So you’ve got a better job offer or had enough at your current workplace that you want to call it quits.
Whatever your reason, changing jobs is normal, and it’s important to leave your job on good terms as you never know who you’ll cross paths with in the future.
I have personally been laid off and voluntarily resigned multiple times in my career. But, looking back, some parts could’ve been handled more tactfully.
In this article, I will share with you how to resign nicely & how to write a short resignation letter so you can quit without burning any bridges.
Let’s start with an overview of the typical resignation process:
A Typical Resignation Process from a Job
- Decide if you really want to resign
- Find your notice period in your employment contract
- Get your resignation letter ready
- Talk to your supervisor in person & hand in your resignation letter
- Serve your notice period (depends on your company, but typically around 30 days)
Office politics 101: Keep your intention to quit on the downlow. The first person you need to tell formally is your direct supervisor.
What is the Best Excuse to Quit Your Job?
You can give whatever excuse you want to your boss as long as it’s not negative. Personally, my go-to reason will always be: I got a better job elsewhere.
Why? Because it’s most likely the truth. Think about it; most people will not be quitting their jobs willy nilly unless they already have another job lined up for them.
Knowing Your Notice Period
For most jobs, you can’t just quit the same day you hand in your resignation letter. Most companies need time to find your replacement.
The duration where you need to keep showing up to work after you hand in your resignation letter is called your notice period.
You can find your notice period in your employment contract, which is usually emailed to you when offered the job. So find that email & search for the ‘Termination Notice’ clause or something similar to that.
Here’s an example:
From the above example, I still have to show up to work one month after I hand in my resignation letter. Some notice periods will be shorter, and some will be longer. But typically, it’ll be around one month.
Alright, now that you’ve got valid reasons to quit your job and know how long you have to stick around after you hand in your resignation letter (notice period), the next step is to write a short & sweet resignation letter:
Write a Simple Resignation Letter (Example)
A resignation shouldn’t be intimidating. It’s just a formality, so let’s keep it simple, avoid any negativity, and keep it emotionless like your ex’s heart.
The letter needs to be addressed to your immediate supervisor, not the CEO. Just use my example below as a template:
[Your Name]'s Resignation Letter 30th June 2021 [Boss's Name], Head of Engineering Department, Super Engineering Company This letter is my formal resignation from the company, effective immediately. I will serve my 1-month notice period as stated in my employment contract. Therefore, my last working day will be on the 31st of July, 2021. Before my departure, I will ensure a smooth transition of my current tasks to my replacement. Thank you. [Your signature] .............. [Your Name] [Your position] [Your current company] [Address of company]
Notice how straight to the point, no negativity, emotionless & ‘professional’ this letter sounds? It’s perfect.
If you need a Microsoft Word template, click the button below:
Pro-Tip: It’s better to print the letter at home and not in the office. I made the amateur mistake of printing my resignation letter in the office while my other colleagues also printed other stuff. Our intern read my letter, and she blabbered to the office gossip.
I would still print out an actual letter if I physically work at the office. But if you work remotely, a phone call will be courteous.
Now that you got your resignation letter printed out, your next move will be the most intense:
Talk to Your Supervisor in Person
This is the scariest part. I’ve had a colleague that didn’t want to meet the supervisor face to face. So instead, he wrote his resignation letter on a crummy paper, left it on his table, and just left the company. That’s really not cool.
You should find a private time around 5 mins where you can tell your supervisor about your resignation. So just go in there, sit down and go straight to the point:
“Hey [Boss’s Name], I’m sorry to do this, but I’ve accepted another job offer, so I will be handing in my resignation letter today.”
Don’t mention anything about the new job. Even when asked, just say “I prefer to not tell that information.”
See what your supervisor says. There are usually two ways this can go down:
- He/she can try to counter your new job offer, or
- He/she can be like, “OK.”
If it’s the latter, all you need to do is to hand in your resignation letter and carry on with your job until your last day like usual.
But what if your supervisor counteroffers? It’s tricky and possibly tempting. So here’s my take on this:
I wouldn’t take it. I find it a bit offensive that the company can all of a sudden pay me more. I would remind myself why I wanted to quit in the first place and stick to my guns.
Working as Normal Until Your Last Day
After your boss accepts your resignation, you need to keep showing up to work until the last date of your notice period. During this time, continue work as normal and assist your replacement wherever possible.
If you have a good relationship with your colleagues (hopefully you do), on your last day, I’d have a farewell lunch and say goodbye to my colleagues before I leave.
Summary: How to Resign Nicely – Do’s & Don’t
|Keep your resignation letter short & neutral||Write anything emotional or personal. No one cares|
|Print your resignation letter (optional)||Print at the office while others are also printing|
|Meet with your supervisor in person||Don’t say anything negative and brag about your new job|
|Honor your notice period as in the contract||Just leave without saying goodbye face to face|
|Leave on good terms with everyone||Burn any bridges. You never know who you might cross paths with in the future|
I hope this post has been useful. Let me know in the comments if you’d handle this differently 🙂