At some point in your career, you may decide to resign from a role. Whether you’re leaving your job because you’ve accepted an opportunity with another employer, you’re moving out of town, you’re choosing to become self-employed or other reasons, deciding how to quit your job can be challenging.
To help you tactfully resign, here are several tips on how to quit a job.
Make sure you’re ready to quit your job
Taking time to thoughtfully consider why, when and how you should leave your job can ensure you make the best possible decision, find new opportunities and leave your current role gracefully.
Even if you’re feeling frustrated, take time to carefully weigh the pros and cons of leaving your role. If you’re feeling unfulfilled by your responsibilities or overwhelmed by your workload, consider discussing it with your direct supervisor to determine if they can help alleviate the problem.
If you’re actively looking for another opportunity, it may be best to wait until you’ve officially accepted another job offer before you resign from your current position. Otherwise, you may face an unplanned gap in employment that could affect your finances, insurance coverage and other benefits.
Once you’ve decided you’re ready to resign, be sure to keep the conversation polite and professional. Employers recognize that sometimes employees want to pursue new ventures, and by acting professionally, you can stay on good terms and maintain a relationship that may lead to future opportunities.
Give at least two weeks notice
Two weeks notice is the standard length of time to give an employer before you leave. However, if you’ve signed an employment contract, make sure you’re honoring any rules around length of notice.
Depending on your availability, you may be willing to stay longer than the typical two-week period — especially if your new job doesn’t start for several weeks or you’re transitioning to self-employment. Regardless of the length of notice you provide, be sure to let your employer know as soon as possible and include this information in your letter of resignation.
Share gratitude for the opportunity
In some cases, a job may be more to you than simply a method of earning money. Depending on how long you’ve been with an organization, you may have developed strong bonds with your co-workers and leaders, developed new skills, worked your way up to a high-level position, taken on greater responsibilities and grown as a professional. Your experiences from your current job likely helped you earn your new opportunity, so it’s important to show your gratitude.
Take time to personally thank co-workers and leaders with whom you’ve worked closely. Not only is this proper etiquette, but it can also help you grow your network. You never know when you may be in a position to help a former colleague find a new opportunity and vice versa.
Give feedback on why you’re leaving
While you’re not required to share your reason for leaving a job, it can be helpful for your supervisor and other leadership personnel to understand. The best way to do this is through a conversation with your HR manager. In some cases, an HR representative may schedule an exit interview to ask you about your experience with the company and what prompted your decision to leave as well as feedback on company policies, culture and benefits.
Prepare what you’ll say in this meeting beforehand so that you can give constructive feedback. Remember, the goal is to maintain positive relationships with former employers so you’ll want to be honest yet professional.
Even if your HR team doesn’t schedule an exit interview, consider reaching out to a member of the team to discuss any feedback you have and your reasons for leaving. If your choice to leave stems from concerns with specific personnel, HR can work to address the issue.
Schedule a meeting before submitting a letter of resignation
Instead of emailing your resignation to your boss or letting them find out about your departure from HR, consider scheduling a one-on-one meeting. Depending on your relationship with your supervisor, this could be an excellent opportunity to thank them for the opportunities they’ve provided you and collaborate on a plan for wrapping up final projects before you leave.
While scheduling a face-to-face meeting is good etiquette, keep in mind that it’s not required. If you don’t have a positive relationship with your supervisor or you’re concerned about how they’ll react, you may want to talk to the HR department first.
No matter how you inform your colleagues, be sure to write up, print and sign an official letter of resignation. Most organizations require this document as part of the exit process, so having this complete will make for a smoother experience.
What should you do during your notice period?
After you’ve informed your employer of the resignation, you’ll likely have two weeks (or more) left in your role before you officially leave. During this time, you’ll want to complete standing projects and work with your supervisor to determine who should take over any work you won’t be able to complete in your notice period.
Document your day-to-day efforts, where you’ve saved important files, how to use various pieces of equipment and other information crucial to your position. This will ensure whoever replaces you will experience a smooth transition.
If you are leaving your current employer for a position with a competitor, be prepared that you may be asked to return your equipment and leave the same day you provide your notice. This is a standard practice in place to prevent employees from sharing any company data with a competitor.
How to quit your job in five steps
To recap the above information, here are five steps to help you quit a job with professionalism and tact.
1. Make the decision
Whether you’ve received an official offer from another employer, begin the process to become self-employed or have other plans in place, once you’ve decided to quit your job, it’s time to strategize your exit.
2. Decide on a notice period
Review your employment contract or employee handbook to determine whether there are any stipulations around notice period. Otherwise, opt for a two-week notice or longer, if you have the availability.
3. Write a letter of resignation
Write a brief resignation letter. Be sure to include the following:
- A statement that you’re resigning
- Date on which your resignation is effective
- Why you are leaving (Optional)
- Thank you (Optional)
4. Meet with your HR representative and/or supervisor
Schedule a meeting with your HR representative and your direct supervisor to deliver your resignation. Remember to remain calm, professional and courteous.
5. Wrap up and transition work
Spend your notice period completing assignments and transitioning unfinished work to whoever will cover your duties until your employer hires a replacement. Depending on the length of your notice period, your employer may ask for your assistance in interviewing candidates and training your replacement.
Nearly everyone decides to leave a job at some point in their professional career. By taking the time to prepare ahead of time, crafting your letter of resignation and planning out your final days or weeks with the company, you can ensure a friendly departure and a smooth transition for everyone involved.