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How to Resign from Your Job on Good Terms

Maybe a better opportunity has come knocking at your door, or maybe you cannot find the motivation to work for that employer anymore; the reasons for quitting are several. Having this conversation with the employer is something that everyone dreads.  It is crucial to know how to professionally quit a job by keeping the conversation polite and completely professional. Ending it on a negative note will not do any good to anyone.

Here's what this article will cover:

  1. How to Resign from Your Job?
  2. How to Quit Your Job Over the Phone?
  3. Do's and Don'ts While Quitting Your Job
  4. Resignation Checklist for Leaving a Job
  5. Things to Do Before You Leave Your Job
  6. How to Answer Why Did You Leave Your Job?

If you have decided to leave the employer-

You need to be prepared for the conversation that you are going to have with your boss. It won�t be the easiest or the most pleasant conversation to have, but you need to be prepared for what to say. You cannot mumble your way through this. When you look for ways how to leave a job, prepare answers to questions like �where are you going� and �how long are you willing to stay.�  You can provide as much information about the reason to quit as you wish to, but make sure that you are honest in your answer. Have a transition plan in your mind because that is what your boss cares about the most at the moment. Provide a basic outline of what you are going to do in your time left there and how you can help make the transition easier.

How to Resign from Your Job? 

If you are looking for how to professionally quit a job, make sure you keep the following things in mind.

  • Be sure that it is the right time- Since there is no going back once you put out your resignation, you need to thoughtfully consider every aspect. Make sure that you have another opportunity in hand before you look for how to quit a job in order to avoid any large gap in your employment history.  If you are leaving because of an issue that could be resolved by talking to your supervisor, try doing that. Make sure that you consider all the pros and cons of quitting before making up your mind.
  • Inform your manager before telling your colleagues- You might have great relationships with the people you work with but telling them your plans of quitting before going up to manager can be risky business. If your manager overhears the news from a source other than you, they might find it disrespectful. To not leave the company with a damaged reputation, hold off telling your friends at work before telling your manager.  
  • Always quit in person- As much as you are dreading having this awkward conversation, it is better to do it in person. Don�t just break into their office and surprise them with the news. Give them some time to process the news and then have a meeting with them to discuss the details. This is the most respectful way of quitting and does not make you come across as entitled or ungrateful.
  • Schedule a meeting with your HR manager or supervisor- Planning a meeting is far better than having your supervisors find it out through an email. Have a resignation letter written and printed to provide to the employer. You can straighten out the details of any pending projects and other formalities in this meeting. While this is not an essential step, it is considered professional etiquette to arrange this meeting.
  • Provide at least two weeks� notice- The standard amount of time that you need to give to your employer is about two weeks. This can vary if you have signed an employment contract with specific terms. If you are wondering how to quit your job immediately, you can do so at the expense of a reference from the employer.
  • Write a notice letter- You need to provide your employer with the details of when you are going to leave. The two weeks� notice letter should contain the following information-
  • Name of the recipient company
  • Your last date of working
  • Brief reason for resignation (optional)
  • Statement expressing gratitude
  • Ask if they require any help with the transition
  • Close with signature

  • Provide a Resignation Letter � Provide an official resignation letter to your manager and the HR department to ensure that your quitting is documented. You can provide a reason for your leaving in this letter if you wish to do so. Close the letter with a statement thanking the company.
  • Finish strong- If you slack off during your final days at work, that is all your colleagues and manager are going to remember about you. Staying dedicated even in your last days proves that you are an accountable employee.
  • Wrapping up- Training your replacement is an important aspect of this step. You do not have to do it, but it would leave a good impression if you do. It will also show the employer that you are a grateful employee who is trying to make the transition easier for the company, thus earning you a great future reference.
  • Say goodbye to your teammates- Writing a goodbye email to your teammates will show that you value your relationship and is an important part of knowing how to properly quit your job. It is better for them to hear the news from you than having to turn up to work one day only to find your desk empty. You can also provide them your contact details if you wish to stay in touch with them even after quitting.  
  • Express gratitude- Take out time to personally thank the colleagues and mentors that you have worked with. Tell them how thankful you are for this opportunity that helped you grow. You can do this by writing a personal thank you note for people you worked closely with. This is an excellent way of creating a strong professional network in the industry.
  • Don�t lash out- If you had a difficult relationship with the manager, you would be tempted to indulge in an emotional burst of criticism. But this could harm the chances of you getting good references for the future. Try to provide constructive feedback about the company or its policies if you want and stay away from any form of bashing. 
  • Provide feedback on why you�re leaving- You should arrange a meeting with your HR manager where you help them understand your reason for leaving. While you have the choice of not disclosing your reason, it is better to provide feedback on the culture, atmosphere, and policies of the company. 

