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12 Tips to Quit Your Job the Right Way

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Kaitlyn has a background in psychology and writes articles that teach you how to lean on your body, mind, heart, and on those around you.

Because there's a right and a wrong way!

Because there's a right and a wrong way!

In today’s job market, it’s become increasingly rare for an employee to stay with the same company for their entire career. So, sooner or later, we’ll find ourselves in a situation where we’re ready to quit our jobs. Whether it’s because we’ve been offered a better position, escaping a toxic work environment, or because we’re relocating to a different city or country, quitting a job can be an intimidating prospect. This is especially the case since the way we quit our jobs is just as important as how we start a new one.

Here are twelve tips to remember when handing in your notice.

Poll: Quitting a Job

Prepare for your exit interview just as you would a job interview.

Prepare for your exit interview just as you would a job interview.

1. Know and Follow the Rules

Every company will have different rules and processes for employees who are leaving. Most companies will require an official, written resignation letter and exit interviews with your superiors. During your exit interview, make sure you’re clear on what employee benefits and any remaining salary you’re entitled to when you leave. Do you have an unused vacation or sick pay available for you to collect? Can you maintain your pension plan? It may help to prepare a list of questions to ask during your meeting with your superiors so you don’t miss anything and know exactly what you need to do.

2. Be Respectful

An exit interview will be held in most companies to give you the opportunity to share feedback, for the company to have a chat and perhaps try to renegotiate to see if they can make you stay. During your meeting, make sure you stay professional and carefully word any criticisms you may have no matter how frustrated you feel. No matter how much you may want to give your superiors a piece of your mind, keep the conversation positive and constructive.

3. Help With the Transition

It’s easy to think: You’re leaving in a week or two anyway, so why bother taking on more work? Yes, it’s tempting to slack off in the days leading up to your exit from the company, but don’t.

Stay professional and spend your time at the office making the transition as seamless as possible for your coworkers. Pass on anything that needs to be passed on, tie up any loose ends, and train your replacement if they've started work already. It’s always smart to leave your workplace in a better condition than when you arrived. Leaving a positive impression may help your career down the line since you never know when you’ll see your colleagues again.

4. Stay Professional

While it may feel deeply satisfying to trash your desk and walk out without a backward glance, you will come to regret it later. You never know when you’ll need a good reference, or when future employers will call up your previous colleagues for a chat. It can only work in your favor if you leave with integrity and professionalism.

5. Maintain Your Integrity

On the subject of integrity, don’t do anything unethical, illegal, immoral, or anything that goes against your company’s policies before you leave (or even after you’ve left, for that matter). No further explanation should be necessary for this point.

6. Ask for a Reference

Don’t forget to ask for an official letter of recommendation from your immediate supervisor. As time passes and people move on to other jobs or countries, it can be easy to lose track of ex-colleagues and employers. So if you don’t know how to get in touch with your past employer anymore when you need their contact information for a job application, you’ll have that letter of recommendation handy. You can also upload the letter on LinkedIn to allow any prospective employers a better understanding of what kind of worker you will be.

7. Return Company Property

Don’t make your company chase you to get any keys, documents, phones, computers, or any other company property back. No matter what kind of information you may have handled during your time at the company, you don’t want to get stuck in a potentially compromising situation just because you were a little slow on returning company property.

8. Prepare for the Exit Interview

Prepare for your exit interview just as you would a job interview. Prepare for multiple scenarios. What would you do if your superiors want to you stay and makes you a very favorable counter offer? If there are circumstances that may delay your departure from the company, how would you respond? Know why you want to leave and if there will be anything that could convince you to stay. If your reason for leaving is negative, try to word it as tactfully, but honestly, as possible if asked.

Poll: Reasons For Quitting

Don't be negative! Try to stay positive until your departure.

Don't be negative! Try to stay positive until your departure.

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Toughnickel

1. Don't Be Negative

When talking about your departure with colleagues, don’t complain or express your frustrations in a negative way. Not only will you leave a bad impression, but it will always be in your best interest to leave the company on positive terms.

2. Don't Brag

Just like you shouldn’t complain about your current job to your co-workers, you should also avoid bragging about your new job. It's not worth it to make your soon-to-be ex-colleagues feel bad about your leaving or that you’ve found something better. Celebrate your new job outside of the office instead.

3. Don’t Write Everything Down

No matter how much you dislike your job, your company, or your boss, don’t put it in your resignation letter. That letter will be in your employment file for years after you’ve moved on with your life and can come back to haunt you. If you need to vent, vent to your close friends and family, not at work.

4. Don't Just Leave

Even if your colleagues don’t throw you a farewell party, don’t forget to say goodbye. Send an email to tell your colleagues that you’re moving on to something else and to say goodbye. If you’d like to stay in touch, you can choose to leave them your personal contact information as well.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2018 KV Lo


Mike Brumley on April 21, 2019:

Im starting a new job on 4/22/2019, nervous as hell because of having to start all over again(involuntary separation). Anyway if this job doesnt work out how much notice should i give? 2wks?

Will i have to put this job on my resume and or new job applications?

I wont quit unless i have a job lined up.

Im open for suggestions please and thanks.

Erika Lancaster on August 21, 2018:

Great article! It's so important to leave a job professionally and respectfully. We shouldn't burn any bridges and risk not having great recommendations!

Jennifer on May 09, 2018:

Helping with the transition is such a great way to go! You want to do what is best for you, but you also don't want to leave the other company in a lurch. Great list of advice!

Sigrid Says on May 06, 2018:

Great points you have tackled. I haven't had a "job" for 16 years now so I forgot how it is to work in the corporate world already. But this is great for professionals now.

Renata on May 03, 2018:

I assume that this is written rather for American readers?! Here in Europe, we have less of this almost job nomadic hire and fire mentality. People do stay longer with their company, I believe. However, yes, it is very important to leave a good impression when....leaving. Like they say: Be nice to the people on your way up, you might meet them again on your way down....

ana on May 03, 2018:

I agree that it is so important to remain professional when you are leaving your job because otherwise it can affect your reputation with future employers. There are exceptions to the rule of course but it is important to be polite.

eliza on May 02, 2018:

A sound advice, there are so many reasons that could lead us leaving our job but at the end of the day everything that we do even exiting our current task might define our attitude, so better keep our dignity by doing it right.

Nathan on May 02, 2018:

The points you make here to quit are valid. But sometimes when the work environment people act up and stuff, you really want to give it to them but it is recommended not to do so. I will keep this in mind next time I apply for a resignation.

John Sallie on May 01, 2018:

Some great advice. It is simply common courtesy to treat others with the same respect we ourselves would wish to be afforded. Plus, you never know, you may need to return one day should things not work out at the new place of employment.

Iya - Louisa on May 01, 2018:

Some great advice here! I quit my job and it was one of the best decisions I have made. Good luck to anyone else who is making this decision.

Sheila Price on April 26, 2018:

Great advice! I've quit the right way...and the wrong way. And these tips are spot on. Thanks!

KV Lo (author) on April 25, 2018:

@Lydia Samson: Yes, thank you! Being profession to the very last second is key to leaving a good impression, which is never a bad thing. Thanks for reading. :)

Lydia Samson on April 25, 2018:

I love that your focus is maintaining professionalism and character when leaving a job, that is so important! It will impact whether or not they will give a reference letter for you.

Bryan on April 24, 2018:

I have left companies for different reasons, but better opportunity was my most common reason. I've never worked in a truly toxic environment, but I know many who have and they felt great when they moved on

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