Top Dos & Don'ts When It's Time To Resign From Your Job


Top Dos & Don’ts When It’s Time To Resign From Your Job

By Sarah Knofler | July 23, 2018

It is the end of an era. Leaving a job always feels that way. It is often a bittersweet experience – or maybe you cannot wait to take the next step in your professional journey! Either way, you should exit from your current role gracefully, leaving nothing but good vibes behind. We do not make this transition too many times in our lives, so here is a reminder of the top dos and don’ts for resigning from your job.


1. Do give notice

Two weeks’ notice is standard, so start there. If you are an upper-level manager or the only employee at your company who does your type of work, a longer notice may be preferred. Only you can make that determination but put a date on it.

2. Do resign in person

Have a conversation with your direct manager as a first step. They might be able to guide you on next steps or how they would like you to break the news to others.

3. Do write a resignation letter

Even though you have had a conversation with your manager, provide something in writing. Make it short and sweet – and keep it professional.

4. Do inform clients and third-party partners that you are leaving

Also, make sure to tell them whom they can contact in your absence.

5. Do have a handle on your benefits

Reference the employee handbook for information about unused sick days or personal time off (PTO). You may be able to cash in. Understand if you are able to extend your medical benefits under COBRA. Moreover, be sure you know how to access your 401(k) or stock once you have left.

6. Do ask for a reference

Requesting references from your manager or colleagues is OK. Use your judgment on who is best to ask. A LinkedIn recommendation is perfect because it will live on your profile for when you may need it next.

7. Do tell everyone the same story of why you are leaving – and keep it professional

If you send mixed messages, you are bound to get tripped up in non-truths. You want to exit gracefully, not caught up in gossip.

8. Do return company-provided equipment

If you have a company laptop or cell phone (and don’t forget the chargers), bring it back in the same condition in which you received it.


1. Don’t give notice before you have a start date for your new gig

Even if the interview went well and the hiring manager said you will be getting an offer by Friday, don’t resign from your current job just yet. Until you have officially accepted an offer and signed a new agreement, keep your lips sealed.

2. Don’t be surprised if your employer asks you to leave prior to your “last day.”

Especially if you deal with sensitive information, your boss may rather you not have access to confidential files for another couple weeks. It may be the protocol for some companies.

3. Don’t leave on negative terms

Even if the manager, job or company was not ideal, do not leave complaining. You may doubt it right now, but those connections may benefit you at another time in your life.

4. Don’t brag about your new gig

It will just deteriorate any relationships you have built during your time at your current job, and it can be seen as tacky or uncalled for.

5. Don’t leave your manager a mess

Clean up your digital footprint (e.g., computer files, emails, shared documents, logins and passwords). Also, take time to tidy your physical office space. Do not leave snacks in your desk drawer or personal effects hanging in your cubical.

6. Don’t forget if you have signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) or non-compete clause (NCC)

Know the restrictions these documents put on you, and be sure you are following them. The last thing you want to do is get into legal trouble with your previous job.

7. Don’t be afraid to be truthful (but tactful) in your exit interview

Many companies are striving to improve employee experience, so this is your chance to tell an unbiased human resource professional about your experience. Stick to constructive criticism though; no bad-mouthing or name-calling is needed.

8. Don’t have short-timers

If you are getting paid for the last couple weeks, do meaningful work until it’s your time to leave. Your reputation is everything – do not ruin it at the very end.

And last but not least, good luck with the next stage of your career!


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About the Author
Sarah Knofler

Sarah Croy is a Talent Acquisition and Learning & Development specialist for GQR and Wynden Stark, executing her operations out of Austin, TX.

Sarah’s primary area of focus is on acquiring and developing GQR’s internal talent as well as helping to drive a strong work culture.

She began her career at a generalist talent acquisition firm, recruiting on behalf of engineering clients in the Portland area. She has since shifted her focus to internal training.

Sarah graduated from the University of Portland studying English Literature, German Studies and History. While at University, she studied abroad numerous times and held positions in teaching, sales and editing. After graduating, Sarah taught English in Austria for a year.

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