So you got a job offer — congratulations! Starting a new job often brings with it the opportunity to expand your skill set, climb the ladder and often, earn more money. But before you get too carried away fantasizing about your new job, remember: you still have to part ways with your current employer. In this guide, we’ll share tactical advice on what you need to do to give your two weeks notice and leave your job on a high note.
Some companies financially penalize employees who fail to give two weeks notice (or more — check your company handbook) before quitting, but more often, it’s simply common courtesy. Letting your employer know that you plan on leaving your job ahead of time allows them to initiate a formal offboarding process, create a transition plan and possibly begin searching for your replacement, all at a steady pace.
Without advanced notice, they have to scramble to do everything at once, which can be a major headache for everyone involved. If you put your employer in this position, the odds are good that you’ll burn some bridges, which can come back to haunt you if you ever need a referral or end up working with some of the same folks down the road.
Giving two weeks notice can help make your departure more amicable, but it has to come at the right time. If you can, try and hold off on leaving your company until you’ve finished any big projects or assignments. Otherwise, you might inadvertently overburden your teammates and colleagues. If you play a particularly critical role in your company, you may even want to consider giving your employer more than two weeks notice.
You’ll probably need to tell your HR department eventually, but in most cases, your manager is the first person you should turn to when you announce your resignation. It might be intimidating, but when it comes to conversations of this sensitive nature, it’s best to chat face-to-face. However, it doesn’t need to be a negative or scary experience. Taking the following steps can help set you up for success:
Oftentimes, companies will need a written statement that you plan on quitting your job for legal or administrative purposes. If that’s the case — or if you just want to notify your employer that you plan on leaving in a more formal way — you should consider writing a resignation letter. Got writer’s block? Try using this template:
Dear [BOSS’ NAME]
This letter serves as formal notice of my resignation from my position as [JOB TITLE], effective [DATE].
The past [NUMBER] years working at [COMPANY] have been some of the most rewarding experiences to date. I’d like to particularly thank you for your time, support and encouragement of my professional growth. It’s been a pleasure working on such a talented team, and to be able to have done so under your leadership.
I’m committed to making this transition period as smooth as possible. I’ll continue to work on my [SPECIFIC JOB RESPONSIBILITIES] until my resignation. Following my departure, [COLLEAGUE/REPLACEMENT] will be the new point of contact.
I look forward to staying in touch, and please feel free to add my personal email to your address book: [PERSONAL EMAIL]
[YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION]
Don’t just assume sending a letter is enough, though — different companies have different processes. Ask your manager and HR team what they need from you in order to formally acknowledge your departure.
After you get the green light from your manager and HR team, you can start letting your teammates, coworkers and clients know of your upcoming exit. This can be done with varying levels of formality depending on how closely you work with one another, and how things are generally done at your office.
For example, some people set up dedicated meetings with their team to break the news in person. Alternatively, your boss may choose to send an email — or have you send an email — to let your team/department know you’ll be moving on. And at other, more casual workplaces, they may expect you to simply let people know on a one-off basis in casual conversations. If you’re unsure about which method of notifying your colleagues is best, talk to your manager.
Regardless of what form your communication takes, there are a few best practices worth keeping in mind:
Once you’ve let everyone know you’re leaving your job, you’ll still have more to do — exit interviews, rolling over your 401(k), etc. — but the good news is, the hard part is over. Once you’ve gotten over the hurdle of announcing your departure, you can breathe a little bit easier and start really looking forward to your new job.