At one point or another, most people have wondered "How to quit my job". I would say in order to do things right, a good place to start would be to make sure you leave in good terms at every step of the way.
Resign Without Burning Bridges
Don't Tell Everyone Else First
Office gossip at the water cooler is a regular occurrence, and not how you want your supervisor to find out that you are leaving.
Don’t tell your coworkers you’re leaving before you inform your boss. Even if you have a friend or confidant in the office, don’t let him or her know you are interviewing for another position, or that you’ve landed a new role. You must ell your boss first. Be sure to go directly to him or her before telling anyone, even your office bestie.
In best-case circumstances this should be done in person, but over the phone or through a video conferencing platform if time and distance require it. An email should be your last resort when resigning from a position, but is acceptable when extenuating circumstances arise.
Plan Your Exit Speech
Your exit speech does not need to be Oscar-worthy, but it should cover all the pertinent information. Also, being prepared to quit your job can help lessen the awkwardness and will give you the ability to steer the conversation.
- State clearly that you are resigning your current position – Start the conversation with a clear indication of the direction it is going.
- Your last date of employment – You and your supervisor need to agree upon your last day. All offices are different, and some may want you to finish out two weeks to wrap up loose ends, while others may want you to leave immediately.
- Why you have decided to resign – Be tactful about your reason for leaving. Don’t share — or dwell on — your reasons for seeking a new position. Don’t try to justify why you are leaving. If you are leaving to escape a toxic work environment, there’s nothing to be gained by pointing that out. If you are unsure how to explain your reasoning nicely, you can say something general, such as your new position has more upward mobility. It’s fine to say that you are leaving to explore new opportunities.
- Resignation Letter - Most Human Resource departments will ask for an official letter of resignation to keep in your file, so go ahead and take the time to write everything out. This will serve double-duty as it will give you a chance to organize your thoughts before telling your boss, and you can make yourself a copy to help walk you through the conversation with your supervisor. You must also email your supervisor a copy of your resignation letter in case the hardcopy you give him or her is misplaced.
- Gratitude and well wishes – Thank your supervisor for the time you had and extend your well wishes for the company and individuals that work there.
Respecting Your Colleagues
Don’t neglect your colleagues. Although the formal resignation letter is for your immediate supervisor, consider writing separate notes to co-workers to let them know you appreciated working with them. Take steps to keep your connections with your current (soon-to-be former) colleagues. Collect personal contact information for valued contacts and assure them their professional calls and inquiries will be welcome in the future.
Be prepared for your supervisor to ask questions. He or She might even make a counteroffer.
You may want to research the data on what happens when an employee accepts a counteroffer. Generally-speaking it may not be a good idea to accept a counteroffer, not matter how tempting. Keep in mind, employees who accept another job offer — even if they ultimately end up staying in their current position — may be perceived as “disloyal.” If you get a counteroffer, know your answers ahead of time. Be sure to research the data on counteroffers. This way, you will both leave the meeting feeling better about your decision.
Leave a good impression behind – Ask for references
Make a good impression all the way to the end. Remember, “Often, the last thing people remember about you is your last days on the job, not your first.” What should you be doing in your last few days and weeks on the job? Whatever your boss wants you to. Have a conversation with your supervisor. What does he or she want you to work on? Will you be training your replacement? Are there any major projects to complete? Can you document processes and procedures in enough detail that someone else could complete the tasks?
Ask your supervisor for a reference — either a letter or a LinkedIn Recommendation. You can also ask what information will be provided in the future when someone contacts the company for information to verify your employment, or for a reference. Some companies have a policy that they only provide dates of employment, and that all reference checks must go through the Human Resources department — so your supervisor may not be able to provide a reference.
Now that you have a plan in place to make your exit follow through with it and finish your time at your current job strong. Use that time to wrap up loose ends and hand-off items and contact information to those that will need them, so that you leave on a good note. You may want to come back or find yourself working for or with that company in the future.
About the Author
Mandy Fard is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW, CMRW) and Recruiter with decades of experience in assisting job seekers, working directly with employers in multiple industries, and writing proven-effective resumes.