Business Miscellaneous

How to Resign from Your Job and Leave on Good Terms

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So you’ve decided to call it quits and look for greener pastures. 

In fact, you’re contemplating the idea of coming into the office with a resignation cake and putting it on your boss’ desk.

Peace out!

But—you’ve got to be careful. If you fail to quit your job gracefully, it might ruffle some feathers and prevent you from securing a glowing reference letter.

Take heart.

You’re a quick scroll-down away from learning how to say sayonara in class and enjoy the smoothest future you can have.

Look before you leap

Picture this:

You hand in your notice before you find a new job. Three months later, you keep spiraling downward into a jobless vortex and exhaust your lifetime savings.

Do you catch my drift?

The point is, always quit your job only after you have another offer in hand.

Below are three quick and dirty tips to help improve your hirability chances and prep for the leap.

  • Update your LinkedIn profile. Most recruiters look up prospective hires on LinkedIn before scheduling an interview. So, make sure your online presence is spotless. 
  • Brush up your resume. Learn how to write a robust resume and read about small things like how to email a resume or how to format your resume for maximum impact.
  • Always provide a cover letter. Despite the talk in the industry that cover letters are dead in 2020, they aren’t. So always submit a cover letter along with your resume.

Do the three, and you’ll land a new job in a heartbeat.

Have the talk with your boss

I wouldn’t hire him again.

That’s the last thing you want your ex-boss to say to your prospective employer.


Before you break the news to your manager, make sure you don’t goof and tell your peers you’ve decided to jump ship.


If your boss finds out about your plans through the grapevine, it’ll make you look bad. 

So—mum’s the word and wait until after you’ve had the talk. 

Below are a few rules for it:

First, don’t quit your job over email or Zoom unless your company is still working in a remote capacity. If you quit in person, you’ll probably enjoy the sweaty palms time, but it’s the only way to do it right.

When you do tell your boss you’re leaving, make sure to be polite and don’t vent about the job (remember, you need a solid reference letter.) 

Lastly, focus on the positive aspects of your soon-past job and pick a few things to thank your boss for.


What if they make a counteroffer or beg you to stay?

If more money can fix the problem, consider asking for a raise first, and see if your employer can match or exceed the offer.

If you’re quitting your boss and not your job, say you’ve already accepted the offer.

Pro tip: Give at least two weeks’ notice. Your boss will be grateful, as they’ll have enough time to prep the transition.

Pen a letter of resignation

Did you really need to write a letter of resignation if you just had the talk with your boss?


If you want them to remember you fondly or you ever need the job back, do it. Plus, it’s fairly easy to pen it.

Below are some rules for writing a resignation letter:

  • Explain why you decided to resign.
  • Give your exit date.
  • Show gratitude and say something good about the company or job.
  • Offer help with the transition.

Need a real-life example of a resignation letter? Check out this Hubspot guide.

Clear out formalities

You have got a brand-new professional life ahead of you.


If you fail to sort out formalities with your current job, you’ll shoot yourself in the foot. 

So—before you leave, there are a couple of things you need to do.

First, ask the HR team when you can pick up your last check and if there will be another one coming.

Next, check your company policy to settle matters with your vacation days. Do they vanish, or do you have to use them up before you can quit? Figure this out.

Lastly, make sure to return the company property (e.g., laptop, mouse, monitor, phone.) You wouldn’t want to come off as dishonest.

Do these things, and spare yourself the hassle later.

Bid adieu to peers

I need to warn you about him.

Sounds like a nightmare, right?

That’s what your peers might say when the new employer calls up your references. 


To avoid it, write a solid goodbye email to coworkers. Not only will they have a better memory of you if you do, but it’s also great networking. 

Who knows, maybe one of them is holding a ticket to your future dream job.

Below are six tips to write a solid farewell letter to coworkers.

  • Keep things nice and short.
  • Always send personal emails.
  • Say something positive. 
  • Don’t talk about your plans or brag about the new job.
  • Mention you want to stay in touch.
  • List your contact info.

Need a sample goodbye email to coworkers? Check out this Indeed guide.

So—what do you think?

There you have it.

A whopping five tips on how to quit your job on good terms.

About the author


Max Woolf

Max Woolf is a writer at ResumeLab. He’s passionate about helping people land their dream jobs through the expert career industry coverage. In his spare time, Max enjoys biking and traveling to European countries. You can hit him up on LinkedIn.