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Leaving Your Job: How to Resign Professionally

Posted: 05/03/24

Author: Freddie Plant
How to resign professionally

Deciding to leave your job is a significant career move that can impact your professional trajectory and personal life. Whether you’re seeking growth opportunities, a better work-life balance, or a change in environment, resigning from your current position requires careful planning and consideration. This guide aims to show you how to resign professionally, ensuring you leave your job on positive terms and with your professional reputation intact.

Reflecting on Your Decision

Before handing in your resignation, it’s crucial to be certain that you’re making the right decision. Reflect on your reasons for wanting to leave. Are you seeking better career prospects, dissatisfied with the company culture, or simply in need of a change? Consider the timing of your departure. Is it the right moment in your career, and have you prepared financially and emotionally for this transition?

Take the time to evaluate the pros and cons of your current role and the opportunities it offers for future growth. Sometimes, a frank conversation with your manager about your career aspirations can open up new possibilities within your current organization. However, if your decision to leave remains unchanged after thorough consideration, it’s time to prepare for the next steps.

Leaving Your Job: How to Resign Professionally

Preparing to Resign

Preparation is key to a smooth resignation process. Begin by updating your resume and LinkedIn profile to reflect your most recent accomplishments and skills. If possible, start your job search and secure a new position before resigning. This approach not only provides financial security but also reduces the stress associated with unemployment.

Financial preparation is equally important. Assess your savings and expenses, and ensure you have a financial buffer to cover the period between jobs. It’s advisable to have at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses saved, in case your job search takes longer than expected.

Writing Your Resignation Letter

Your resignation letter serves as an official record of your intention to leave the company and should be handled with professionalism. The letter need not be lengthy but should include key details:

  • Date: The letter should be dated for your records and the company’s.
  • Statement of Resignation: Clearly state your intention to resign from your position, including your title and the company’s name.
  • Last Working Day: Mention your last working day, adhering to the notice period required by your contract or company policy.
  • Gratitude: Express your gratitude for the opportunities and experiences you’ve had in the role. A positive tone can help maintain a good relationship with your employer.
  • Offer of Transition Assistance: If possible, offer to assist with the transition process, whether through training a replacement or documenting your current projects.

Keep your resignation letter concise and focused on the facts. While you may have personal reasons for leaving, the resignation letter is not the place to air grievances or criticize the company.

Meeting with your boss to discuss your resignation can be daunting, but it’s an essential step in leaving your job gracefully. Request a private meeting and prepare what you want to say. Be honest but diplomatic about your reasons for leaving, and express your willingness to help with the transition. This conversation can set the tone for your remaining time at the company, so approach it with a positive and professional attitude.

Leaving a job is a complex process, filled with emotional and professional challenges. By carefully planning your departure, you can ensure a smooth transition and maintain valuable relationships within your industry. The next steps will guide you through handling the transition of responsibilities, navigating your notice period, and making the most of your last day and beyond.

Leaving Your Job: How to Resign Professionally

Meeting with Your Boss

The conversation with your boss about your resignation is a pivotal moment in the resignation process. It’s essential to approach this meeting with professionalism and preparedness. Here are some steps to ensure the conversation goes smoothly:

  • Schedule a Private Meeting: Request a private, in-person meeting with your boss to discuss your resignation. This shows respect and professionalism, rather than resigning via email or text.
  • Communicate Clearly: Start by expressing your appreciation for the opportunities you’ve had. Then, clearly state your decision to resign and your proposed last working day. Be straightforward but respectful.
  • Be Prepared for Any Reaction: Your boss may react in various ways, from understanding to disappointment or even an offer to improve your current situation (a counteroffer). Think about how you’ll respond to these scenarios in advance.
  • Stay Professional: Regardless of the reaction, remain calm and professional. Reiterate your decision is final if faced with a counteroffer, and emphasize your commitment to ensuring a smooth transition.

Transitioning Your Responsibilities

Ensuring a smooth handover of your responsibilities is crucial for maintaining a positive relationship with your employer and colleagues. Here are steps to manage this process effectively:

  • Prepare a Handover Document: Create a detailed document outlining your ongoing projects, key contacts, deadlines, and any other critical information your successor or team might need.
  • Train Your Replacement: If possible, offer to train your replacement or spend time briefing them on your responsibilities. This can greatly ease the transition and demonstrate your commitment to the company’s ongoing success.
  • Communicate with Your Team: Inform your colleagues of your departure and how it might affect their work. Offer support in adjusting to the change, whether through training sessions or one-on-one meetings to discuss specific projects.

Leaving Your Job: How to Resign Professionally

Navigating Your Notice Period

The notice period can be a sensitive time, filled with mixed emotions and reactions from colleagues. Here’s how to navigate it with grace:

  • Stay Engaged: Continue to perform your duties to the best of your ability. Now is not the time to slack off. Staying engaged and productive sets a positive example and ensures you leave on a high note.
  • Maintain Professionalism: Avoid negativity or criticism about the company or colleagues. Stay positive and focused on your work, even if you’re excited about moving on.
  • Build Relationships: Use this time to strengthen relationships with your colleagues. You never know when your paths might cross again in the future. Networking isn’t just for job searching; it’s also about building lasting professional relationships.
  • Handle Exit Formalities Gracefully: Whether it’s an exit interview or finalizing HR paperwork, approach these tasks with professionalism. Be honest in your feedback during the exit interview, but also constructive and professional.

The period leading up to your departure is an opportunity to demonstrate your integrity and professionalism. By handling your responsibilities with care, communicating effectively, and maintaining a positive attitude, you ensure a smooth transition and leave a lasting positive impression on your employer and colleagues. This approach not only benefits your professional reputation but also sets you up for success in your next role.

Your Last Day and Beyond

Your last day at a job can be emotional and hectic, but it’s also a moment to ensure everything is in order for your departure and to say goodbye to your colleagues. Here are key steps to take on your last day and as you move forward:

On Your Last Day

  • Finalize Administrative Tasks: Ensure all necessary paperwork is completed, return company property (ID badges, laptops, phones), and make sure your workspace is clean and organized for the next person.
  • Personal Data: Make sure to remove any personal files from your company computer and email. It’s also a good time to forward any work-related emails or contacts you might need to your personal email, with permission from your employer.
  • Say Goodbye: Take the time to personally say goodbye to your colleagues. Whether it’s through a farewell email, a small goodbye gathering, or individual goodbyes, expressing your appreciation for the time spent together can leave a positive lasting impression.

Beyond Your Last Day

  • Reflection: After leaving, take some time to reflect on your experience. What did you learn? What could you have done differently? What do you wish to carry forward into your next role?
  • Networking: Keep in touch with your former colleagues and supervisors. Networking isn’t only about finding new opportunities; it’s also about sharing knowledge and staying connected to the industry.
  • New Beginnings: As you start your new job, apply the lessons learned from your previous role. Be open to new challenges and opportunities to grow both personally and professionally.


Resigning from a job is a significant step in your career. By approaching this process with careful planning, professionalism, and respect, you can ensure a smooth transition and maintain positive relationships with your former employer and colleagues. Remember, the way you leave a job can be just as important as how you performed in it. Leaving gracefully not only speaks volumes about your character but also sets the stage for future opportunities. We hope that you have a much better understanding of steps it take to professionally resign, but if you are in need of more advice, feel free to reach out to the members of our team.



Freddie Plant

Digital Marketing Executive



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