The Right Way to Resign

October 28, 2020


Resigning from a job can be tricky at any time, but even more so today, with so many people working virtually. However, should you find a new job, decide to start a business, move away, or leave for personal reasons, the following steps will enable you to resign with dignity and grace.

  • If you’ve accepted a new job, wait until you have a contract/signed offer letter and a start date before resigning.
  • Write a resignation letter. In it:

    • Thank your boss for their help and guidance. Even if you dislike your job (or your boss!) stay positive. Don’t burn bridges.


  • Give the standard two-weeks’ notice and include the date of your final day at work. If you’re in the middle of a huge project, you may wish to give extra notice.
  • Decide what details to reveal in the letter about your decision to leave. It’s your call.
  • Arrange to meet with the boss before you tell coworkers. You never want him or her to find out through the grapevine. If you’re both working at the office, an in-person meeting is essential. If not, schedule a time to talk via video app or over the phone. Only resign via email as a last resort.
  • During the meeting:

    • Tell the boss that you’re leaving. If asked why, you can say you’ve accepted a new job or for personal reasons. If you wish, tell him or her what organization you’re moving to.
    • At a face-to-face meeting, hand the boss your resignation letter. At a virtual one, send it via email. Think about how you’ll respond should the boss make you a counteroffer.
    • Thank your manager for everything he or she has done for you and arrange to stay in touch. If you’re parting on good terms, ask for a reference.
    • Explain how you plan to transfer your responsibilities to team members until your replacement is found.
  • Meet with HR to discuss details about vacation or sick pay, health insurance, your 401K, your last paycheck, etc.
  • Now you can tell colleagues your news. Get contact information from friends and mentors. Plan to network with them for career advice.
  • Tell co-workers where your projects stand. Delete any personal emails and files on your computer. If working from the office, clean your workspace. Update your social media profiles.
  • Work hard until your last day and keep your attitude positive.Negativity can and will harm your future prospects.

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