How to Resign With Professionalism and Class

Congratulations are in order!

You launched a great job search, marketed a stellar executive resume and got the job offer you want…doesn’t get better than that.

Well, now comes the hard part. You have to say goodbye to your current employer.

  • What was your job situation?
  • Is it going to be an emotional farewell for you?

Whether you loved your current job or you have been counting the days till until you can walk away for good, don’t be surprised if you have reservation about resigning.

Most people are concerned about the reaction(s) they will get…however, your primary goal is to leave the job and protect your professional reputation and career interests.

Here are a few tips for how to leave your current job on a high note:

1. Give your current company adequate notice so they can plan accordingly

Regardless of how you feel about your current work environment or boss, stay professional until the very end. Provide your assistance, guidance and insights on transitioning your work to the next person.

2. Be clear about your work involvement once you have completely left the job

It is not uncommon that your old company may still want to call you or reach out to you for project assistance long after you have moved on.

If your company will need your expertise and additional help for an extended period of time, offer to work as a consultant as long as it doesn’t interfere with your new job.

3. Be clear about company policies on disclosures and non-compete agreements

Most companies have proprietary processes and systems that would limit what information you can take once you resign. If you created products or programs, you may not be able to take them or duplicate them outside of the company.

In some scenarios, you may be required to leave the workplace on the same day that you submit your resignation.

Likewise, your new employer may restrict you from consulting with a previous employer, especially a competitor.

Knowing these facts can ensure that you make the right decisions at all times.

4. Have a face-to-face meeting with your boss to submit your resignation

A direct, in-person conversation is really the best scenario regardless of your personal feelings about the work, the company or even your boss.

Your focus is to be as professional and respectful as possible in the process. If your boss is out of the office, the having a phone conversation (where possible) can also work.

Always make sure that your boss knows first and let him or her decide how the announcement should be handled internally.

5. Don’t burn bridges with your boss and your coworkers

Let’s be honest. Not every work situation is good, matter of fact, some are downright hostile and toxic. But even in those situations, you walk away learning something new.

You may learn to build better relationships, you may learn to recognize red flags, you may learn to speak up for yourself more. Whatever it is, you can count it as a learning experience.

More importantly, you never know when you will meet again in the professional realm.

6. Decline any counter offers from current company

Statistics say that 60% of professionals who accept a counter offer from their current employer end up leaving the job anyway in about six months.

Why? The same issues or concerns that prompted you to look outside the company for professional growth are still there. Sure they may offer you a higher salary, more perks or even the big office, but the culture and dynamics don’t change overnight.

If you have decided that it is time to move on, then keep move on.

7. Take the exit interview seriously and be honest with your responses

The real “ills” of the company should be no secret or surprise to the human resources department. However, don’t turn the exit interview into a gripe session…share your highs, your lows and everything in between.

Be open about why you are leaving and what changes should make to keep qualified employees like you.

Don’t leave room for your comments to be misinterpreted or misquoted.

8. Decide how much you want to share about your new role

Try not to divulge too much details about your new role especially your salary and benefits until you have left the company. Some professionals choose to not say anything at all, but that’s entirely up to you.

Shift those conversations into what you can do to make the transition easier and smoother for the company.

9. Don’t neglect your professional network

There may be a few colleagues whom you want to stay connected to after you leave the job. Make an effort to stay in contact through LinkedIn, industry conferences and other networking events to nurture those relationships.

Just because you leave your job, it doesn’t have to mean you leave your work friends behind. Again, you never know when you may cross paths again and be able to support each other in professional endeavors.

How did your last resignation go over with your boss? What have you learned from the experience?