How to Quit a Job Professionally, Step by Step

Whatever reason you have for thinking about resigning, it's important to know how to quit a job professionally. Here's our step-by-step guide on how to hand in that 2-week or 30-day notice without burning any bridges!

It’s a moment millions of disgruntled employees dream about every day.

If you’re unhappy at work, it can be tempting to make a scene or pull a vanishing act — especially when you already have a new job lined up. But, when it comes to your career, you never know when burned bridges will come back to bite you.

So, when it comes time to cut ties with an employer, you should always try to do everything you can to keep the split as painless and amicable as possible.

Are you ready to take your career to the next level but aren’t sure how to cut ties with your current employer? We’re here to help!

Here’s everything you need to know about how to resign from a job, without burning any important bridges behind you!


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How to Quit a Job Right

Every job and every employer is different. This guide offers a general outline of the best way to go about resigning from your position, but your employer or contract may present some additional challenges. Quitting can be difficult, so you should brace yourself for any unexpected unpleasantness before you start the process.

Without further ado, here’s your step by step guide on how to professionally resign from a job.

Step 1: Check the Handbook

As we mentioned, every job is different. So, before you start writing up your two weeks’ notice, or before you even start looking for a new position, you should take some time to research and make sure you understand how your employer handles resignation.

A failure to follow company policy could result in not receiving your last paycheck or even a lawsuit. Double-check your employee handbook and contract for information on resignation procedures. You may also want to consider setting up a meeting with your company’s HR representative but keep in mind that they may tell someone you’re thinking about leaving.

Related Read: Here Are 8 Questions to Ask Before Accepting That Job Offer

Step 2: Prepare Yourself

What would happen if you were to quit your job and walk out of your office right now? Do you have any personal belongings around your desk you’d need to collect? Are there any sensitive documents saved on your work computer you can’t access anywhere else?

It may be a “worst-case scenario,” but there is a possibility that upon announcing your resignation, your boss could fire you and have you removed from the building. While the odds of that happening are slim to none, you should still prepare yourself just in case.

Try to take home any personal items you don’t want to lose and back up any data you may not be able to get access to if your employer decides to lock you out of the system.

Bonus Tip: Record everything. As no two employers are the same, there’s no definitive way to tell how your employer may react to your resignation. So, in case things turn sour, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself against any potential backlash.

Get everything in writing, and CC your HR representative or another trusted third-party within the company on any emails regarding your resignation. You should also keep track of any work you do from the time you announce your resignation to when you leave.

By recording as much as you can, you can make sure you’ll be able to protect yourself just in case your employer tries to get retribution for your leaving.

Related Read: How to Respond to a Job Offer [Accept, Reject, or Negotiate Terms]

Step 3: Draft your Resignation Notice

In the business world, it’s pretty rude to leave a former employer high and dry by cutting and running without giving them the chance to find someone to take over your role. And that’s where the resignation notice comes in, sometimes known as a two weeks’ notice or letter of resignation.

While two weeks is just about the absolute minimum period of time you could give the employer depending on your contract, you probably should extend it a bit more to give your current employer plenty of time to find a replacement and prepare the company for your impending departure. A 30-day notice is quite common, and it’s likely more appreciated than a 2-week notice.

Step 4: Talk to Your Boss

When resigning from a job, your goal should always be to leave things on the best possible terms. And one of the best ways to go about doing that is by breaking the news of your impending departure in person.

Request a brief and private in-person meeting with your boss or manager to let them know that you’re ready to take your career in a new direction. Not only is meeting in person polite, but a face to face meeting will also give you a chance to thank your employer for the opportunity and go over the logistics of vacating your position.

Depending on your position, your boss may want to take this opportunity to talk to you about hiring and training a replacement before you leave.

While you can give your boss a hard copy of your two weeks’ notice during this meeting, you may also want to consider emailing them a copy as soon as it’s over to create a receipt of the interaction just in case.

Related Read: Career Fairs: How They Work & 5 Tips for Making the Most of Them

Step 5: Wrap It Up Professionally

Just because you tell your boss you’re resigning, that doesn’t mean you can slack off until your final day. Not only can they still fire you after you hand in your two weeks’ notice, but you don’t want their last impression of you to be a negative one, especially if they might be asked for references from any of your future employers.

Once you announce your resignation, you still have plenty of work to do before you can knock the dust of your old job off your shoes. On top of your day-to-day responsibilities, your boss may ask for your help in finding and training your replacement.

If they’re unable to find a new hire, you may have to create an overview of your current responsibilities so your employer can create a plan to cover your absence.

Finally, as you prepare to leave your current job position, try to stay positive and take the time to say goodbye to all of your coworkers and managers. You never know who you may run into again down the line, so you want to end things on a professional note.

Moving On to Greener Pastures

Now that you know how to quit a job, it’s time to get to work drafting your two weeks’ notice and preparing yourself for the next exciting chapter in your career.

If you’re ready to search for a new place of employment, our career blog has it all, from a helpful career glossary to tips on writing cover letters and expert resume advice.

Are you looking for more advice on how to take your career to the next level?

We’ve got you covered.

Check out the rest of our career articles for more insightful topics and helpful job tips today!

Related Read: How to Turn Your Passion Into a Career in 5 Easy Steps

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Goodwall Contributor
Written By Goodwall Contributor
The Goodwall Editorial Team is dedicated to helping students, entrepreneurs, and young professionals reach their full potential. We'll share thought-provoking and supportive articles on career advice, self-improvement, navigating the college landscape, climate action, social impact, and more. On the business side, we'll talk about SMB subjects related to community, diversity, talent acquisition, case studies, and enterprise.

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