Resigning from a job it’s one of the toughest things you’ll have to do in your career. It’s a decision that needs to be handled carefully and professionally for many reasons (all of which will be profiled in this article).
Most of my advice to job seekers centers on the broad topic of searching for and securing a new role. But just as it is important to approach your job search with professionalism, it is also critical that you resign from your current role in a manner that is dignified and diplomatic.
You may not think that resigning from a job needs a strategy behind it, but it most assuredly does.
Considering that your resignation will have an impact on your personal brand, you want to think carefully and act mindfully when you resign. Many people fantasize about going out in a blaze of glory; you should avoid this fantasy at all costs.
Going out in a blaze of glory is exactly what this guy did when he resigned from his job of 35 years. I am sure that this was very cathartic for him, and that he savored the words he used to enumerate his list of grievances. But, HR and the CEO took this resignation as an insult.
Our hero here had the advantage of resigning from his job and going straight into retirement, so really, there was little risk involved on his part.
For everyone else, well, you have your personal brand to worry about and to protect. You don’t have the luxury that the gentleman in this article did. You need to enhance your reputation and grow your network.
A side note: If you’re interested in new career opportunities, well, that means it’s time to refresh your resume. A professional resume builder can help you update your existing resume or create a brand new one.
How should you handle resigning from a job?
You should do so with dignity and grace. The first person you tell should be your direct manager, and that conversation should ideally be face-to-face, although in some instances it will have to be done via phone
You simply state that you have enjoyed working with the team, that you’ve learned much, but that you’re moving on to other things. When you’re resigning from a job, you should also give an appropriate notice period, as well as offer to help your manager with a transition plan.
After you verbally inform your manager of your resignation, s/he will contact HR, and will likely request your resignation in writing.
Your written resignation should be succinct, professional, and polite.
Reiterate what you said in the discussion with your manager. Offer to assist with any transition (as much as is feasible), and to reiterate that you have enjoyed your time with the organization and/or team, but that you’re resigning from your job to move on to new opportunities.
What are some frequently asked questions about resigning from a job?
Can I text my boss that I’m resigning from my job?
No. You need to have an actual discussion.
Do I have to tell my current employer where I’m going?
No, you do not need to disclose your next role.
I resigned from my job, and now they want me to sign a bunch of documents. What do I do?
You read them all thoroughly and make sure you understand what you’re signing. If you don’t, ask for clarification from HR.
I have a non-compete agreement, but I have a job offer from a competitor. Can my current employer prevent me from taking this new role?
Probably not, but it’s best to consult an employment law attorney if you have concerns about any restrictive covenants you may have in place.
How much notice should I give?
For most jobs, two weeks’ notice is customary.
Should I connect with all of my soon-to-be-former coworkers on LinkedIn?
Absolutely! You may need to network with some of them (or many of them) down the road in your career.
Although it may be tempting, hold your tongue (or pen, or keyboard!) when resigning from a job — you must aim to leave on the best possible terms.
The old saying about not burning bridges is rooted in wisdom. Your current manager may become your new client, and your direct reports could someday be your peers.
For more information on resigning from a job (with grace and dignity), check out this article.
Also, check out this other LiveCareer article on the topic: Resigning with Class: How to Diplomatically Resign From Your Job.