Ready to Resign? Here’s How It’s Done Professionally

Once you have decided you are ready to resign, you want to leave in a professional manner.  The key to resigning professionally is all about having a plan and paying attention to the details. I have outlined the steps you should consider when making this important decision.

Employment Contract – read your employment contract carefully and understand the terms. The sections to review are non-compete, benefits, stock options/vesting, confidential information, solicitation of clients/employees and termination. It is important to be ethical and not sabotage your employment by breaching your contract or taking confidential information or trade secrets.

Communication – it’s best not to tell anyone until you are ready to resign. This will avoid the chance of rumors.  Be sensitive and diplomatic about the way you break the news to your manager and co-workers.

Resignation Letter – send your manager an email outlining your resignation giving the required notice. A two-week notice is standard but certain positions may require additional time.  Schedule a meeting to briefly discuss your reasons for leaving and your timeframe.  Offer to help with the transition plan and make yourself available for questions. Keep in mind that some employers may ask you to leave immediately or by the end of the work day. If so, turnover equipment, files and security badges, clean your workspace, let your co-workers know and leave as instructed.

Notifications – share the news with management, other departments, customers and anyone who might be impacted.  Remain positive and avoid complaining about your employer, co-workers or clients. Be sure to share your contact information with your connections.

Transition – demonstrate that you want to make this a seamless transition.  You can offer to train a replacement. Do the best job possible to transition outstanding projects, share documentation and outline all your job responsibilities.  Meet with your manager to set expectations for the transition and provide updates on a regular basis.  Be sure to ask your manager for a reference letter.

Exit Interview – prepare your exit questions involving benefits, COBRA and final paycheck in advance so you don’t forget anything important. Offer constructive criticism if asked but keep it brief.  This is not the time to vent your grievances or burn bridges. Make a fresh start by leaving your old baggage behind.

By resigning professionally, you reinforce your professional image and leave a positive impression with your employer. Maintaining a good relationship with your employer, co-workers and clients leaves the door open for future opportunities.

Contributed by: Amy Noel