Congratulations! You’ve made it through the interview process, received an offer and have accepted it enthusiastically! Now comes the part many job seekers dread: submitting your resignation to your current employer. In the US, two weeks’ notice is customary, but the resignation period can be longer (30 days or more) in other parts of the world. Here are some tips on how to resign gracefully:
Prepare a Resignation Letter
A written resignation letter should always accompany your verbal two weeks’ notice. In your letter, include the following:
- The date of the letter
- A statement that you are formally submitting your resignation on the appropriate date.
- A sentence or two demonstrating gratitude for your time with the employer
- An offer to assist with the transition, particularly if you are working on a project that will not be complete before you leave
- Your signature
You do not need to provide details about your next move. In fact, you may wish to keep these details quiet to lessen the likelihood of a compelling counteroffer. This is also not the time to air grievances or bad-mouth coworkers, your boss, or the company.
Deliver the Letter with Your Verbal Resignation
Ask your boss for a brief meeting and simply state that you have accepted a new role and are tendering your resignation. Deliver the letter at the same time. You may wish to do this at the end of the day to allow some time for your boss to absorb the news.
Practice Your Resignation in Advance
Most of us haven’t had much training in how to have difficult conversations. Resigning from a job is difficult and can include a lot of emotions on both sides. Practice in advance so that you can comfortably state the news without excessive emotion. Assume you are going to receive a counteroffer. Be prepared to refuse the counteroffer in a firm but polite manner. Good candidates are exceedingly hard to find in the current market. Your employer is almost certainly going to make you an offer to entice you to stay. This is why you may want to avoid sharing a lot of detail about your plans.
Avoid Gossip and Office Politics
While you are working out your two weeks’ notice, avoid participating in any gossip or office politics. Your goal is to deliver quality work and ensure a smooth transition. Do not burn any bridges. Make sure to create good documentation and a detailed summary you can leave behind for your boss or other colleagues who may have to pick up some slack when you leave. Accept that you may have some responsibilities removed right away as the rest of team begins working on a replacement strategy.
Be Prepared to Leave Immediately
Review your employee handbook before you resign and make sure you are following any defined protocols. Remember that resignations can be emotionally charged on both sides. It’s possible you will be asked to leave immediately and not return. You may not have any control over this, but it’s best to be prepared mentally. Remove personal effects in advance if you can. Be ready to turn in all keys, badges, devices, and other company-owned materials at the time of your resignation. If this happens, try not to take it personally. It may be a security policy that was put in place to avoid angry outbursts.
Remain Positive About Your Decision
Resigning is difficult, but remember all the reasons why you are ready to move on and all the things that are exciting about your new opportunity. You have taken a new role because it is in your best interests. It is not a reflection of whether you like or dislike your boss or employer. Submit your two weeks’ notice gracefully, work hard for your remaining time, and move on to your new role confidently.