How to Resign with Professionalism


Your job search efforts have finally paid off! Congratulations! You received a fantastic new job offer for a great company. You are looking forward to the new challenges, responsibility, and work/life balance. But, there’s just one catch. You have to submit notice to your current employer. They may be surprised, or not. You are just not sure how they are going to react to your news.

The truth is, you are not alone. Many individuals admit they are nervous about submitting their resignation for a variety of reasons. It could be an emotional goodbye, guilt about work left behind, or concern that their manager will react angrily. However, in order to take the next step, this is an important necessary action. And, more importantly, how you resign and how you conduct yourself during the notice period may influence your career reputation long-term. Therefore, it is important to manage your career transition with professionalism.

Here are some key pointers:

Provide your resignation to your manager in person, if possible.
Your manager should be the first person you tell (other than your significant other). It is optimal to meet with your manager in person to submit your notice. However, if that is not possible, phone is the second best. Whether in person or on the phone, follow up with a signed letter.

Your manager may or may not be surprised. And remember, good managers are happy to see their employees advance. Be sure to thank your manager for the opportunities provided that opened the door for your career move.

Always provide the correct amount of notice as required by company policy.
Even if you are miserable in your job, the last thing you should do is leave without appropriate notice. Two weeks is considered standard. There are other circumstances where you may feel compelled to provide a longer notice period. Do so with caution. You do not want to create a situation where you are being taken advantage of and potentially giving your new employer a negative impression.

Never accept a counteroffer.
Counteroffers are rarely a good idea. In many instances, the circumstances that lead you to making the decision to leave still exist. Further research shows that more than sixty percent of those who accept a counteroffer are gone in six months still leave within six months. If you do decide to stay, ensure that your concerns are addressed satisfactorily.

Understand your former and current company’s policies regarding non-disclosures and non-compete agreements.
Many companies are proprietary about their people, processes and information. Once you resign, you may have to leave the workplace immediately. Or your new company may ask you not to consult for your former employer.

Thank your manager and coworkers.
You may have had an awful work experience and the relationship with your coworkers was lukewarm at best. However, the world is smaller than you realize. In the future, you may encounter them at conferences and networking groups. You may also wind up working for the same employer down the line. Therefore, be cordial and maintain professionalism.

The exit interview is a business formality.
Remember, this is not a therapy session. When human resources asks why you are leaving, remain upbeat and positive. Advise that you are leaving for a better opportunity. Talk about what you enjoyed about the company and your job.

Do not share personal details about your new position.
Your coworkers may try to assess your salary or other personal information. But sharing this type of information with anyone is never a good practice. Instead, share information on an aspect of the role you are looking forward to, the shorter commute, or a shift in responsibility that challenges you.

Lastly, focus on your new opportunity.
You are starting new and it will be exciting, and perhaps a bit stressful at first while on the learning curve. Give yourself the time and focus needed to settle into the role.

– Wishing you continued success!

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