One of the most challenging situations in your professional journey is making the transition to a new job. This point comes in almost everyone’s professional life—whatever the reasons to quit—for better opportunities, incompatible workplace culture, lack of growth, or anything else.
How you quit your job is as crucial as how you start the new one. It’s a key pinch point when grace and professionalism are more important than ever. It’s a time to strongly adhere to organizational norms and maintain good relationships with your employer and colleagues. When you resign professionally and gracefully it enhances your chances of getting positive references from your former manager and co-workers. You carry your reputation with you to your new employer.
Any mistake made at the critical point of quitting your job will change everything—it will spoil the reputation earned through years of work with the company. So it is essential to quit gracefully, giving the required notice to your employer through a formal resignation letter per your employment contract terms with the organization. This way, you will be helping your employer with transitioning responsibilities to their new employee and making a smooth exit.
Here are some powerful tips on gracefully quitting your job and helping your employer pass on the job assignment smoothly to the employee replacing you, while keeping your reputation intact.
8 Tips on how to gracefully quit your job
Whether you have been with the same company for a long time, or are a new employee, give yourself time to ensure that you have planned your resignation carefully and thoughtfully after getting a job offer elsewhere. You can quit your job with grace and in a professional way by following these steps:
1. Provide a professional resignation letter
A formal resignation often entails notifying your employer in person and in writing. In some circumstances, you will have to resign by phone or email. Many companies do not require a written resignation—however, some organizations still need formal resignations.
Whatever the circumstance, it is always worth sending a formal letter of resignation providing the required notice to your employer. You need to exhibit courtesy and professionalism in your written resignation.
While writing your resignation, you should provide your employer with a formal letter that entails your decision to quit mentioning the following elements clearly:
- A candid statement mentioning your decision to resign
- The effective date of resignation and the notice time
- The reasons for your resigning from the job
- Identify the incomplete tasks in your assignment
- How you will assist with the transition
- Sincere thanks for the time spent with the organization
- Your signature, along with your contact details for future inquiries.
2. Don’t tell anyone until the new job is confirmed
People usually leave their current employment to start a better position or a preferred work environment that fits their values or, in some cases, switch over for specific other reasons. Whatever the reason for quitting your current job, it is essential to be clear with all the details with your new employer before you resign.
Don’t resign until you have received a conclusive offer of employment in writing from your new employer. If the letter says the offer is ‘subject to references’ or any other conditions, then wait until this stage is also confirmed until you resign from your current job. This way, you will ensure a smooth transition without having any notice hassles.
3. Make a sincere effort throughout your notice period
Whatever notice period is required by your contract, if you want to leave with your reputation intact make sure that you maintain a professional attitude right up until the end of your time with the company. No matter how great an employee you have been during years with the company, the ending is what is most strongly remembered. So make sure that you leave after a positive final stretch.
Notice periods can vary depending on your role and the needs of the organisation or industry norms. You must ask your HR if you are unable to find this information. If the role demands, for example if you are in a particularly senior or unique role, you should consider providing more than the needed notice.
You must act professionally to handle all the tasks attending to them in time and trying to complete the incomplete tasks—doing this will resolve the problem of transition and organize the project files to make your successor’s onward journey smoother. Make sure to document typical processes to make them easily accessible and workable for your replacement.
The effort you make during your notice period will be appreciated for a long time. In some instances, your services will be terminated immediately after you submit your resignation—under such circumstances, you may be asked to leave the office after you formally submit your resignation.
4. Offer to train your successor
Resigning from your job demands a smooth transition of the tasks and projects you have been handling in the workplace for a long time. To ensure a smooth and graceful transition you may need to provide training and mentoring to your replacement. Helping to train your replacement will assist in a seamless transition and relieve some of the burdens on your boss and team.
Whenever an employee decides to quit the current company role, the staff change in that particular role is always stressful for the manager and the employer. In such cases, either your co-worker fills in the gap to carry out the responsibilities, or a replacement is placed to carry on the role. In both cases, it is cumbersome for the employer and your manager to find an immediate fit for your role, and you need to offer to train your co-workers or your replacement.
Make a list of your top priorities and include any advice you’ve picked up along the road. You must provide this information to your manager to aid onboarding, or if your notice period is extended or you plan to stay long enough, you must give it to your successor directly.
Give your team members up-to-date information on the progress of your projects if your replacement is yet to be found.
5. Handover company property
Make a list of the company items that are in your possession currently. Your smooth exit entails handing over the property to your employer or the relevant departments before you leave the job, and obtaining a NOC from the concerned departments and finally handing it over to HR will be an appreciative move on your part.
If any items are damaged during your assignment with the company, getting them repaired to the condition you received them before you hand them over will be great. Also, make it a point to delete all your files from electronic gadgets before handing them over.
Ensure all the company’s property is returned before your last working day. You must do this to avoid losing out on favourable references, rewards, and in some cases, career possibilities in the future.
6. Inform your close co-workers personally
When you work in an organization for a long time, or sometimes even for a shorter duration, you develop close working relationships with co-workers. You obviously do not want your boss to learn about your imminent departure from someone else, but at the same time, you do not want those close colleagues to find out you’re leaving at the last minute. Their workload will likely be impacted also by your departure so make sure that you do share your plans with colleagues when the time is right.
It is always great to inform your co-workers about your decision to move on after you have formally discussed and made your manager and HR aware of your decision. A personal interaction regarding your decision to quit is always a way forward—thanking your colleagues and your boss, in particular, will be considered a graceful act on your part. You may also want to exchange personal contact information with co-workers you want to be in touch with. LinkedIn is a great way of keeping in touch with your personal network of colleagues and partners after you’ve moved on.
7. Tidy up your workspace
Clean out your workstation and leave it, and any equipment you use, in an immaculate condition. We are all trained by feedback systems to do this with airbnb these days, apply the same priniples to your work transition.
Make sure that you do not leave any sensitive information—handover everything over to your manager or HR department. Make sure you return external disks and devices containing vital information related to your job—ensure these belongings are correctly used.
Remove your personal effects from your locker, desk, and nearby space.
Organize work files so your co-worker or successor can locate essential documents and other things on them quickly.
8. Prepare for an exit interview
Exit interviews are typically conducted to mainly ascertain the reasons for quitting the job, how satisfied or dissatisfied you are with the company, and what you think to be done to improve it. The exit interview, usually conducted by HR during your notice period, is an attempt by your employer to find some useful insights, gaps, information, and other valuable inputs to help them bridge those gaps and focus on being a better employer.
You must provide accurate feedback to help your employer grow and never be biased—be composed and provide a frank and fair opinion based on your experiences. It’s fair to provide frank comments on work culture, pay, and perks.
Wrapping up on vital tips to gracefully quit your job
One of the key moments in your career is to decide to quit your job and work with a new employer. While this decision needs to be taken after considering many factors— it is vital that you quit in a manner that does not hamper your onward professional journey in any way.
When you decide to resign, make sure that your plans include making a smooth transition. You might have the next step in your career in hand, but you don’t know what the long-term future holds and when the perception of your previous colleagues might just make all the difference. Take care of your reputation, in any career it’s the most important asset that you have.