The Howard Group


Candidate Advice

How To Resign

Resigning is always awkward. If you use these concepts, you can smooth over some of the rough edges.

  1. Don’t resign until you’ve been cleared by the HR department of your new company. Even though it may be in writing, an offer made contingent upon completion of background screens, drug tests, and reference checking is not a “real” offer until those items are completed. Don’t jump the gun.
  2. Check your employment documents and understand the resignation requirements of those documents. If possible (and often it isn’t), time your resignation to take advantage of vesting schedules, bonus payments, etc. Don’t tender the resignation until after those dates so there is no question about your entitlements.
  3. Tender notice that complies with your former employer’s required amount of time, e.g. two weeks. Don’t risk having your last paycheck suspended or benefits affected by doing anything less.
  4. Assume you will be asked to leave immediately and escorted off the premises. If you can, take advance steps to remove personal property from the premises before tendering your resignation. Do not take proprietary company information with you.
  5. Be ready for emotions. This is like breaking up in high school. Your boss will be disappointed. Make it clean and don’t try to soften the blow. Don’t agree to put your decision on hold or string it out. Don’t get pulled into a discussion of what he could do to get you to stay—he should have already done it and such a statement implies that he held something back from you. (He probably doesn’t have authority to “do” something anyway.)
  6. Once you’ve delivered the resignation, walk away. Politely, but expediently remove yourself physically from the situation/manager’s office. If you linger, it means you want to talk...
  7. Always resign in writing and in person, usually with your immediate supervisor. Use verbiage such as the following:

    City, State Zip

    Subject: Voluntary Resignation of    (Your Name)    

    Dear    (Superior)    :

    This letter constitutes notification of my resignation from     (Former Employer)     . My last day of employment will be     (Date/notice required by former employer)    .

    Please accept my sincere gratitude for the opportunities extended to me during my time with the company. My decision to resign was reached after much consideration.  I have accepted a position with another company that I believe allows me to make positive steps both personally and professionally.

    Please understand that my decision to resign is final.


    (Your Name)