Resigning from a job on good terms

At some point in your career, there will most likely come a time when you need to resign from your role. This might be due to a new job opportunity, an upcoming move, or the result of a major life event. Whatever the case, resigning from a job on good terms is important, so you should always strive for diplomacy and professionalism.

This could provide an opportunity to return to the company some day, and it can prevent you from burning important bridges with managers and others. Down the road, you may discover that someone who was your boss or manager in a previous role is now in a position to hire you in a new role.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at how to stay cool and get it right.

A young man is deep in thought a he writes something using a notebook and pen.
Big decisions work best with a cool head.

Be certain about leaving

First and foremost, before you head into your boss’ office, resignation letter in hand, be certain about leaving. Like many people, resignation may be the only option because you:

  • Have accepted a new position with another company.
  • No longer find the working conditions acceptable.
  • Have decided to relocate to a new city.
  • Need a break from full-time employment for personal reasons.

Regardless of why you are leaving, you should be 100 percent certain of your desire to move forward before you resign. Once you put in your resignation, you will set a series of events into motion and it can quickly become difficult, if not impossible, to change your mind.

Give adequate notice

One important aspect of resigning is giving your employer adequate notice. If you have an employment or union contract, consult your contract to determine whether or not it indicates the amount of notice you are required to give.

If you do not have a contract or your contract does not specify the notice you need to provide, common practice is to provide two weeks’ notice.

In some cases, you may not wish to provide a full two weeks’ notice, or it is not possible due to your situation. In this scenario, handle the resignation process professionally and give as much notice as you can.

Resign in person to your manager first

Ideally, before handing in your official resignation letter, take the time to speak with your manager in person first. If you work remotely, set up a virtual meeting with your boss. If it is not possible to speak to your manager one-on-one, consider sending your resignation via email.

When resigning in person or via a video call, keep your conversation professional and to the point. No matter the circumstances that have led to your resignation, focus on the positive and stick to the facts.

For example, you can simply let your manager know that you have appreciated the time with the company, but that you are resigning from your current role. Let your boss know the date of your last day of work and offer to help with the transition process. Keeping this conversation positive and professional will help ensure that you leave on the best note possible.

Write a professional resignation letter

After letting your manager know that you will be leaving your role, you should submit an official letter of resignation. You can email it to your manager and HR representative, or even hand it in as a physical copy. When writing a resignation letter, keep the following in mind:

  • Use a business letter format for your resignation letter. Include a header with your and your employer’s contact information, followed by the date. If you plan to email the letter, you can move your contact information to the bottom of the email.
  • Open your resignation letter with a professional salutation. For example, Dear Mr./Mrs.
  • Use the body of your letter to announce your resignation, including the final date of your employment. You can include the reason you are leaving, but if you do so, keep it focused on a positive note. Never include information about why you disliked your role, and don’t mention issues you had with your boss or colleagues.
  • Close your letter by offering to assist with your transition and thank your manager for the chance to work for them. Sign off with a professional closing valediction, such as Sincerely or Best Regards.

HR teams often utilize a resignation letter to keep a record of your employment and end date. For this reason, always keep the letter professional and concise. You never know who might have access to your resignation letter down the road.

Example of a professional resignation letter

Stacy Bisby
2121 Residential Way
Springfield, OH 45505
[email protected]

February 7, 2022

Helen Kingsley
Director of Marketing
A&B Agency
4235 Innovation Drive
Springfield, OH 45505

Dear Mrs. Kingsley:

I’m writing to officially resign from my position as Marketing Associate at A&B Agency. My resignation is effective two weeks from today, and my last day with the company will be on February 18, 2022.

I want to say thank you for the opportunity to work on your team. I have enjoyed my time here over the past four years and will be happy to assist you with transitioning a new associate into my role. If you need to reach me at any point, please don’t hesitate to contact me via my cell phone at 777-777-7777 or by email at [email protected].

Best Regards,


Stacy Bisby

Note: In an emailed version, contact info would be placed directly below the sender’s name at the end of the correspondence.

A young office worker outside her business with laptop and office plant held in one hand against her waist after quitting her job. Her other hand if clenched, giving an impression of victory.
Planned steps don’t lead to regrets. Think long-term.

Key tips for the resignation process

Resigning from your job can be an uncomfortable task. And, in some cases, it can be tempting to express frustrations you have had in the past during the resignation process. However, the following tips will help you leave your position on good terms.

  • Keep it professional: You may dislike your manager. You may even be leaving your current position because of someone you work with. Regardless of your personal opinions about coworkers, managers, or the company itself, keep your resignation professional. This is not the time to air your grievances or express your enthusiasm for leaving your old role behind.
  • Focus on the positive: In almost any situation, you can glean something positive from the experience. When you are resigning, focus on how the role helped you grow. When you write your resignation letter and give your two weeks’ notice, stick to these positive aspects of the job.
  • Ask for a letter of recommendation: If you had a good relationship with your manager, ask for a letter of recommendation before you go. You can even include this request in your resignation letter. Doing so now will help ensure that you have this letter on hand for future opportunities.
  • Return company property: Gather anything that belongs to the company and return it prior to your departure. This might include a laptop, tablet, cellphone, ID badge, and office supplies.
  • Be prepared to leave earlier than two weeks: In some cases, when you provide your two weeks’ notice, your manager might ask you to leave earlier than the full two weeks. Be prepared to head out right after providing your notice in case this occurs.

Whether you are heading to a new exciting position, or leaving your current job to explore new options in a different city, you should resign professionally and retain positive relationships with the company you are leaving. This will help keep opportunities open and demonstrate to everybody involved that you are always a professional.