Resigning From Your Job? Here’s How To Handle It Professionally

By Larry Dolinko

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resign from your job

Resigning from your job is never easy! From having to break the news to your team to ensuring your successor is set up for success, there are many steps you have to take to ensure your resignation doesn’t have too much of a negative impact. While tying up every loose end requires a lot of thought and attention to detail, it’s important to know the right (and wrong) way to resign from your job.

Whether you are looking for more growth or simply taking advantage of "The Great Resignation" to find something better, the way you resign matters. Here's how to break the news as professionally as possible.

Formally resign

If you want to know how to resign from your job, you first need to understand that giving your formal resignation is critical. While job opportunities might feel plentiful in today’s candidate-driven job market, the most unprofessional thing you can do is walk off the job without telling anyone. Not only is this disrespectful to your employer, but it can damage your industry reputation in the long run.

Tell your supervisor first

When resigning from your job, it’s important to break the news to your supervisor first. And, when you do, this conversation should happen in person and behind closed doors. Gossip can move quickly throughout the office, and you certainly don’t want your director to find out that you are leaving from anyone other than you. 

Give adequate notice

If you aren’t sure how to resign from your job, your natural inclination might be to put it off. But, don’t wait until the last possible minute! Common courtesy suggests that you should give at least two weeks’ notice in order to tie up loose ends and help with the transition plan. Depending on your availability and why you are leaving, you may want to extend this. That is, however, entirely up to you!

Prepare for a counteroffer

If you are a highly valued employee, your supervisor might try to do everything in their power to change your mind. This “peace offering” may come in the form of a counteroffer for higher compensation, a promotion, or more vacation time. While it may be tempting to accept this offer and stick with what you know, it’s important to consider the reason(s) why you decided to leave in the first place. Chances are, a counteroffer will not address your concerns in the long run. 

Read the fine print + don’t poach the company

Review your employment contract and any documents you signed when you were originally hired. There might be vital information pertaining to what you can and cannot do upon leaving the company, so you want to ensure you are honoring that agreement. At the same time, avoid poaching current clients, customers, or former colleagues until you’ve settled into your new role and some time has passed.

Don’t slack off

You should be just as committed to the company in your final days as you were when you were a new hire. To leave at the top of your game, ensure all your files are in order and you are still producing quality work. The goal is to ensure you are making things as easy for your team and your successor as possible.

Be receptive to an exit interview

If you’re given an exit interview, be sure that you are honest about your experience at the organization. Now that you’re on your way out, remember that you could help improve the experience of the coworkers you’re leaving behind. When speaking about your own experience, try to offer solutions as to how the organization could have kept you more satisfied at work. Just be sure to keep it professional and avoid being dramatic.

Say thank you

Show your appreciation for your experience at the company by thanking your colleagues. This act of gratitude will leave your former supervisor, employees, and coworkers feeling good about their interactions with you—making it easier to tap into this network for future job and networking opportunities.

Larry Dolinko is the CEO of The Execu|Search Group, a leading recruitment, contract staffing, and workforce solutions firm. Larry leverages his experience in client management, relationship building, negotiation, and sales to oversee strategic growth for the firm, including business development and employee engagement.

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