How to Resign Gracefully, without Burning Bridges

March 31, 2024

As recruiters, an important role we have is supporting candidates in planning a smooth transition to leave on a positive note in the resignation process. We want to help ensure that it’s done in a way that is both professional and beneficial for all involved, and most of all in such a way that no bridges are burned irrevocably. How you exit a company will be part of your legacy and if you want to leverage contacts for future references and/or future resources, exiting in the most professional way is a must.  

The following are our Premier tips to resign, in the most professional way, without burning a bridge: 

Write a Letter of Resignation: 

Your official letter of resignation you submit to your higher-ups will set the tone for the rest of your time at your current job as you tie up loose ends, as well as determine your relationship moving forward.  It would be in your best interest to spend time making this official document solid and polished. Be sure it includes the following components: 

  • Your notice of resignation and last day 
  • Your gratitude for the opportunity to work with your current company 
  • Your willingness to help with the transition 

Crafting a good resignation letter is also important for both your and the company’s record-keeping alike. For instance, writing a resignation letter means there won’t be space for disputes about when your last day will be so you can communicate with your new employer. And a clear date is necessary for your current company to prepare your final paperwork and paycheck. 

Provide Adequate Notice: 

Be sure to provide your employer with adequate notice of your departure. The generally accepted amount of time is two weeks prior to your resignation; however, some roles may require even more time due to the nature of individual duties. A two-week notice period allows sufficient time to tie up loose ends and say your goodbyes without throwing the company’s operations into disarray. So, the first step in resigning without burning a bridge is to hand in your resignation letter at least two weeks in advance to leave a good final impression. 

Create an Action Plan for an Easy Transition: 

Before your leave, create an exit plan to wrap up pending projects and work with your team to determine who should take over any work you won’t be able to finish before leaving. This will help prepare your team for your absence while also setting up the person who will fill your role after you for success. 

Draft a list of objectives and determine which team member should take over each task. Provide helpful advice if some duties include complex directions. Document your day-to-day efforts, where you’ve saved important files, and be sure to share pertinent information crucial to your position. 

Make sure all documents, and notes are up to date so team members can easily pick up where you have left off

 Schedule a Final Meeting with your Direct Supervisor: 

Schedule a one-on-one final meeting with your direct supervisor to review your action plan and inform them of the team members that may be absorbing some of the work.  This will also allow for an opportunity to collaborate on wrapping up your final details. Tying up loose ends and showing that you want to leave with integrity will assure you don’t burn any bridges. 

Depending on your relationship with your supervisor, this could also be an excellent opportunity to thank them for the opportunities they’ve provided you with, making for a clean and professional exit. 

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