10 Steps To Resign From a Job (With Tips To Quit Gracefully)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 13 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

At some point in your career, you may want to quit your job. Whatever your reason for resigning, it is crucial to quit professionally and gracefully. This might mean giving adequate notice to your employer, helping them with transitioning responsibilities to new hires or submitting a formal resignation letter to your HR manager. In this article, we outline the steps for how to resign from a job and share a few tips on how to do so professionally.

Related: All You Need To Know About Notice Period for Resignation

Why is it important to resign from a job professionally?

Resigning from your job on good terms is important for maintaining a positive relationship with your former colleagues. This also helps to build your credibility and maintain a good reputation in your industry. You may even require your current employer to provide you with references at your new workplace.

Quitting professionally helps you keep opportunities open, especially when you take up a new job in the same industry. Your current employers and colleagues are more likely to praise your dedication and put in good word for you to others in the industry. Even if you decide to come back to the same company, they are more likely to welcome you back if you leave the job on friendly terms.

Is resigning from a job bad?

Resigning from a job is not necessarily bad. There are several good reasons for quitting a job like:

  • dissatisfaction with the current role or pay

  • workplace stress

  • no room for career advancement

  • lack of appreciation at the workplace

  • you have lost your passion for the job

  • your skills are underutilised

  • you anticipate layoffs

  • your vision does not align with the company's goals

If you notice any of these signs, it may be in your best interest to leave your current job and look for better opportunities elsewhere.

What to do before resigning from a job?

Before you turn in your resignation letter, make sure to do the following two things first:

  • Check your employment contract. If you have a formal employment contract, make sure to review the terms of quitting. While most contracts allow employees to leave after serving a notice period, some contracts may have a clause that stops employees from quitting before the end of the contract period specified during recruitment.

  • Speak to your employer. Before you finalise the decision to resign, it is a good idea to discuss it with your direct manager. The manager may help you overcome the reasons for quitting or can even provide you with a better offer than your new job.

How to resign from a job

Follow the ten steps listed below to resign from a job professionally:

1. Finalise the terms of your new employment

If you are leaving your current position to move to a better position, ensure that all details are finalised with your new employer. Make sure that you have a scheduled start date and an offer letter in hand before you let your current employer know that you are leaving the position. This helps you smoothly transition from one job to another without any clashes in joining or ending date.

Related: How To Write a Job Offer Acceptance Letter (With Samples)

2. Inform your manager before you let others know

It is a professional courtesy to let your manager know your decision first. Schedule a private meeting with your manager and announce your decision to resign. Avoid passing negative comments about your time on the job. Instead, keep your tone professional and neutral. Informing your manager well in advance gives them enough time to search for your replacement and work out the details of your transition. If your manager wants to know the reason for your decision, provide a brief and honest explanation.

3. Follow the resignation rules of your company

Check your employment contract for the expected notice period. Usually, the notice period is from two weeks to a month, or it can be even more, depending on the nature of your job. Ensuring that you serve the notice period helps you resign professionally and get the full termination benefits. Staying at your job during the notice period gives your current employer adequate time to find your replacement and also helps in a smooth transition.

4. Submit a formal resignation letter in person

You may have notified your manager and HR about your decision to leave. However, writing a formal resignation letter explaining how grateful you are for the opportunity shows your gratitude and professional attitude. Even though most workplace communications happen via email, submitting the letter in person feels more genuine. Specify the main details in your resignation letter, like your last day on the job, and keep the tone professional and neutral.

Related: Tips and Examples for How To Format a Resignation Letter in India

5. Help to transition your responsibilities

Before you leave your current position, make it a point to help your co-workers with the transition. If your team has found a replacement for you, make sure to support the new joiner with all the necessary ongoing tasks. If your employer has yet to find a replacement for your role, provide your team members with up-to-date details of the current status of your projects. You can also share a document with detailed instructions on what needs to be done. This helps your team be better prepared in your absence and makes it easy to onboard the new joiner.

6. Prepare for an exit interview

Some companies hold an exit interview as part of the resignation process. Your manager or a member of the HR team may conduct your exit interview. Dress for an exit interview like you would be dressed for a recruitment interview. Be punctual and prepare your answers beforehand. You may receive questions about your time in the company and what could have been better. Keep it professional, focus only on your positive experiences, and avoid complaining about your coworkers or the job.

Related: What Is an Exit Interview? (With Questions and Answers)

7. Ask for references

If you are resigning from your job on good terms, then it is easier to ask for references from your manager. During the exit interview with your manager, initiate the conversation by explaining the learning opportunities you had in the current position and how grateful you are for that experience. Then, ask your manager if they can provide you with a reference for your new job. Having a letter of reference from your direct manager is a valuable addition to your CV.

Related: How To Put References on a Resume (With Template & Examples)

8. Return company items

Return any company property that you have in your possession. This includes laptops, mobiles, vehicles and company files. Make it a point to submit these items proactively. Ensure that you return the items in the condition you received them. If any of these items are damaged, volunteering to repair or replace them reflects positively on you. Ensure to delete any personal files or contact information in the electronic devices before submitting it to HR.

9. Clear personal items from your desk

On the final day of your job, pack up personal items from your desk, locker or any other storage area. Ensure that you have emptied all desk drawers. Also, remove personal files from your office system and sort work files so that it is easy for your replacement to find relevant documentation and other files on it. This is an excellent time to prepare a farewell message for your team members and other colleagues.

10. Keep in touch with your colleagues

Once you have resigned from the job, consider keeping in touch with your colleagues. Connect with them once in a while via email. Having a team of colleagues to connect with is an incredible networking opportunity to build valuable contacts later. Additionally, as your coworkers grow in their careers, they may let you know of other opportunities.

Tips for resigning gracefully and professionally

It is okay to feel eager and excited to start your new job while feeling sad to leave your current workplace and coworkers. Here are some tips to help you resign gracefully:

  • Leave with a positive mindset. Regardless of your motivation for leaving your job, communicate your decision to your team members positively. Focus on the skills you have learned, the friendships you have made and the positive experiences in your current workplace.

  • Restrict talk of your new job. While serving the notice period, focus on your current role rather than your next job. If people ask you about your new job, speak humbly and keep the answers concise and brief.

  • Be open to serve for longer than the notice period. Some employers ask you to stay in your current role longer than the notice period to help them with the transition. If possible, stay longer, but if it is not possible, be truthful about your situation, and let your employer know why you cannot help.

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