How To Quit a Job – Resignation Etiquette

How should you resign from your job when you know it is time to move on? There are good – and not so good – ways to resign. Use our checklist on how to quit a job and set yourself up to be ahead in your future.

The ideal resignation looks a little something like this: two-week notice, a graciously written resignation letter, and a formal ‘thank you’ conversation with the employer. However, there are other tactics that come into play when perfecting your resignation etiquette. Keep in mind the need for future references, helpful career advice, and networking introductions.

Before You Decide To Quit A Job

Before it is time to hand in your resignation letter, thoughtfully plan out how you are going to resign. Draft up a script of what you want to say and how you want to say it. When preparing your thoughts on how to deliver the news, keep it professional and start with a compliment before lending critical feedback. The delivery that it is time for you to move on does not need to be long or elaborate. Anticipate questions such as, “What is your next venture?”, “Why now?” or “Is there anything we could have done better?”. Also, prepare for your boss to respond to your resignation with a counter offer; a promotion or another type of perk to try and get you to stay. Above all, go in prepared knowing what will be best for you in this time of transition.

Appropriate Notice Etiquette

First, communicate your decision to leave with your supervisor face-to-face as it shows respect and maturity. We all know how things may get misinterpreted via email or phone, so quitting your job in person is a sure fire way to make sure the conversation goes as planned.

Two weeks’ notice is the standard when it comes to formally resigning. In this conversation, given the notice, you can propose an end date to meet you and your employer’s needs. If you know the transition is coming at a busy time for the company, and you have the bandwidth, offer to stay longer than two weeks to help ease the transition. On the other hand, some employers may ask you to leave immediately, so you will need to be prepared to leave sooner than your proposed date, possibly even that same day. According to the Washington Post, 20 percent of employees are departing less than two weeks after they give notice.

Propose A Transition Plan

If your supervisor accepts your proposed end date, determine a plan together to ensure a seamless transition. Present your supervisor with a detailed timeline or plan of action on how you plan to work through and prioritize any outstanding projects before your end date. This will not only show your continued dedication to the company while there, but it will set expectations for your last few weeks with the company. If your boss wants you to leave the same day the resignation was presented, be prepared with a plan for unfinished work to present to your supervisor so they know what open ends they need to assign elsewhere.

Exit Interview Etiquette

Some companies will have you sit with Human Resources for an exit interview before your last day. It is important to keep your reason leaving positive and brief. You do not want to point blame on any one thing or person. Instead, take this time to be complementary and express gratitude for your boss, the company, your colleagues, and the opportunity to work alongside them and learn from them. Keeping a positive professional relationship during the last few weeks will help to ensure positive references for future employment. This is also a great time to tie up your loose ends with Human Resources. Take the time to talk through your outstanding salary, vacation, PTO, healthcare coverage, 401k rollovers, and commission payments to ensure you will receive the compensation due to you.


It is so easy to check out during the last couple weeks before quitting a job, but such behavior will not go unnoticed and could negatively affect those future positive references. It is vital to remain a positive team player until the moment you walk out of the door on your last day. Stick to your plan and timeline that was agreed upon with your supervisor. Take the time to appropriately share ‘goodbyes’ with your colleagues and business contacts. Send out an email expressing your gratitude for each and everyone one of them and your desire to stay in touch. Connect with colleagues, clients, and vendors via LinkedIn and request a LinkedIn review. Include your personal contact information for future connections and references.

In summary, your approach to how to quit a job secures a foundation of abundance in future referrals and networking introductions. It’s a small digital world. Quitting your job is not an easy thing to do. Be proud of what you have accomplished thus far in your career and how you took the time to gracefully resign leaving many doors open. Now, it is time for you to walk out that door, and own your future!

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