how to resign from your job without burning bridges

Let’s face it. While you might be celebrating your next career adventure to come, when it is time to resign from your job, especially one you have held for some time, it can be stressful.

Regardless of your reason for leaving, when you resign from your job it is best to do so on good terms. This is why, before diving in headfirst, you should give some serious thought to how you will resign. Ultimately, your goal should be to do so in a way that is professional, ideally helping to position your replacement for success and leaving your former employer in a good place.

Here are some tips:

1) Check your employment contract

Make sure you are not under contract to finish out a certain amount of time and make sure you will not be in violation of any non-compete agreement. Breeching your contract could result in serious complications when transitioning jobs.

2) Be discreet

Water cooler gossip spreads fast. Avoid it at all costs! Make sure that your employer is the first to know of your departure. And whenever possible, make sure you do so in person. While we have all grown comfortable with video conferencing, especially since the COVID pandemic, nothing beats a face-to-face, in-person meeting.

3) Write your resignation letter

Many HR departments will require an official resignation letter for their files. But even if this is not the case, you should do so. This is not a time to air your grievances. Be professional and positive and focus on the facts of your transition. Make sure to thank your supervisor for your time with the company. Writing your letter will also give you a chance to organize your thoughts and plan what you will say to your boss during your in-person meeting, which is the third tip…

4) Plan ahead

You don’t need an Oscar-worthy resignation speech but do think through what you will say ahead of time. This isn’t the time to beat around the bush. Be clear and straightforward and state you are resigning from your position, the reasons why, and when you wish your last date of employment to be. Be both honest and tactful and be ready to compromise on your last date of employment. In some situations, you may even be asked to leave immediately. Don’t forget to express your gratitude to your employer, even if you are asked to leave right away. Thank your boss for the opportunities you had as an employee of the company and express your good wishes.

5) Set up your replacement for success

This means tidying up and organizing your workspace, files, and open projects. If at all possible, train your replacement. If you will be leaving before your replacement begins working, perhaps you could leave written notes with helpful tips and suggestions. This simple gesture can go a long way to smoothing over any hard feelings or keeping your employer from being left hanging.

Now that you have a plan in place to make your exit from the company, follow through with it and finish your time at your current job strong. Use that time to wrap up loose ends and hand off items and contact information to those that will need them, so that you leave on a good note. You never know what the future might bring. You may find yourself working for or with that company in the future or you may wish to call on people you worked with and for to provide references. Keep that bridge of communication open and strong.

How to resign from your job without burning bridges 1