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Resignation Tips: How to Quit Your Job Gracefully

Updated: Nov 4, 2022

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Having the courage to leave a job you no longer enjoy is not easy. Even if you're moving onto something better, resigning from your current job can be one of the most challenging things you’ll ever do. No matter your reason for leaving — a toxic environment, lack of growth opportunities, a better offer, or something else — there are likely a few positives you’ll be leaving behind as well.


When resigning from a job, you may receive a counter offer from your employer. However, you don't have to simply accept or decline, negotiating your counter offer is an option you can explore.


Even if you hate your job and can’t wait to see the end of it, we're here to help make sure you resign the right way. You don't want to burn bridges or cause damage to your reputation - you never know where you’ll end up in the coming years or who you might cross paths with!


In this article, we will cover:



How to know when it's time to resign

Before you resign from any job, you’ll want to be completely confident in your decision. This will help you to stand your ground if your manager tries to dissuade you from your choice. If you’ve given the move a lot of thought, you will feel more confident in your choice and will be able to explain your decision calmly.


A good place to start is by being 100% honest with yourself about why you want to leave. Are you leaving for a better pay rate? To work for a better company? To pursue a different career path? Whatever your reasons are for leaving, you need to be firm in your resolve.


If your company has a policy for giving notice, follow it to the letter. Even if you’ve decided that you want to leave tomorrow, you should endeavour to follow the notice period to leave on good terms. This will give your employer the opportunity to plan for your departure and to make a transition as easy as possible. If you give early notice, you’ll be showing your employer that you’re a confident and responsible person and that you respect their time and money. They will be more inclined to be grateful for your service and to treat you with respect.


How to write and submit your resignation letter

To leave on good terms, you’ll want to write a thoughtful resignation letter. This is your opportunity to thank your employer for their support and to let them know that you’re grateful for the opportunity they’ve given you. You may even want to ask them to provide a letter of recommendation for you. Your resignation letter can be short and sweet, but it should be professional and thorough. Your resignation letter is a document to formally provide your notice period and will be kept on the company's HR files. It's important to focus your resignation letter on the positive, and briefly outline the key points. Avoid writing any negative or emotional reasons for leaving.


Here's a few things to keep in mind for writing and submitting your resignation letter:

  • Honour your contractual notice period. This is typically 1-2 weeks for part time and 4-6 weeks for full time positions. Check your contract or ask the HR department for confirmation on this timeframe.

  • Have a face-to-face discussion with your direct manger. In addition to your resignation letter, it’s important for maintaining relationships that you have an in person conversation with your manager. This will build clear understanding and keep things on good terms.

  • Ask for recommendations. Thank your manager personally for their leadership during your time working with them, and ask if they would be willing to write you a recommendation on LinkedIn or be a reference on your resume.

  • Don’t burn bridges. When you resign from a job, it’s easy to get caught up in your emotions. You might feel angry with your manager, resentful towards your co-workers, and ready to leave with your head held high. However, you should try your best to keep your emotions in check. You never know when you might need a reference from one of your supervisors, or when a former colleague might have a connection at your next job that could get you an interview. Your resignation might be a touchy subject, but you should still do your best to keep the door open.


Sending a goodbye email to clients and colleagues

A goodbye email is an excellent way to say goodbye to your colleagues and the company. It gives you an opportunity to wrap things up on a positive note, let them know where you'll be heading, and provide them with your new contact details for the future.


Writing a thoughtful goodbye email is important for maintaining relationships. Expressing gratitude for your time at the company and your feelings towards your colleagues may seem straightforward, but surprisingly, it’s not. You need to hit the right tone — balancing sentimentality with humility and thankfulness.


Here’s some tips to consider when writing your goodbye email:

  • Begin the email by announcing when your last day is.

  • Share what you valued most about working at the company. Keep it short, and use a tone that instills goodwill and positivity.

  • Mention some of your achievements, and thank those who contributed. Talk about a specific project or goal that was meaningful to you.

  • If appropriate, acknowledge others who’ve made your experience at the organisation great - whether it’s an exceptional boss, a supportive colleague, or an outstanding team.

  • Describe what you’ll be doing next. Whatever your next move may be - a new job, back to school, or a break before your next role - summarise your plans in a positive light.

  • Finally, let people know how to keep in touch with you. If you’d like to stay connected, share your contact information and LinkedIn profile.

We recommend sending this note out a week before your last day to give people an opportunity to say goodbye to you in person.


Resignation letter templates

We have put together 3 editable templates to help you with the resignation process.

Template #1 - Informal Resignation Letter

Template #2 - Formal Resignation Letter

Template #3 - Goodbye Email


You can download them for free here:

Summary

With these tips in mind, you can be prepared for whatever situation you might encounter when it comes to resigning. Remember: even though this choice may feel difficult now, it could be the best decision you’ve ever made if you’re doing what’s best for you!


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