How to Resign

There often comes a time when an employee chooses to move on to pastures new.

The reasons why can be many, but you should always take the high road in how you handle it with your employer.

You should have two goals when resigning from a job: informing your boss that you won't be working there any longer, and keeping that relationship intact enough that you can count on your boss's help when job hunting in the future. The former is easy, but the latter requires some finesse. Here are some tips for the best way to resign from a job.

Give two weeks notice

Proper etiquette dictates giving your boss two weeks notice so that he has some time to replace you and have you train your replacement. Some companies will ask you leave immediately upon giving notice, usually for security reasons, but most will want to keep you on as long as possible.

Put it in writing

In most cases you will be asked for a written letter of resignation. Type it up in advance and include the date of your last day of work.

Give a polite answer to why you're leaving

If you do not immediately say why you are leaving your job, you will be asked. If the job you are leaving is part-time or a temp job and you've found full-time employment, say so. Most employers and colleagues will be happy for you and might even throw you a going away party.

If you've found a job that pays better or advances your career, or that is closer to the field you'd like to be working in, explain that the new job is a step forward in your career. If you're leaving because your current job is just awful or because your boss or another colleague is making your life a living hell, it will not help to tell the truth in this instance.

Complaints from people who have already resigned are quickly ignored at 99% of companies. If you want to avoid burning bridges, say, "I appreciate the time I've worked here. I've learned a lot, and now it's time for me to move on." It's essentially the same thing you should say if you've found a better job that advances your career.

Let your boss make the announcement

Your boss should be the first person you tell that you're leaving because you don't want him finding out from someone else at work. Then give him a few days to make an announcement to your colleagues before you notify everyone else. Telling people face to face is fine, but don't send out any mass emails to your entire department — that's your boss's job.

Give notice to the company that signs your paychecks

If you're working for a temp agency, a subcontractor, or another employment agency, they are technically your direct employer and will probably be responsible for replacing you. Make sure to give them two weeks notice that you are changing jobs too.

Build your network

If your boss seems nice, go ahead and ask if you can use him as a reference in the future. If he says yes, make sure to contact him the next time you are looking for a job to ask if he knows of any openings. Make sure to exchange contact info with your favorite colleagues too. Staying in touch with old bosses and colleagues is the easiest and most effective way to network.

Good luck at the new job!

Carissa Doshi is a business writer and the president of Gen Y Media Group. She gives career advice and blogs about her experiences on You can also follow @CarissaDoshi on Twitter.

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