How To Resign From Your Job in 10 Steps

Updated July 29, 2022

At some point during your career, you will likely need to resign from your position. The reasons you have for resigning may vary, but you'll always want to leave in a professional manner. Ending your tenure on a positive note can also lead to great networking opportunities for future endeavors. In this article, we provide a detailed list of steps of how to resign from a job and provide a list of helpful tips to so professionally.

Related: 13 Steps for Finding a New Job

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Why would you resign from a job?

You might decide to resign for a number of reasons, from inadequate working conditions to low pay. It's appropriate to move on from your current position as long as you do it calmly and professionally. Consider if your reasons are worth leaving the position or if resolutions are possible. Present your case to either human resources or your direct manager and determine if changes are acceptable.

Related: 12 Tips for Finding a New Job While Still Employed

How to resign from a job

The following steps outline how to professionally resign from your position:

  1. Confirm and finalize details with your new employer.

  2. Make a transition plan for your team.

  3. Write a formal resignation letter.

  4. Tell your manager before anyone else.

  5. Resign with your letter in person.

  6. Provide adequate notice.

  7. Pack away personal items from your workspace.

  8. Prepare for an exit interview.

  9. Ask for a reference.

  10. Keep in touch.

1. Confirm and finalize details with your new employer

If you're leaving your current position for a better one, ensure all details are finalized. Make sure you have successfully responded to an offer letter and have a scheduled start date. Doing so prevents any gaps in employment and guarantees that the new job awaits you after stepping down from your current one.

2. Make a transition plan for your team

Prior to your leave, create a plan of transitioning your responsibilities to other teammates. Draft a list of objectives, and determine which ones each team member takes. Provide helpful advice if some duties include complex directions or software that others are untrained on. Your manager may have their own plan in mind, but offering your own better prepares them and the team as a whole for your absence.

3. Write a formal resignation letter

Before you leave, write a brief letter explaining how grateful you are for the opportunity. Include the specific date of your last day on the job and keep the tone of your message professional and calm. If you wrote a transition plan, attach it to the letter as well and explain its intent.

4. Tell your manager before anyone else

Your manager deserves to be the first to know so that they can make arrangements for your departure as necessary. Schedule a time to meet with them in private to offer your letter and explain your situation. Telling your manager first also provides an opportunity to pitch your transition plan and make your manager's job easier.

5. Resign with your letter in person

Rather than sending an email, it's more professional to present your letter and your plan in-person. As mentioned in the previous step, schedule a private meeting with your manager and give yourself enough time to present your items and discuss your last day of work. If your manager asks why you're leaving, provide a brief and honest answer. Your manager may also provide a counteroffer that's better than the new job.

6. Provide adequate notice

Be sure your letter provides your employer with adequate notice of your departure. The generally accepted amount of time is two weeks prior to your departure, however, some roles may require even more time due to the nature of individual duties. Take this into consideration before applying to a new position.

7. Pack away personal items from your workspace

After notifying both your manager and your coworkers of your departure, begin packing personal items from your desk, locker or other primary workspace or storage area. Informing others first avoids confusion among team members once they notice you packing. Check all desk drawers and other storage spaces such as a break room to ensure you get everything you own.

8. Prepare for an exit interview

Some jobs require an exit interview as part of the departure process. Exit interviews are either conducted by your direct manager or a member of the human resources team. Treat it like a normal interview by dressing nicely and preparing answers in advance. During an exit interview, you'll be asked about your time at the company and how it could be better. Keep your answers professional, and focus on the most positive aspects of the position.

9. Ask for a reference

During your final days on the job, ask your managers or colleagues about them being references. If you're ending relationships on a positive note, individuals within your current position may accept your offer of being a reference. Ask politely and open the conversation with how grateful you are for the experience of working with them. Having a direct manager as a reference is a valuable asset to any job application, especially if it's accompanied by a letter of recommendation.

10. Keep in touch

Even if you are unable to get references, keep in touch with all of your colleagues. Continue networking with individuals after your departure as they may become valuable contacts later. You might want to work for the same company again, and having your previous manager vouch for you is a great way of earning your place back. Additionally, as your coworkers grow within their careers, they may have the ability to offer you better opportunities.

Related: 6 Musts for a Resignation Letter: What to Include in Your Resignation Letter (Plus Tips and Example)

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Tips for resigning

Study the following list of tips for the next time you resign from a position:

Schedule your meeting as soon as possible

Schedule your resignation meeting as soon as you have a start date with your new employer. Letting management know early better prepares them and your other coworkers for your transition. Early notice grants them more time to implement new plans and puts the team in a better position overall.

Express gratitude to all those you work with

Even if you mention it in your letter, express to your manager in person how grateful you are for the opportunity. A statement of gratitude generally holds more meaning when spoken directly to the person rather than if they read it from an email or written letter. Express the same with coworkers as well.

Identify pending tasks

Along with your transition plan, there may be priority items on your objective list that you must complete soon. If this is true in your case, address them both within your plan and in person to your manager. If you believe any complications may arise with work due to your departure, do what you can to let affected parties know and guide them toward a viable solution.

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