But with this step-by-step guide, saying sayonara to your present position will be easy-peasy—we promise. We’ll take you through all the essential steps of how to leave your employer with professionalism and a good impression, and move on to your dream job.
When to Quit
When you’re unhappy in your current position, it can be very tempting to put in two-weeks’ notice before you have a new job. Of course, conventional wisdom says that it’s much better to wait to quit a job until after you’ve safely secured another one. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. To determine if you can afford—literally—to quit your job before finding a new one, here are some questions you should ask yourself:
- Depending on your industry or field, it can be difficult to find a new job fast. Do you have the financial resources to keep yourself going for three months? Six months?
- Many hiring managers—though not all—don’t like to see a significant gap between jobs. If anything, they’re going to want to know: what happened with your last job? Can you tell the story without it appearing as a negative part of your career history?
- Being unemployed for a long stretch of time can be hard on people psychologically, which makes them more likely to underperform in an interview. Would that be you?
Think the answers to these questions over. Depending on your chosen field, prematurely quitting your job could carry too much risk. Alternately, quitting your job to improve your mental or physical health can help you turn over a new leaf and can lead to new growth.
You have to make the decision that’s right for you. Decisions made under stress or pressure don’t usually have the best outcomes, so it pays to step back and think about your options.
How to Share the News
Now that you’ve determined it’s time to quit, you must schedule a meeting with your boss to share the news. Determine a time of day that best fits into your boss’ schedule. Mention that you want to schedule a one-on-one meeting at his or her earliest convenience.
Before the meeting, have a plan for all the small details so you—and the company—can move forward. Prepare your explanation to clearly articulate why you’re leaving. If you are leaving because you found a role that best fits your skill set and allows you to grow as the best version of yourself, be sure to share that feedback with your employer.
And no matter what the circumstances are of your exit from the company, thank your boss for the years of collaboration, hard work, and achievements. Whether in an email or a mini-sendoff meeting, be appreciative as you exit. This will ensure you don’t burn any bridges.
How to Write a Resignation Letter
After you’ve spoken with your employer, it’s time to make your departure official with a resignation letter to present. A resignation letter is brief, direct, and devoid of extraneous fluff. All you need are the details of your departure, peppered with a sense of gratitude and appreciation for the experiences you’ve had on the job. Here’s a template you can tweak:
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]
Send your resignation letter to your boss. If your company has an HR department, you should send it there as well. Submit a digital version via email, but also print your letter and submit a paper copy so they can keep it for their records. And don’t forget to keep a copy yourself, especially if you sent it from a work email address that will soon be defunct!
Plan Your Final Days
It’s easy to fall into a bit of a lazy rut on your final week or so. However, you want to go out on a high note and leave a strong lasting impression with your colleagues and bosses. That means maintaining your level of productivity, staying engaged, and pushing yourself to set your team up for future success. After all, you want to be remembered for being a hardworking, dedicated professional who inspired others. Here are a few things to do.
Prepare a transition document. Before you leave, outline the projects you’ve been working on, key information, and important contacts to pass along to your team or the person assuming your duties. This will endear others to you and is the ultimate way you can transition out of a role smoothly, without burning bridges.
Send a transition email. Craft a message to important company clients to tell them about your departure and last date on the job. Make a list of who would want to keep working with your team going forward and be sure to connect the dots.
And ask for references. You want to build a network of positive references for your future. Building and maintaining professional relationships is the cornerstone to career success.
Now that you know how to quit your job, it’s time to start thinking about your next job—hopefully, your dream job! Here are some resources to help you succeed in your next steps.