How to Resign Without Burning Bridges

how to resign

Let’s face it, resigning is awkward, and no one really likes doing it. There’s no single way to resign that’s perfect for everyone. However, there are several guidelines that’ll make the process as smooth as possible without jeopardizing business relationships.

If you need to quit your job and move on to another opportunity but aren’t sure how to go about it, keep reading! We’ll show you how to resign with confidence while preserving the business relationships you’ve developed.


I Quit! Your Guide on How to Resign the Right Way

Planning how to resign from a job might seem a little intimidating at first. After all, you’ve put a lot of time and effort into your current position, and if it’s not working out, it can be scary to know exactly what to do.

But it doesn’t have to be. We’ve outlined the steps that’ll take you from confused to confident. Let’s get started!

career advice

1. Think it Through: Is the Timing Right?

First, make sure and think through your decision to quit your job thoroughly before making a final call. Regret is an awful place to live. You’ll want clarity that leads to absolute certainty.

Here are a few questions that’ll get your thinking process started down the right path:

  • What’s the reason you’re making this decision?

  • Is resigning the best answer? Is there another option to alleviate your issue?

  • Will leaving this job help my professional career goals in the long run?

  • Will leaving make me happy or more stressed?

  • Will quitting your job cause a loss of income? If so, can you afford that?

notice periods

2. Formulate Your Reasoning

Next, formulate a response describing why you’re leaving your current job. Having a thorough understanding of the reasons why you want to go will prepare you for what to say during the resignation meeting with your employer. You’ll feel more confident and comfortable when you have the actual discussion.

If helpful, write it down and refer to it before your meeting.

last few weeks

3. Don’t Jump the Gun: Sign Before You Resign

Never give your resignation notice, nor speak of your intentions to resign before you have a signed contract for your new position. After all, things could fall through.

This is especially true for positions that entail a lengthy interview process. You may think you have a job lined up but hold off on resigning until you’ve secured your next job. Unless you have savings to rely on, having no income coming in will make matters worse.

Also, before moving forward, check for any non-compete clauses in your current employment contract that could affect getting your next job.

co workers

4. Give Your Resignation Notice

Now that you’ve done your prep work let’s move on to the nitty-gritty details of how to resign, starting with a verbal notice.

The Notice Period: How Long of a Notice Should You Give?

When figuring out how much notice to give, the first thing to do is check your employment contract. Is there a clause stating the notice period requirements? If so, it’ll say how many weeks’ notice to give.

If you are under contract with your current employer, this should be part of it. Most contracts state that you must give a minimum of two weeks’ notice. That said, offer plenty of advanced notice.

A two-week notice period is standard practice, but if you have more time, give it. You don’t want your boss left scrambling to find a replacement at the last minute. The more notice, the better.

Setup a Face-to-Face Meeting with Your Manager

When resigning from a job, it’s essential to verbally tell your manager that you’re quitting before giving the official resignation letter. Do so in person and with tact. And whatever you do, don’t tell colleagues about your intentions before telling your boss.

When you’re ready, set up an appointment with your manager to discuss your resignation. Before the meeting, go over your notes from step two above so they’re fresh in your mind. You should also prepare your resignation letter before the meeting.

Here are some tips for a successful resignation meeting:

Always Resign in Person

Email or phone resignations can come across as cold and unprofessional. If you can’t go in person, arrange a video call instead.

Stay On-Point and Remain Calm

It’s tempting to ramble on or offer too many details when we’re nervous. But, during your meeting, stay calm while talking clearly and concisely. Keep your resignation future-focused.

For Now, Keep Problems to Yourself

If you have problems or frustrations you’d like to discuss, now is not the time to bring them up. Wait until your exit interview to discuss your issues with the company or coworkers.

However, if asked, go ahead and give constructive feedback.

End on a Positive Note

When resigning from a job, ending on a positive note while remaining professional and courteous is essential. Thank your manager for the opportunity of working at the company. Also, express your appreciation for the other employees you’ve had the chance to work with.

Maintain Positive Relationships

When resigning, it’s important to maintain good working relationships with your former employer and colleagues. You may need a reference or recommendation when looking for another job in the future.

Having a good relationship with your superior means a better chance of getting a positive reference or recommendation when you need one. Likewise, many employers ask for personal references during the application process. A previous coworker makes a great reference!

How to Handle Counteroffers

If you receive a counteroffer during the meeting or anytime afterwards, weigh your options. Before accepting, ensure that it addresses the reasons you want to resign in the first place.

Increased pay is tempting. But, given enough time, staying in a problematic work environment won’t compensate for the increase.

Is it worth starting a new job search a year down the road and losing the new position you’ve lined up? If you’re working in a professional field, turning down the new job offer might damage your credibility too.

Write an Official Resignation Letter

The last step in the process is formalizing your resignation with a well-written resignation letter. This letter should include the date, your name, and the position you are resigning from. It’s also important to state the reason for your resignation.

You should say thank you for the opportunity to work for the company and express optimism for their future. Finally, include your contact information so the company can stay in touch with you.

Give it to your manager at the end of your meeting.

face to face

5. After You’ve Given Your Notice

Now that you’ve completed all of the official resignation steps, here are a few tips we have for you in your final weeks.

Maintain a Professional Attitude

Once you’ve given your official resignation, keep working as you’ve always done. Don’t slack off knowing that you’re leaving soon. You’re still an employee and should act accordingly.

After all, as we said before, it’s essential that you leave a final good impression. Be helpful in other ways, too, including:

  • Ensure a smooth transition by training your replacement.

  • Stay positive and don’t bad-mouth the company. Instead, focus on career growth and the skills you’ve acquired there.

  • Think of others and how your leaving affects them.

Your Exit Interview

An exit interview is a meeting between an employee who is leaving a company and their manager or supervisor. A final interview allows the employee to give feedback on their time at the company and discuss their future plans.

Employers often collect information about why an employee is leaving as well. This helps improve the organization’s retention rates going forward.

Employees typically have a notice period of two weeks or more before they leave their job. This gives ample time for scheduling the exit interview with their manager. In some cases, the employer will have the employee complete an exit questionnaire instead of having a one-on-one meeting.

Check-in With Human Resources

As the last step, check in with HR in your final week to tie up any loose ends. Make sure that there are no administrative tasks to complete and that your last paycheck is in order. Return any company property and finalize any outstanding benefits such as paid annual leave.


Don’t make the mistake of quitting your job without the proper notice period and resignation etiquette. Keep those bridges to your future intact.

Because you’ve resigned in the right way, you’re more likely to enjoy your final days at your current job. You’ll also have someone willing to give you a good reference going forward.

Leave your employer with a good impression and ensure you are on good terms. Who knows, your coworkers might even throw you a going away party. Good luck!

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