How to resign professionally

Whether it’s part of the “great resignation” or you’ve been tempted by a new and exciting opportunity you owe it to yourself, your boss, company, and colleagues to resign in the most professional way possible.

It can be a stressful time for both parties so here are my five top tips for making the transition as painless and hassle-free as possible.


It’s likely that your resignation is going to be disruptive so help minimise the impact by creating a transition plan.

Work out the next actions and collate the relevant information for all your duties and responsibilities, your projects, or major clients.

Think about what your successor needs to know about your team and even think about suggestions for who might be a suitable replacement.


As much as you might be tempted to get the help, backing or support of your colleagues you should resign to your boss, in person.

Prepare a letter but, also rehearse a short, succinct explanation that you want to tender your resignation and what date you expect to leave.

Tell them you are ready to do everything you can to make the transition smooth.

Thank them for the opportunity and let them know that you’ve written a transition plan that you will talk them through when they are ready.


Your resignation is likely to be unwelcome.

Be mentally prepared for your boss to go on an emotional rollercoaster that could range from shock to anger, disappointment, resentment and back to anger in as little as a day or as much as a week.

They might ignore you, smother you or counter offer you.

Be prepared that it may well be uncomfortable for a short while until they come to terms with it.


When you started working for your employer you accepted, and signed, a contract agreeing to your terms of employment including a notice period.

Be prepared to honour that agreement and work with the same enthusiasm and dedication that you’ve worked with until now.

You are more likely to be able to negotiate your notice period if you make things easy and painless.


Think about what you’d like to convey at an exit interview.

You may well get the opportunity to offer helpful, constructive advice about what the business could or should do differently to perform better or what they can do to help retain your colleagues, making their time at the company better.

Even if a boss or colleague have been a significant driver for your resignation don’t be tempted to get personal, vindictive or attack people’s personalities. Instead, think about how you expected them to behave or act and what they could do better in the future.

Remember the world of work is small and you never know when you might cross paths with your bosses, colleagues, or team members in the future.

But, more than that, leaving in the right way is important for your professional and personal reputation, your integrity, and your mental well-being.

Good luck and don’t forget to exit with class.

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