I QUIT! And Other Elegant Ideas for How to Resign

woman contemplating exit signIf you’re wondering how to resign, you are not alone. Turning in your resignation isn’t always easy. So, you’re ready to take the plunge and tell your boss you’re off to greener pastures follow this career advice about quit your job gracefully.

How to resign tactfully is an art which requires planning and professional demeanor. When you resign, consider following these steps to ensure the smoothest transition possible. After all, you will most likely need your past employer as a reference and burning a bridge at the end of your relationship is no way to prepare for the future.

Be Sure You Really Want to Quit Your Job Before Moving Forward

By this time, you should have firmly decided it’s time to quit. How to resign is the only question. Ideally, you’ll want to make sure you have another job lined up prior to giving your notice. If you’re miserable in your job and considering quitting without the benefit of another position to go to, stop and think if you’re really prepared for what this means.

I’ve been told by countless hiring and Human Resources Managers that they consider an employed candidate much more attractive than an unemployed one, all things being equal. Consider the employment marketplace and whether or not your skills are marketable enough to help you overcome the unemployed stigma. In my opinion, you want every competitive edge you can get when pounding the pavement looking for the next great job. So, be sure.

And if you’re really unhappy, remember the old saying: “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” Another month with that boss or making that commute isn’t going to kill you right? See where I’m going? Grin and bear it, but move in a positive direction to make a change. Once you’ve secured the job, then return this article to find out how to resign.

Put it in Writing: Writing a Resignation Letter

A critical element of how to resign is putting your intent in writing. Before you tell anyone you’re leaving, be sure to write a formal resignation letter. Writing a resignation letter is critical to a clear and decisive intention to move on and leaves nothing unclear regarding the facts. It will help you maintain a positive relationship with your soon to be ex-employer and sets everyone’s expectations appropriately.

Writing a resignation letter should be relatively simple: It should be short and sweet; to the point. There is no need whatsoever to provide a lot of details. In fact, probably the worst thing you could do is spell out a laundry list of your reasons for leaving. Additionally, there should be no reference whatsoever to your new employer should you have one lined up. To provide this information is considered unprofessional. Click here for sample resignation letters you can use to get you started.

Tell Your Direct Manager About Your Resignation First

Whatever you do, don’t let the person you’ve worked for so long find out about your intent to leave from someone else. Human Resources is one place people often turn to resign a job but by far the best way to plan how to resign is to make sure your direct manager learns about it first. In addition, try to tell your manager in person if at all possible. If your manager is travelling and you are obligated to give your notice so you can start your new job on time, call and offer to email a copy of your resignation letter (use these sample resignation letters).

Giving Notice to Resign Your Job

A two-week notice is considered the standard when considering how to resign. The theory is that leaving your employer with no notice whatsoever would absolutely put them in a bad spot and the last thing you want to do is leave them in a lurch with no one ready or able to take over your responsibilities. Two weeks is generally ample time to make arrangements for transitioning your duties and possibly to even find a replacement.

However, many people feel that they owe their current employer more transition time and offer to give three or sometimes even four weeks’ notice. Unless circumstances are extraordinary, and your manager will almost always make them out to be, two weeks’ notice is adequate and considered standard. Don’t be duped into giving more than two weeks unless you really need to. Remember, there is an obligation to your new employer start in a timely manner. A lack of commitment to start with your new employer in two weeks sends a message that you might not be ready to cut the ties with your old employer or perhaps you’re not as excited about your new job as you should be.

Finally, after you’ve left, be prepared for job-related calls from your old manager. Should this happen, be sure to consider your current (new) employer first and make sure they wouldn’t perceive you staying in touch with your manager that perhaps you might be second guessing your decision to have left. If you must take those calls, make every effort to do it after hours and never use your new employers’ computers or telephones. Your new alliance and number one priority should absolutely be your new employer.

Ask for a Reference

It is surprisingly common for good people to leave a position and completely neglect the fact they will almost certainly need to use their company as a reference. Don’t be afraid to ask for a letter of recommendation from your manager. It’s a key element in your strategy of how to resign professionally.

Sometimes companies are unwilling to put references in writing and it may be against company policy. Don’t take it personally but at the very least be sure to have all the personal contact information of anyone you may wish to use as a reference in the future. Personal email address and mobile phone numbers often stay the same these days but try to get a home number as well. Consider connecting with them on social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and My Space as well. Anything you can do to maintain contact is critical, as you may not need them again for another five years or more. Again, contact information changes so it’s always best to have a letter of recommendation in hand in case you lose track of each other.

Make the Most of Your Career Connections After You’ve Left

Finally, after you’ve left, don’t forget to stay in periodic communication with those you had relationships with at your old company. It’s a small world after all, and you never know when your paths may cross again or when you cross the path of someone who is closely connected to your old employer.

Remember when you first considered how to resign and wrote the resignation letter –when you really wanted to put in all the appreciation and sappy stuff that we advised you to leave out? Now is a good time to say those thank you and tell the people who trained you, mentored you and generally were a big part of your everyday life for so long what the experience meant to you. Of course, if you hated your boss and couldn’t wait to get the heck out of Dodge, you can skip this part!

Even so, a professionally worded email six months after you’ve left to your old employer is considered extremely professional and will undoubtedly pave the way for a timely reference call back or referral if you ever need it.

If you follow the career advice here when transitioning from one position to another, you’ll end up leaving your job but won’t end up burning any bridges. When someone quits, it can often become emotional rather than just business. The steps above will help ensure you haven’t cut a part off of your life you invested so much effort into.

Good Luck!

Ready to resign but need to find a new job? Be sure to check out the variety of articles on this site to help you out.