Developing Your Career

Developing Your Career

Resigning Your Job? Four Tips to Exit Gracefully

By Greg Simpson on July 3, 2013

Goodbyes are often hard, and leaving a job is no exception.  While you’re excited to move on to a new and exciting challenge, it’s important to close the current chapter with an eye toward the future.

In a recent article, “Is This the Sweetest Resignation Letter of All Time?” Glen Levy shares the story of Chris Holmes, an officer with Britain’s Border Force who was leaving his position to follow his passion: baking. Holmes’ resignation letter was written on a sheet cake for his former manager and colleagues to enjoy. While the “sweetest” letter may have been the perfect “goodbye” for Holmes, for many of us, the goal should be to create a professional letter of resignation that conveys a sense of appreciation for the past and goodwill for the future.

  1. Keep it professional.  Whenever possible, it’s a best practice to resign in person.  If you work virtually, that may mean a phone call.  Follow up with a formal resignation letter.
  2. Keep it simple. A resignation letter should be brief and include your last day (usually providing two weeks’ notice) and an offer to help transition your work. Even if you’re sending the letter via email, use a respectful, formal writing style rather than a casual format.
  3. Keep it upbeat. Resigning is not a forum for venting or for “he said, she said” complaints about managers or co-workers. It’s important to keep a positive relationship with all your former employers for referrals, references and networking.
  4. Keep the door open. Life is full of twists and turns. As unlikely as it may seem at the moment, at some point you may consider returning to the organization or you may rejoin the organization through a merger or acquisition. Leave a positive, classy impression by wishing the best to your former manager and organization.

It’s a small world, and even smaller in some industries or professions, so your last impression with an organization could be your first with another. Take care to exit gracefully.

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