How to Quit Your Job Over the Phone?

The best way to let your employer know that you are quitting is to do it in person. You may have a reason for not being able to do it in person- maybe you do not feel comfortable in the workplace anymore, or you have to immediately quit due to some reason, and your boss is not available in the office. If you are wondering how to resign from your job in this case, you can do so in an extremely professional way over the phone. Beware that doing this might make you lose a good reference from the employer.

  • Send an email in advance to schedule a call with the employer. Try contacting your supervisor directly.
  • It is your wish to state a reason for quitting. You do not have to go into detail if you wish not to. 
  • If you are wondering how to quit your job immediately, you can do so over the phone but since you did not provide a two weeks� notice, make sure you apologize to the employer. 
  • You can thank them for providing you with this opportunity.
  • Ask important questions regarding your salary, benefit, or collecting any other personal belonging at work.
  • Just like quitting in person, your call should be followed with a letter of resignation.

Do's and Don'ts While Quitting Your Job

Before you quit your job, know that this isn�t the first time it is happening. People quit their jobs all the time, and your boss will not go on a frenzy on finding out about this. You can be relaxed about it, but there are still some dos and don�ts that you must keep in mind while resigning.


  • Do provide an official resignation letter.
  • Do offer to help in making the transition easier.
  • Do provide all the information and document your work and responsibilities properly.


  • No matter how much you hated the job, do not say it out loud. You are better off keeping that information to yourself.
  • Don� forget to say goodbye to the people you worked with.
  • Don�t be negative about the company or the employer. Provide constructive criticism if asked for it.
  • Don�t provide too much detail about your new job if you already have one.

Resignation Checklist for Leaving a Job 

If you have decided to move on from your current job, here is a checklist to help you know how to respectfully quit a job.

  • Inform Your Boss- Before you hand in a written resignation, make sure that you tell your boss that you will be quitting. Make sure that they find out directly from you instead of overhearing from any of your co-workers.
  • Provide A Written Resignation- This works as official notice for the employer- mention necessary details such as your last working day and other transition details.
  • Get Details On Your Last Pay Check- Your company�s policies will determine when you will receive your last paycheck. Make sure that you are provided a time frame, and you get the salary within that time period.
  • Check for Employee Benefits- Also, seek details on your eligibility for various employee benefits such as life, health, or a 401(k).
  • Find out about your PTO- Before you plan how to quit your job, find out if you have any Paid Time Off remaining, such as unused vacation days or sick leaves, and whether it will be paid out from your benefits administrator.  
  • Ask for References- References from previous employers add credibility to your job application. Make sure that you ask for a reference letter when quitting your job because tracking down previous employers can be a little challenging at the last minute.  

Things to Do Before You Leave Your Job 

  • Be financially covered- Before you hand in the resignation letter, make sure that you have a new job in hand or have another source of income to support you. Check if you will be able to continue with your insurance coverage and other important financial details. 
  • Clean Up Your Computer- Get rid of any personal information from your work computer beforehand to avoid its misuse. Clean out all personal documents, emails, browsing history, saved passwords, etc., before you quit.
  • Clear Out Your Office-Take sometime before you quit to clear out your office of any unnecessary item such as age-old documents that you no longer need. Make sure that you only have so much stuff that can be cleared out immediately.
  • End Things on a Positive Note-  Make sure that you do not leave the job on bad terms with anyone. This will help you in getting references in the future.
  • Prepare for an Exit Interview- Look into some interview preparation tips to prepare an exit interview with your HR manager and/or supervisor. Be prepared with the type of questions that get asked in an exit interview usually.
  • Return any company property- You do not want to be held responsible for any item missing. Therefore, make sure that you immediately return any company property that you might have.
  •  Say Goodbye to Your Co-Workers- Take time to thank your co-workers before you step out of the office for the last time. If you cannot do it in person, make sure that you send them a written thank you note or an email. 
  • Collecting Unemployment- You will only be eligible for getting an unemployment allowance if you quit your job for a good cause, such as caring for a sick person.

How to Answer Why Did You Leave Your Job?

This is a common question that you should brace yourself for. Make sure that you avoid talking negatively about your previous employer and prepare an answer that puts you in a positive light.

For example, I am looking for a bigger challenge and ways to grow my career.

To conclude

The conversation of telling your boss you quit will never be easy. Be prepared for various ways your boss could react to the news. Leaving the job the right way without burning any bridges will help you have a strong professional network that will come in handy in the future.  


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Last updated on: 
October 26, 2023

Dipen Dadhaniya

Engineering Manager at Interview Kickstart

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