. Ideally, it’s best to face your manager in person rather than sending an email or text, and is a more professional way of doing so.

If you’re working remotely let your supervisor know you’d wish to speak with them, whether on a call or via Zoom.

Choose a convenient time to meet your manager before telling your coworkers. During the meeting, briefly state why you wish to leave courteously and professionally while expressing your willingness to complete any remaining tasks you have during your stay.

Stay positive and cooperative as you can while handing in your resignation letter. Avoid longer discussions as your manager may want to go into details of your resignation. Discuss how the company has benefited you and prepare for the conversation to be awkward.

What if You’re in a Toxic Work Environment?

If the company you’re in has a toxic work environment, then speaking with your manager in person may not be ideal. You could instead send an email message to your manager and include your HR department in the carbon copy (CC). Including your HR will prove as an official record that you’ve officially resigned and can help mitigate any risk from retaliation.

Adding a third party may also motivate your manager to act appropriately and also enables them to intervene should the situation escalate. Under extreme cases, this email will be proof of your leave in case your manager decides to resort to illicit measures.

Provide a Smooth Transition as You Leave

Now that you have submitted your resignation letter and notified your manager, the next step to leaving a job professionally is to provide a smooth transition as you leave for your new role. Try to resolve as many projects as you can before you leave, train your team members on how to assume your responsibilities, and be cooperative with your colleagues and boss.

Giving Proper Notice

During the few weeks of your time left in the company, tie up some loose ends by giving proper notice to your clients or anyone involved with your projects. Let them know who to notify when you leave the company.

Offer Training as You Leave

Offer training as you leave by training a colleague willing to take on your projects. Delegate tasks to relevant colleagues or create a detailed document for a smoother transition. You may even offer to make yourself available as a paid consultant if employees say they need additional support after you leave the company.

Keep Your Work Interactions Civil

During the remainder of your stay, keep your work interactions civil. Be polite while helping your colleagues. Leave a positive final impression, and don’t boast about your new job, as this may leave a bitter taste in the mouths of your colleagues and boss.

You may keep your colleagues and boss in your network of professional contacts for future job references. You may also see them again in future interactions or work projects. Don’t speak negatively on social media about your boss or colleagues, as this can be damaging to them and possibly yourself.

It’s better to keep all work relationships professional and courteous cause it would more likely benefit you in your professional growth and future endeavors.

Continue To Put In Your Best Effort During Your Final Weeks

During your final weeks with the company, it’s important to maintain a high level of professionalism and dedication, putting forth your best effort until the very end. This not only reflects positively on your work ethic but also ensures a smooth transition for your colleagues and the company as a whole. Stay focused on completing your tasks and projects with the same level of diligence and attention to detail as you have throughout your tenure.

By demonstrating your commitment and dedication until the last day, you leave a lasting impression of reliability and personal integrity, setting a positive example for your colleagues and leaving on a high note.

Be Positive in Your Exit Interview

In an exit interview, it’s crucial to maintain professionalism and honesty while providing constructive feedback. In order to leave your current job more gracefully, this is one of the last hurdles you need to conquer before your exit. Begin by expressing gratitude for the opportunities and experiences gained during your tenure.

Avoid burning bridges or speaking negatively about colleagues or the company; instead, focus on offering suggestions for improvement or highlighting positive aspects of your experience or current role. Provide specific examples to support your points, but remain diplomatic and tactful in your delivery.

Remember that the goal of the exit interview is to provide valuable insights for the company to enhance employee satisfaction and retention, so approach it with a constructive mindset. Finally, ensure confidentiality and respect for sensitive business information, maintaining integrity throughout the process.

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Cassandra Nguy
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Cassandra Tran Nguy is a legal writer living in Los Angeles, California. She graduated cum laude from California State University, Northridge with a B.A. in English Creative Writing and a minor in Marketing. Visit her online profile at