Q&A: What Does "Resign" Mean and How Does It Work?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated May 24, 2021 | Published December 12, 2019

Updated May 24, 2021

Published December 12, 2019

Related: How To Quit a Job: Leaving on Good Terms

In this video, we analyze the resignation process from start to finish, providing key tips at each stage. You'll learn strategies for providing verbal notice to your employer, composing a resignation letter and preparing coworkers for your departure.

If you are thinking about leaving your job, an alternative way approach is to say that you’re resigning. There can be many reasons why you might choose to resign, and you have several options when it comes to announcing your resignation. You’ll want to give as much notice as a professional courtesy to your organization so you can keep a professional relationship with them in case you need a reference for employment at another company. In this article, we define what it means to resign, the reasons behind it and the different options in choosing how to resign from your current job.

What does resign mean?

Resigning means you’re voluntarily leaving your job. When you resign, you give up all of the responsibilities associated with your job and also lose your benefits, including your salary. Also, you’ll need to give verbal notice to your manager and submit a written notice for human resources to have documentation of your departure. It’s important to give this career decision a lot of consideration before proceeding as you’ll want to ensure that you’re changing your career path and goals for the right reasons.

Related: How To Quit a Job

Reasons to resign from your current job

There are a variety of reasons why you may decide to resign. It can be difficult as there are considerations to the circumstances in which you’re experiencing. Overall, your choice to resign from your job should ultimately benefit you. Before you resign, consider all of your options carefully. 

Here are a few reasons you may need to resign:

Taking a new job

Your new job could offer a higher salary, more opportunities for career growth or a senior position in the field of your interest. This can present a chance for you to be aligned with management and employees that share your core values, along with the overall scope of the company’s mission. 

Related: Core Values: Overview and Examples

Training and professional development

You may want to pursue education or training opportunities to advance your career. If you decide you want to go back to school to obtain a professional degree or take additional training courses, you can resign instead of trying to juggle full-time school and a full-time job. 

Moving to a different city

You could be moving to a new city for a variety of reasons whether it’s due to family or a spouse getting a new position too. Unless your company has several locations, you’ll need to consider resigning from your current position to move out of the city, state or region.

Scheduling issues

If you are working a job that is conflicting with your personal schedule, you may have to resign. Scheduling issues could include working around your children’s school or babysitting schedule or working around a transportation schedule.

If you’re looking to become an entrepreneur, then this option may be beneficial to help scale your own business, hire employees and work with clients on a full-time basis. Putting in more time may lead to you earning more money with this position in comparison to staying at your current job. 

Changing careers

Sometimes it takes a while to decide on a career, or you may switch careers multiple times. In the circumstance of having a grace period between being employed at your old job and working at a new job in a different industry, conduct informational interviews to gain industry knowledge to help you align the industry with your interest. Working professionals can provide insightful advice on how to proceed. 

Related: Informational Interview Questions

How do I resign from my job?

Depending on where you work, the formal procedure for resigning from your job will vary. Before announcing your intention to resign to your employer, you need to make sure you know how the procedure works and what you need to do to follow it. You might be able to do this by reading your contract of employment or by looking at company documents dealing with its corporate policies.

One of the requirements may be that you submit your resignation in writing to your immediate supervisor. Alternatively, you may be required to arrange a meeting with your manager to state your decision formally.

1. Decide when it’s the right time for you

Outline the pros and cons of resigning from your current position. Generating a list gives your clarity and creates your messaging that you can give to future employers when interviewing for future positions. It can also help you conceptualize the optimal approach in telling your employers when you plan on leaving and why you did. It may be best to wait until you receive another job offer so you can make a swift transition into your new workplace without having a job gap on your resume.

2. Give two weeks’ notice

Two weeks' notice is a standard timeframe to give to employers if you plan on resigning from your current position. However, it’s best to adhere to your employment agreements as to how much notice you should give them. This way, you can avoid any tension during your exit interview and end the relationship amicably before starting your new role.

3. Write a resignation letter

Resignation Letter Format

Image description

Resignation Letter Format

Resignation Letter Format

  1. Date

  2. Address line

  3. Statement of resignation

  4. Last day of work

  5. Statement of gratitude

  6. Next steps

  7. Closing and signature

After you inform your employer verbally, draft a brief letter of resignation that displays the effective date of resignation and your signature. It is recommended that you say thank you and explain your reasons you’re leaving to your employer. It gives both you and the employer a blueprint to work from when going over details in regards to your transitionary period from the company. Yet, there still may be a scenario where your employer can have you leave the company immediately so it’s pivotal to plan for various occurrences as a result of your resignation.

4. Provide feedback on why you left

Make sure your statements are clear and cannot be misinterpreted when you write your letter of resignation. You want to leave no doubt about your decision to resign because your employer will see your resignation announcement as a formal document.

This usually happens in an exit interview with a human resources manager, but be sure to reach out to the team if they don’t schedule an exit interview initially. Human resources can work with you if a certain event or interaction with a coworker prompted you to leave the organization.

5. Wrap up work

If you’re given two weeks to finish up your work with the company, complete any pending projects and delegate tasks to the rest of the team. Note what you did each day, your effort in approaching your tasks and save important files relevant to your position. In this instance, you can fully understand the processes and programs that may also apply to your next job and apply your knowledge accordingly.

6. Share gratitude for your opportunity

Although it’s not a requirement, you may feel that you have to inform your team or close coworkers about your decision to resign. This may be for professional reasons so that your colleagues can prepare to work with someone new.

Additionally, you may have personal friendships that you want to keep after you leave the company and establish a professional network that can help you earn another job later on. Since this isn’t a formal requirement of resigning, you can inform other workers in any way you like, such as during an informal chat, via email or more formally at a team meeting.

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