What to do When Resigning to Leave on the Best of Terms

What to do When Resigning to Leave on the Best of Terms

Are you preparing to step away from your current employer but don't necessarily know where to begin? There is a right way to resign, and following these five steps will help you through the process. How you exit from your role can leave a lasting impact on your professional relationships. Resigning can be daunting, but it is extremely important, and possible, to remain positive through the end of your tenure. Consider these important tactics when preparing and executing a smooth, amicable off-board from your current company. 

Prepare for Your Departure
It’s imperative to keep your decision confidential with your current employer until they are ready to share the news with the whole team. Notifying your boss or supervisor before making your final decision public knowledge leaves a courteous impression. Allowing your boss to hear and process your parting news before all others gives them the opportunity to strategically position your exit with the rest of your team and dedicate time to finding your replacement. A cognizant approach to the impact your departure will make sends the message you want to give your boss a chance to prepare for a smooth exit.


Timing is Everything
Giving adequate notice is crucial. The standard notice is traditionally two weeks but refer to your employee handbook to confirm what your current employer expects from you and follow suit. Not only is giving your current employer a timeline respectful, but your future employer also likely needs that turnaround time. Being transparent with both parties about your expected off-boarding timeline from the current employer is imperative.

Face to Face is Key
Just like any important meeting, holding your resignation discussion in person is the best way to both show respect and avoid miscommunication, as written messages or even a phone call could be misconstrued.  Arranging a time to meet with your boss or supervisor shows a level of respect for your current employer and yourself. Don’t forget to be well-prepared for this meeting, either. Write out a list of points you would like to emphasize during the conversation, and schedule the meeting for enough time to talk through the details. Before you go into this meeting, think about how you prepared for your interview with this employer before accepting the job.


A professional conversation deserves a professional approach; dress accordingly, know how you will present the information and be prepared to answer questions. Confidence in your end and start date, reasons for leaving, and the gratitude you are taking with you are vital during this conversation and can make or break the relationship you’ll have with your employer following your last day. Remaining clear and confident will help reassure your employer and yourself this is a definitive decision. 

Staying Positive and Sticking with the Facts
Depending on the circumstances, it can be challenging to stay calm and positive when you are discussing your resignation with your boss. However, it is possible to achieve a smooth transition while leaving a positive impression of your work and your time there behind. Professional growth is normal and should be celebrated. That in and of itself is a reason to stay positive in your final weeks. This will only benefit you in the long run. Change can also bring up emotions, so keep the resignation factual to eliminate any emotional pivots in the conversation. After all, the conversation you have can very well lead to an invaluable recommendation and a reliable reference down the road.

Finishing Strong

Putting in your notice can create a gap within a workflow or even your entire team. Maintaining your responsibilities as an active contributor and collaborator for your team during your last few weeks is highly recommended if you want to leave on good terms. Make it easy for a new hire to pick up where you left off with incomplete projects and be clear about next steps and action items. This will not only alleviate the extra work your team may have to carry until you’re replaced, but also will serve as a strong legacy beyond your last day.

Check in with your HR department to confirm your off-board has been successful and you have capitalized on all you are eligible to collect.

Finally, offer an assisting hand with your replacement if you have the bandwidth to do so during your time left at the company. Making yourself available to train your new hire shows respect and reliability. Another easy way to leave a lasting impression is to offer to write a positive company review or a referral to mend any awkwardness or tension around your departure.


The way you manage your departure from a company can determine the continuing trajectory of your career. Maintaining, not burning, bridges is invaluable long-term, and can also leave the door open for a strong future reference or even a return to the company. Handling yourself with transparency and efficiency is critical for your professional reputation. Conclude your relationship with your employer as professionally as you began it. Throughout your resignation timeline, continue a positive personal brand and enter the next chapter of your career on a confident note. If you're about to embark on the next step of your career, congratulations, and consider utilizing these five tactics for a smooth and mindful transition.

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