How To Quit A Job, Look Professional & Retain Your Reputation

how to quit a job

It happens to all of us at some point in time. Maybe the job was too stressful and not serving you. Perhaps you asked for a raise after many years of service to a company and was rejected. Maybe you’ve been offered a significantly better position at another company. Whatever the reason, everybody finds themselves in the awkward position of needing to quit their job at some point in their life. It’s natural to feel a bit guilty, or even a bit angry about the reasons that led to your resignation. It’s import to keep a cool and level head during this time and to sit down and make a game plan.

In this guide, we’ll be covering everything you’ll need to do and everything you shouldn’t do in the process of resigning from your job. We’ll also be wrapping up with a handful of examples of good resignation letters that could be useful when writing your own.

First, let’s take a look at a major consideration one should take before resigning from a job— your reputation.

Consider Your Reputation

Before you quit your job, think about retaining your reputation. It matters, and here’s why.

Living a job with dignity and grace can have a positive effect on your actual departure, but it can also be a vital choice to make that could affect your future employment endeavors. It can also reflect positively on your existing professional relationships that may come into play again in the future.

If you leave a job on unprofessional or angry terms, there’s a chance that future employers will know about it. If you’re listing this current position as a reference for other positions, it’s important to make sure the person picking up the phone doesn’t remember you leaving on a negative note. This could translate as being unprofessional or bad with a team, which could affect whether other companies will hire you.

Leaving on a sour note could also affect your current networking climate. If you have many colleagues that still work for the company you plan on leaving, you could lose all of those references and professional relationships that took so long to build by leaving the position in a tornado of fury.

By keeping cool and acting professionally through the process of quitting, you’ll make yourself look a lot better.

Have A Clear Reason For Resigning

Most of the time, one will have a very obvious reason for quitting their job that isn’t wholly negative. New job opportunities, family emergencies, mental and physical health problems, scholarships, and internships are just a handful of very understandable reasons for leaving a position.

Sometimes, the reason for leaving a job is not so positive. Maybe you have a bad relationship with a coworker that is affecting your professional life. Maybe you’re sick of your management or keep sticking around for an unsatisfactory salary. Maybe you just plain hate everything about the company and the people in it. It happens.

Be sure you understand that your reasoning for resigning is one that cannot be fixed by speaking with your manager. If you’ve tried speaking with a manager or human resources official, then maybe it is time to go.

It’s important to be honest about why you’re leaving, even if it is negative or reflects negatively on your management team or the company as a whole. What’s more important is to express those truths in a way that isn’t antagonizing, aggressive, or rude.

You can certainly tell your manager that you’re leaving because you’re sick of the low pay. But it’s better to say “I’d like to look for a higher-paying position in this current economy” than “You don’t pay me squat, I’m out of here.”

Plan Your Resignation Communication

Plan how you are going to communicate your reason for resigning and how this will be professional.

We’ve already mentioned that being polite, professional, graceful, and honest is important. When planning how you’re going to communicate, take the time to rehearse what you might say to your employers and coworkers who may be wondering why you’re leaving. Make sure that your answers are consistent.

Most importantly, do not bad mouth the company or the coworker who may be the reason behind your departure. This looks tacky, and it could get back to your manager and reflect badly on you in the context of references.

How To Quit Your Job

Generally speaking, the steps you will take to quit your job are quite simple.

1. Keep your decision private in regards to other coworkers.
2. Make sure you have to resignation conversation in person with the appropriate manager.
3. Provide more than enough notice. Two weeks is the standard, but depending on your particular workload and industry, more time may be appropriate to offer before leaving.
4. Make sure to have a schedule for the resignation. Pick a day that you absolutely need to leave and let your manager know it will be your last day.
5. Rehearse what you’ll say. Rehearsing what you’ll say may feel odd or not genuine, but it is a wise this to do to avoid any faux pas or unprofessional mistakes when actually resigning in person. Rehearse your reason for leaving and everything else you plan to say and do your best to stick to it.
6. Prepare for a counteroffer. We’ll get into this later, but be prepared for your manager to offer you something in return for staying with the company.
7. Ask if you can use the company or your manager as a reference. This is important to do if you really want to use the company as a valuable reference when applying for other jobs.
8. Offer to recommend replacements and then train those replacements.
9. Leave with a “thank you” and sending a warm email to your coworkers thanking them for being on a team with you.

In addition to these steps for quitting, there are also a few tips and guidelines you should follow when quitting your job.

Guidelines On Resigning From A Job

There are a few general guidelines and tips to keep in mind when it comes to quitting a job:

Now, let’s take a look at what you absolutely should not do when you decide to quit your job.

Common Mistakes When Quitting A Job

There are a few mistakes one could make when quitting a job.

Let’s look at some How to Quit a Job You Just Started (Email Examples)

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur,, SparkHire, and many more.


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