How To Resign Gracefully (With Reasons and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Turning in your resignation letter isn't always an easy task. Once you've decided to change your job, it's important to resign gracefully to make the transition easier for you while maintaining good relationships with your co-workers. When you manage your resignation in a respectful and professional manner, it increases your chances of getting positive references from your managers and co-workers. In this article, we discuss how to resign gracefully from any job, along with some of the best reasons you can share for quitting your job.

What does it mean to resign gracefully?

Resigning gracefully implies that you inform your employer about your intention to quit your job in a respectful and dignified manner. It requires a good amount of preparation, tact and professionalism to resign gracefully. However, when you do so, you can achieve the following:

  • Maintain goodwill with your current employer, which can help you earn a positive reference

  • Strengthen your reputation as a considerate and trustworthy professional

  • Increase the likelihood your employer wishes to work with you in the future

  • Get sufficient time to complete your current tasks and activities and train co-workers to perform your duties when you leave

Read more: How to Tender Resignation Effectively (With Example Letters)

How to resign gracefully

Resigning gracefully from a job requires careful planning, so take some time to prepare and plan your resignation once you've received another job offer. Here are some steps to help guide you through the resignation process:

1. Understand your company's resignation policy

The standard notice period is one month, however, this may differ from one employer to the next. Refer to your job offer or employee handbook to understand how many days of notice you have to give. If you're unable to find this information, consider asking your human resources team. It's a good idea to give more than the required notice if you can, especially if you're resigning during a busy period or if your job is a complex and challenging one.

2. Talk to your manager

Even before notifying your co-workers and clients, it's important to discuss the resignation with your manager. It's best if you can notify them about your resignation in person if you can to showcase your professionalism and respect for your manager. However, if that's not an option, you can also discuss the matter over a phone call. Here are some points you can include in your conversation with the manager:

  • Your intended last day at the job

  • Why you're leaving the job, which may include accepting a new job or going for higher studies

  • Your appreciation for the opportunities you've had in your role

  • A transition plan and further actions

Read more: How To Write a Resignation Email (With Examples)

3. Submit your resignation letter

After you meet with the manager, submit a polite and professional resignation letter or email. Confirm with your manager about the acceptable format if you're unsure. Your resignation letter can ideally contain the following information:

  • A statement of your resignation

  • The role you're resigning from

  • Your intended last day of employment

  • Brief explanation stating your reason for resignation (optional)

  • Express gratitude to your employer for the job opportunity

  • Transition plan details

  • Contact details outside of work (optional)

Read more: Your Guide To Writing Proper Resignation Email Subject Lines

4. Work through your notice period diligently

Throughout your notice period, arrive on time and complete all your tasks and duties effectively. Plan your transition smoothly by organising your files appropriately and resolving your role in any ongoing projects. Document the typical processes that you follow to complete your daily tasks and activities. Any effort to make your transition easier during your notice period can create a lasting positive impression.

5. Return any company property

Return any company property that you have received, including laptops, phones, computers, keys and any other items in your possession that don't belong to you. Remove any personal files or contact details from your company-owned devices before returning them. Being proactive about returning these company properties can reflect positively on you.

Also, remember to clean up your desk and take all your belongings home. Leave your workspace tidy for the next employee. Make notes of the contact details of your colleagues with whom you want to stay in touch, as you may not be able to access the company's records and systems once you're no longer employed.

Tips for resigning gracefully

Here are some tips to help you resign from your job more gracefully:

Maintain positive communication

When discussing your reasons for leaving a company, emphasise the positive experiences and opportunities you've received in your current role. Resist the need to say anything negative about your role or the company. Instead, give importance to the skills you've learned, the friends you've made and the wonderful experiences you've had when talking to co-workers in your current and new organisation.

Limit talking about your new job

While serving your notice period, focus on your current job and keep the transition as smooth as possible. While you can answer questions about your next role, it may be better to keep your responses concise and speak humbly. Remaining focused on your current tasks before you leave the workplace can ensure you're able to complete as many of your responsibilities as possible.

Be open to staying longer

Sometimes employers may ask you to stay longer to help with the transition, especially if you work on a complex job or if you're resigning during a peak period. If you are able to stay longer, consider giving an extended notice period after discussing it with your new employer. However, if you cannot stay longer, apologise and be honest about your situation.

Say goodbye to co-workers

Before you leave, take time to send a farewell email to team members and co-workers, letting them know about your decision. It can be a brief email expressing gratitude for the professional or personal relationships you've built together. You can also include your personal contact details so that co-workers can stay in touch.

Ask for a reference

Ask your managers and co-workers for a reference. You can ask them to share the reference on professional social networks or via email. This can be of great use during your future job search endeavours.

Write a well-structured, formal resignation letter

It's a good idea to write a professional and formal resignation letter to finalise the details of your resignation, even if you have resigned via email or on the phone. Try to keep a polite and positive tone throughout your letter. You can also use this opportunity to express gratitude to your employer for all the professional development opportunities that you've received.

Best reasons to resign from your job

Sometimes you may have to quit your job because of personal or professional reasons. Though you may not have to share in-depth details about your reason to resign from your job, you can still be polite and offer a brief explanation. Here are some good reasons you can share when asked for a reason behind your resignation:

  • New job: Transitioning into a new job is one of the most common reasons for quitting a job. However, before you render your resignation letter, ensure that you have a confirmed job offer in hand.

  • Illness: Personal or family illness is also a common reason behind resigning from a job. However, in such situations, consider making sure you have continued health insurance even after you leave your current position.

  • Higher studies: Once you decide to go back to school, it may not be an easy task to manage your work and your studies. Resigning to focus on your studies might be a better option for you.

  • Difficult work environment: Having difficult managers and co-workers can create a negative and unpleasant office environment. When you've tried every option to have a collaborative and cohesive work environment, you may choose to leave the organisation.

  • Relocation: When you have to move to a different location for a personal reason, you may have to quit the job unless there are opportunities within your company at the new location or you can work remotely.

  • Career change: Sometimes people quit their job if they feel they've been working in the position for too long or if they want to explore an entirely new career.

  • Permanent position: If you're working as an intern or at a part-time job, one of the best explanations to give for resigning is that you've found a permanent full-time position elsewhere.

Explore more articles