8 Steps to Help You Professionally Resign from Your Job

8 Steps to Help You Professionally Resign from Your Job

Is it just me or can putting in your resignation be one of the most awkward things ever? One part of you is super excited to be starting a new journey somewhere else, but the other part of you also feels anxious about telling your boss you’ve found something better. Especially if you have a pretty good relationship with your employer.

I’ve been there!! I remember feeling so guilty about leaving my then-current job because they had been so great to me during my time there. They were extremely supportive when I experienced an unexpected death in my family, they were flexible with my hours & even allowed me to bring my daughter into the office on days I struggled to find childcare. I was sweating bullets just thinking about putting in my resignation because I felt like I was betraying them. 

If you’re reading this, I assume you’re in a similar spot. You’ve got a good opportunity in front of you but you’re feeling nervous about starting something new, intimidated to break the news to your boss, guilty about leaving the company with a vacancy, and maybe even a little sad about leaving your co-workers.

Let me start off by saying a few things…

These feelings are completely normal.  Employer-employee relationships are just like any other relationship. When we invest time, make sacrifices, and put in work on a regular basis. It’s natural to become emotionally invested in not only the work that we do but the people we do it with. Just like a friendship or romantic relationship, it can be hard to let it go even if you know it’s time to move on.

Resignations are a good thing. It’s much better to leave a job on your terms than to be laid off or fired. 

This isn’t their first rodeo. You aren’t the first person to put in a resignation. Companies know that most employees won’t stay forever. People move on and better opportunities arise.

This is a business decision. At the end of the day, this is a business decision. You have to take your emotions out of it and ultimately do what’s best for you, your family & your career. 

Related Post: 6 Tips to Help You Make a Successful Career Change

As soon as I realized these things, the thought of putting in my resignation became less nerve-wracking & honestly more exciting because I was one step closer to starting a new journey.  Here are the steps that I took and recommend everyone take when putting in their resignation. 


Step #1 – Don’t do ANYTHING until you have an offer in hand.

There would be nothing worse than putting in your resignation only to find out you don’t even have another job. Talk about a nightmare! Also, a verbal offer isn’t enough. Make sure you get it in writing either via email or hard copy. Job offers can be rescinded at any time (as can accepts) so make sure you are 100% confident with the offer and your decision to accept.

Step #2 – Move in silence.

Be very careful about telling others that you have accepted a new position. We all know how fast gossip at work can spread. You wouldn’t want your boss to hear the news from someone else before you’ve had a chance to tell them yourself.

Step #3 – Draft your resignation letter.

Once you’ve accepted, signed, and returned your offer letter it’s time to type up your resignation letter. Keep it short, simple and to the point – you don’t have to get overly detailed. A professional resignation letter includes the following:

  • Your manager’s name, position & company address
  • Your name, current position, & mailing address
  • Last request working day (if possible & out of courtesy, 2 weeks from the date of your letter)
  • Gratitude for the opportunity to work with the company
  • An offer to help with the transition
Step #4 – Schedule a meeting with your boss.

Yep, that’s right – you need to resign IN PERSON. Remember, working relationships are just like any other relationship. Surely you wouldn’t break up with someone over an email (and if you would- shame on you)! It’s not respectful and truthfully just rude. Shoot your manager an email asking if you can schedule a quick meeting with them.

Step #5 – The meeting.

It’s the big day! Depending upon your manager’s leadership skills and your relationship, they could be supportive or a complete asshole. If you’re feeling nervous, take a few deep breaths and remember the four tips I gave you at the beginning of this post. The meeting will basically be everything you said in your resignation letter but face-to-face. You can start off the meeting by saying something like this…

“Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. I wanted to tell you in person that I’ve been presented with an opportunity that I cannot pass up. After deep thought and consideration, I have decided to accept.”

Regardless of your manager’s response, be honest, respectful and professional.

Here are a couple of things you should consider before your meeting:

  • You are not entitled to tell your manager where your new place of employment is, how much you’re getting paid, when you interviewed with them, etc. The only thing they need to know is the last date of your employment. Other than that, only share what you are comfortable sharing.
  • Are you prepared for a counteroffer? Your manager may try to get you to stay by offering a promotion, a raise, more flexibility, etc. 
  • Your manager may ask you to leave without fulfilling your notice which, unfortunately, if you’re an at-will employee, is legal. If this happens, don’t react! Simply say that you understand and without a fight or fuss – leave the premises.
Step #6: Follow-up with an email.

After you’ve had your face-to-face, send your manager a follow-up email thanking him/her for meeting with you AND attach a copy of your resignation letter. Make sure you CC your HR department & BCC your personal email address for documentation purposes.

Step #7: Don’t steal the show.

By this time, word of your resignation will start to get around. Some of your co-workers will be excited for you (others will be nosey) and want to know more details about your new gig! Try to keep the chatter about it to a minimum. Only talk about it on breaks or after work hours. You don’t want your manager to overhear and think you are boasting or trying to persuade other employees to quit.

Step #8: Keep working hard.

It can be difficult to keep your motivation up when you know that something better is right around the corner. Do your best not to slack off & live up to your word on helping with the transition. Whether that be finishing up a project early, helping recruit your replacement, or training a current employee on your tasks. You want to leave on the best terms possible without burning any bridges! You never know when your paths may cross again.


Hopefully, these tips & step by step instructions help you have a smooth resignation experience. I followed these same steps and it wasn’t nearly as hard as I expected. Remember to stay respectful, keep things professional, and show gratitude for the valuable experience, skills, and relationships you gained during your employment. Resignations aren’t a bad thing! Jobs come and go and this just means something better is around the corner! 

Good luck & congrats on your new opportunity!!!!

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