How to Properly Resign From a Position

By Kaitlin Hurtado on January 10, 2020

You may be thinking that there is no graceful or proper way to quit a job, regardless of the position. However, there are plenty of things you can do (and things you can commit to not doing) to make your resignation as professional as possible. You won’t be remembered just by the way you performed while on the job, but also how you go about resigning from your job. If you resign unprofessionally (without notice, behaving poorly, fighting within the workplace), it will be attached to your professional identity, regardless of how well you may have performed in the company.

If you are considering quitting your job in the near future, here are tips on how to properly resign from a position.

Photo: Pexels

Timing is important

When people think of the go-to method for resigning from a position, they often think of a two weeks notice. Meaning, the standard for resignations if submitting a resignation at least two weeks in advance – your resignation is effective two weeks after submission. However, this is not always the appropriate amount of time. Be sure to check any possible employment contract or paperwork to see if there is a specified amount for notice.

What you do not want to do is become a no-show or a “ghost” in the workplace. Don’t be that person that just disappears on everyone, not bothering to even give mention of resignation. It is not fair to your coworkers, who will have to scramble to pick up the slack. It is also not fair on yourself — you may be avoiding the confrontation of resignation, but you are effectively cutting yourself off from future opportunities. This doesn’t mean not being able to return to the company you are quitting, but also losing out on the networking or references you may have built from your time in the position. No one will want to recommend or vouch for someone that left them in the dark, especially in the middle of an important task or project.

Don’t take your resignation as a time to vent

If your time in a job position was less than pleasant, you do not want to necessarily let that show in your resignation, especially if it’s something like your resignation letter that will likely be paired with your employee record. You don’t want to be remembered as the person who spent an entire page declaring your hatred for a coworker, your boss, or your job position. Do not brag about the job position or company you are moving onto, no matter how much you may want to.

Try to focus on the positives of your time with the company. Instead of focusing on what you didn’t get to do, or things you didn’t like about the company, try to focus on the opposite. Incorporate some aspect of gratitude in your resignation letter, write about what you are thankful for: things you have learned, opportunities you were given, and so on.

If you do think you need to bring attention to the reasons you are quitting, like harassment in the workplace or unsafe working conditions, go about reporting it properly. If you truly want action to happen, pursue it, just don’t complain about it just because you can now that you are quitting.

Go through with an exit interview, and do it properly

When you submit your resignation, you may be asked to conduct an exit interview. An exit interview can be seen as something similar to a job assessment or evaluation. It is a meeting that takes place between a company’s human resources department and yourself. Rather than evaluating your performance, they are looking for your input on evaluating the company and improve future company relations.

The company is looking for your honest feedback during an exit interview, whether it be an online survey or in-person interview. You don’t have to lie and pretend your time at the company was all sunshine and roses, because it likely wasn’t Remember to be respectful even when criticizing. Your exit interview will be attached to your employee record at the company, and possibly help build your future recommendations, whether it be positive or negative.

Prepare yourself

Even if you have your resignation planned down to the sentence, your boss may not react the way you want them to. They may even terminate your employment immediately after you submit your resignation. Make sure to prepare yourself for immediate termination – back up any files you do not want to lose on your work computer.

Resigning from a job position is not easy, whether you really like your company or don’t like it at all. Either way, make sure you are leaving your position as gracefully as possible, starting with a proper resignation. Don’t let an improper resignation get in the way of your future opportunities, whether it be with your current company or another.

By Kaitlin Hurtado

Uloop Writer
Hello! I'm Kaitlin, a fourth year Literary Journalism major at UC Irvine. I'm a writer on Uloop's national team and a campus editor for UCI.

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