10 Best Practices in a Job Resignation

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Job transitions are always stressful so having a checklist to do it right is helpful. Here are 10 best practices for you to use in your next job resignation.


1. Be Sure

As recruiters I can’t tell you how often we have to advise people NOT to resign their current job until their new job offer is signed, sealed and delivered. Expecting a job offer is not the same as having a written job offer in hand. Be sure this is the job you want and the company hiring wants you just as much.

2. Tell Your Direct Supervisor First and In Person

Having your boss find out from HR or from her boss that you are leaving is a big no-no. Your direct supervisor is your best chance at a future good reference, don’t lose that option just from the lack of professional courtesy of letting her know first.

3. Agree with Your Supervisor How Others Will be Told

Ask your manager how she would like you to share your job resignation in the company. Volunteer to tell your coworkers and internal clients individually and give her the opportunity to tell her boss and HR.

4. Give Two Weeks’ Notice

Two weeks’ notice is the professional standard and there are all sorts of reasons detailed in our blog, I Quit! Do I Have to Give Two Weeks’ Notice?, why you should adhere to that standard.

5. Follow up in Writing

While tendering your job resignation in-person to your boss, have a typed and signed job resignation letter to give him immediately. It formalizes your intentions and makes the resignation seem professional and not personal.

6. Be Prepared to Leave Immediately

If you are in a position where you have critical company information or you are leaving to go to a competitor, be prepared to be escorted to the door immediately upon your job resignation. Don’t take this personally, it is often policy. Make sure you are prepared for this to happen. Clean up and clean out your personal information from company files and your personal items from your work space. You may not have the opportunity after you resign.

7. Work Hard and Be Positive

If you do stay from some period of time at your current company after your job resignation, make the time count. Be positive in all your interactions, even if your reasons for leaving are negative ones. Help your colleagues understand the projects you had in process and the concern you have for their increased work load due to your leaving. You could definitely run into these colleagues or supervisors again and nurturing the relationships now will have dividends for your career in the future.

8. Discuss Benefits with HR

Clarify your medical coverage for the transition, vacation time and bonus or commission due and person to contact in the event you need one for a background check.

9. Be Factual in Exit Interview

Prepare for your exit interview as you would for any job interview. Even if your emotions are strong about the situations you faced at your current job, don’t let them enter into this conversation. Stick to the facts. Explain why your new position is an opportunity to add to your career skills or a step up in compensation or an opportunity to work with a smaller/larger company. Do NOT dwell on interpersonal issues or your hurt feelings.

10. Stay in Touch

As mentioned previously, your colleagues and your management may reappear in your career down the road. You may need one of them for a reference in the future. Keep in touch on an annual basis at least.


Networking is a key facet of any job search, or really, any career. Network with the recruiters at Smith Hanley Associates. We’d love to assist you in your job search.

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