Learn How To Quit a Job Effectively (With Steps and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 12 October 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.

When facing a turning point or a new path in your career, it's commonplace to inform your current employer of your intentions to leave your job as you work towards your future endeavours. It's necessary to follow certain steps when leaving your job because it may be a legal requirement, and you can help make sure to leave on a respectful and positive note. Learning how to leave a job effectively can help you foster positive relationships. In this article, we explore how to quit a job, explain why it's important to do it respectfully and provide steps and tips to guide you as you plan to resign.

How to quit a job

When you decide to leave your current role, it's necessary to plan how to quit the job in a way that benefits both you and your employer. Follow the steps below to guide you in leaving your job effectively:

1. Plan and decide when to resign

Before leaving your job, take the time to plan the timing of your exit carefully and keep a date in mind for your last day. Consider your reasons for leaving, whether it's a feeling of frustration or demotivation in your current job, securing a new opportunity, relocating to another country, pursuing higher studies or starting your own business. List out all the professional and personal reasons that have led you to leave the position, as this is often the basis of your conversation with relevant stakeholders such as your manager and HR team.

2. Consider the notice period

When planning to leave your job, carefully read through your contract and company policy regarding the notice period for your resignation. It may be mandatory by law for companies to follow specific processes and timelines for resignations when they relate to payments and other obligations of the company. Notice periods may last anywhere from seven days to at least a month depending on your contract, role and company policy. When resigning, time your last day appropriately to be in line with your future commitments, be it starting a new job or going back to school.

Related: How To Write a One Month's Notice (With Template and Example)

3. Talk to your manager or supervisor

Before you intend to leave your job, speak with your manager or supervisor before anyone else. Doing so demonstrates your respect and professionalism towards them by meeting them in person. Request a suitable time in your manager's schedule for a meeting to discuss your impending resignation. Make a list of the points that you'd like to discuss such as your last day, any specific reasons for leaving the job, plans that you have for making the transition easier and your appreciation for the opportunities you've taken on.

It's possible for your manager to try and persuade you to stay with the company by offering a change in responsibilities, a promotion or a change in salary. It's at this stage that you decide if you want to proceed with resigning or would like to consider the options your manager has offered and decide to stay. Consider whether it's in your career interests to continue or resign, depending on the reasons that made you decide to resign in the first place.

Related: How To Explain Your Reason for Resignation (With Examples)

4. Write and submit your resignation letter

After you've met with your manager and have come to an agreement on the terms of your resignation, prepare and write your resignation letter. From your meeting with your manager, you may include necessary details in your letter, such as your last day of employment, your intention to resign and your reasons for your resignation. Additionally, express gratitude for the opportunities they've provided and share your contact details if necessary. Proofread your letter for any errors before submitting it to the relevant stakeholders such as your manager and the HR department.

Related: How To Write a Resignation Letter (With Examples)

5. Prepare for the transition

After formally informing your employer of your intention to resign, the period of transition begins. Depending on your notice period, the company usually prepares to replace you in the days up to your last day. Discuss with your manager or supervisor how you can be of assistance during this time by diligently collating and maintaining all information about your responsibilities so that your successor can effectively take over from you with minimal disruption. In some instances, your manager may request you to train, observe and supervise your replacement until they perform satisfactorily or to assist in the hiring process.

6. Meet with the HR department

Depending on company policy, your HR department may request to meet with you as you get close to or on your last day. HR uses this opportunity to meet with you and understand the reasons that prompted you to resign by conducting an exit interview. Answer the questions as honestly as possible unless there are sensitive issues that you prefer not to discuss, in which case you can express your intention not to share certain information. On your last day, HR usually requests that you hand over all company property and complete your exit procedures before you leave the office.

7. Announce your exit to others

Ask your manager and HR professionals if it's appropriate for you to announce your exit to specific teams and colleagues within the company. If you obtain permission to do so, make sure you have a list of people whom you'd like to inform of your exit. Write a brief email letting the recipients know about your last day and express your gratitude for the relationships you've built and the opportunities you had working together. Sign off by providing your contact details, so that your colleagues can stay in touch with you after you've left the company.

Why is it important to learn how to leave a job?

When leaving your job, it's important that you do so as positively and respectfully as possible. It shows that you have respect, dignity, professionalism and integrity when informing your employer that you intend to resign from the position. In doing so, you can maintain relationships with your company, managers and colleagues beyond your exit and establish a positive reputation of being reliable, trustworthy and considerate at the time of your exit. Additionally, it provides the company with an ample amount of time to find a replacement, train them and complete the transition.

Tips to consider when leaving your job

Below are some tips to consider when planning to leave your job:

Be positive in your communication

Throughout the process, from discussing your intention to resign and right up to your last day, remain positive in your communication towards your manager, HR, colleagues and the company. When discussing your reasons for resigning, emphasise the positive experiences you've had and express gratitude to the company. Stating anything negative has the potential to cause issues in your professional relationships with others. This also extends to when you're joining a new company and are creating new professional relationships. Staying positive through the process can leave a lasting positive impression and maintain your professional reputation.

Consider flexibility in your notice period

Depending on your reasons for resigning, you may consider being flexible with your last day if the company requires more time for the transition. Assist as much as you can in the transition process, documenting all your responsibilities. Be willing to help hire and train your replacement if necessary, as it can help keep your notice period in check if you prefer to exit on your original date in line with your intention. If starting a new job on a predetermined date, apologise and state that you may not be able to extend your notice period.

Create a checklist for your last day

Plan for your last day by creating a checklist of the various items that you may need to return and formalities that you have to complete to ensure a smooth and clean exit. Check with HR and your manager before your last day to see if they require anything from you before you complete your exit formalities. Make a list of company property, documents and other items that you intend to return and read through the HR's exit process to note what important documents you require from them for your next job.

Ask for references

By maintaining a positive attitude throughout your notice period and beyond, you also maintain a professional reputation with your colleagues, supervisors and the company. This can be valuable for you as you can request them to be your reference for your jobs. Make sure to maintain a list of contacts and your relationships with them by connecting through calls, email, social media and social meetings. Sustaining positive professional relationships can help if there comes a time to request them to be your reference, especially if you know that they can speak well about you professionally in your next job application.

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