6 Tips for Quitting Your Job Professionally

You know it’s time to leave a job when the opportunities for advancement dry up, but you never know what’s around the corner. You may be faced with the prospect of working for your old boss after you leave, or having an old colleague help you find your next adventure. Regardless, if you’re considering a new role, it’s vital that you leave your current role on good terms.

Transitioning out of a company requires professionalism, tact, and the right attitude. To ensure you don’t harm any current relationships — or your own reputation during the process, keep the following six tips in mind.  

Timing Matters
Before you break the news to your immediate supervisor, think through a timeline that will be beneficial to both sides. The last thing you want to do is make life difficult for a supervisor or manager by quitting just before an important deadline or mid project. Be particularly mindful of any major deadlines that can impact your team’s results or your boss’ ability to get the job done. Once you’re ready to notify your manager, set up a meeting to share the news before letting other colleagues know. Having  a face-to-face conversation before you send a resignation letter will help avoid any surprises or planning your direct manager will need to do.

Keep Your Personal Feelings Private
Emotions often run high when someone quits and can provoke strong reactions amongst others on the team. Even if you feel let down, angry or victimized by a situation during your tenure, it’s usually best to let sleeping dogs lie. By making the decision to leave, you’ve committed to continuing a different path and an emotional confrontation won’t serve you. Of course, if there were concerns around situations being handled incorrectly that were unethical or go against the company’s values, your exit interview or a separate meeting with HR are appropriate.  To bow out and transition with grace and dignity makes a difference especially as you may rely on people for references and continued friendship.

crying at work

Have a Positive Attitude
You will probably be asked to state the reasons for your departure, either during your initial conversation with your boss or during an exit interview. Rather than reel off a list of complaints and grudges, communicate the positive reasons for your decision. Address the new challenges and experiences you’re looking in your next opportunity rather than focusing on the parts of your current role  you’re trying to escape from. Taking time to share some of your insights should ensure your notice period runs smoothly and that internal communication about your transition doesn’t become construed.

Don’t Burn Bridges
In most industries it’s not unusual to come across familiar faces more than once during your career. Maintaining a sense of professionalism as you move jobs will help greatly with your next job search. If you have upset or offended former colleagues or managers by abruptly quitting it’ll create challenges for you down the line. According to The Opportunity Index, it was reported that professional and personal connections are increasingly an important tool for finding and getting a job. Referrals — either from someone in the individual’s network (11%) or from an employee at the company (21%) — are two of the ways many working adults found their current job, according to survey responses. In fact, 55% of working adults would rather find a job through someone they know than apply to one themselves, and a similar percentage (55%) say they are more likely to apply for a job if a friend works at the company.

Give Sufficient Notice
At the very least, you should be prepared to give the notice stipulated in your contract. However, it’s often a good idea to offer your services for a little longer if necessary. According to experts, the standard is providing at least two weeks’ notice and — if your schedule allows — offering to work longer to create a smooth and orderly transition. The last thing you want to do is leave your current employer high and dry during a busy or difficult period. Reputable employers will usually be willing to wait for you to start, as they would expect the same level of loyalty and conscientiousness from their existing staff.


Tell Your Colleagues Individually
As a matter of professionalism and courtesy, it’s important that you tell your colleagues and clients about your departure in person. This may be a distressing or worrisome event for other people to learn about, but explaining your decision during a quiet conversation should cushion the blow and help to maintain important professional relationships.

Quitting a job is usually the start of new beginnings and opportunities if you are able to manage the transition gracefully. By going about it the right way, you can be sure that your reputation for professionalism a in the workplace remains top of mind and leaves a lasting impression.


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