Man in suit offering handshake

Starting a new job can be intimidating, especially leaving a place where you understood the culture, knew your role and built long-lasting relationships. While you may be focused on making a good impression when you start a new job, it is just as important to make a good impression when you leave your old one.

Leaving your employer with grace and professionalism can greatly contribute to your future success. The connections that you’ve made may become friends, mentors, business partners, references or future employers.

Here are a few tips to resign gracefully:

  • Deliver the message yourself. Your direct supervisor should be the first person to know you’re leaving, so speak to them first before sharing the news with colleagues. This will minimize the risk of having it leaked through the grapevine.
  • Ensure that you give the standard two weeks’ notice or longer so your employer has time to search and train the new person coming into the role. As difficult as it is to deliver the news, it is always better to give your notice right away.
  • Often HR departments will ask for you to submit a formal written letter of resignation, even if you informed your supervisor verbally.  When writing this letter, keep it concise, maintain a professional tone and show appreciation for the opportunity.
  • During your last couple of weeks in the role, use your time wisely to complete as much work as you can and to thank your direct reports and colleagues. You will want to keep those relationships and make sure not to burn any bridges.
  • If you are asked to do an exit interview, this is usually a good sign that your employer values your opinion. Keep the conversation positive when discussing your reason for leaving or any other issues. Give constructive feedback and share ideas that could benefit the next person in the role. Do not point fingers and take responsibility for your own actions.