Woman signing a resignation letter

How to Gracefully Leave a Job Without Burning Bridges

by Valerie Cole, on November 09, 2017
When the decision is made to take your career in a different direction, it’s time to notify your current employer. This can be intimidating and stressful since you cannot predict the employer’s response. It is wise to never leave a position abruptly or out of anger because you may need those connections in the future. Don’t stress! We are here to help you.

Once you decide it’s definitely time to leave your job, here are things you need to know:
  • Before making any rash decisions, sit down with your boss or manager and let them know of your decision to leave the company. They'll appreciate you being brave enough to have a face-to-face conversation about it.
  • If you decide you want to resign gracefully - give your company a two weeks’ notice with a written resignation letter (here are some great samples for you to get started). Remember to be polite and thank the employer for the opportunities they have given you during your time with the company.  It is always good to leave on a positive note. Your offer may be rejected, but at least you offered.
  • Be helpful and offer to help your boss in any way that you can during your transition period. One way to help is by offering to train your replacement!
  • Do not brag about your new job if you have already accepted another position.
  • Once you've set the tone for a positive resignation, remember to reach out to your manager and colleagues to see if they would be willing to write you a letter of reference. Note that if you leave on a negative note, a letter of reference will probably be denied.
  • Be sure to find out about any benefits and unpaid salary you may be entitled to upon leaving.  This would include collecting unused vacation and sick pay (or PTO), rolling over your 401(k), or if you have a pension plan, how that is handled.
  • If your company has an exit interview process, be prepared to participate and give good and honest feedback.
  • If you have any company property, be sure to turn everything in before you leave.  This may include keys, computer, phones, employee badge and anything else that does not belong to you.
If you're planning on leaving your current position gracefully and are looking at other career opportunities, be sure to visit our Job Center to see if any of our open positions are a match for you!
Valerie Cole

Valerie Cole, CSP is a Senior Human Resource Specialist who works with potential applicants to help them find rewarding employment in their field of expertise. With over 40 years in the staffing industry, Valerie believes utilizing a staffing service is beneficial to both applicants and companies. Valerie is a Certified Staffing Professional (CSP) through the American Staffing Association, and holds an Associate of Science degree from Pensacola Junior College (now Pensacola State College). In her spare time, Valerie enjoys volunteering at her church where she serves on several committees: Hospitality Christmas Caravan, Christopher’s Concert and Chalice Administrator. She also likes crafting and working in her flower garden.

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