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How to Tell Your Boss You're Leaving Your Job

By The ZipRecruiter Editors

It's essential to be professional when you tell your boss you're leaving a job. Whenever possible, you want to leave your job on good terms.

Whether you loved the job and organization or hated it, leaving a job the right way can build your professional network. It's not only your boss that you're leaving behind. Some coworkers will stay on and be impacted by how you handle your transition.

Read on to discover six steps to leaving a job the right way.

1. Set Up a Meeting

The best option is to meet with your boss in person. Set up an in-person meeting and let them know you have something important to discuss.

Meeting in person is a professional courtesy. It allows you to express gratitude and tell them why you are leaving. If you are on a tight timeline and want to give two weeks' notice, set up the meeting in advance if possible.

If you cannot schedule an in-person or zoom meeting in time, you can email your letter of resignation instead. However, only fall back to email if a face-to-face meeting is impossible.

2. Simplify Your Reasons for Leaving

It can be tempting to take your resignation as an opportunity to say everything you held back while on the job. However, this is likely to burn bridges.

Your reasons for leaving may be complicated. It may have taken you weeks or months to come to a decision and find a new job, but you don't have to share all of that when you resign. A simple and specific reason is enough.

For example, your reason for leaving may be:

  • I'm moving to a new city.

  • I've gotten a job that offers exciting career growth.

  • I am starting a job that is closer to home.

  • I will be working remotely.

  • I needed a flexible schedule and found a job that gives me that opportunity.

  • I will be taking some time off to care for my mother.

When you've clarified your reason for leaving in advance, you can confidently deliver a straightforward explanation.

3. Share Your Gratitude

Both in your face-to-face meeting with your employer and in your follow-up resignation letter, let them know what you appreciated about working for them. Hearing your appreciation will ease the blow, especially if they value you as an employee. It also paves the way for you to leave on good terms.

You can thank them for the opportunity or the skills and connections you've made. If your development in your current job is what made the new position possible, you can acknowledge that and express appreciation for their part in your growth.

If you have coworkers who have been essential to your success in your current position, thank them as well. Just wait until you've spoken to the boss before telling anyone else you're leaving.

4. Give a Minimum of Two Weeks' Notice

When you meet with your employer to tell them you are leaving, let them know the final day you will be at work. Even if you are not required to give two weeks' notice, it is a professional courtesy.

If you love the job and can offer a longer transition period, your employer will probably appreciate the help. In some cases, they will ask you to leave on the day you give notice. If you suspect that might happen, it's a good idea to be prepared.

It's always best to give two weeks' notice if you can. The only exception is a dangerous or toxic work environment. If your safety or well-being is at risk, you can quit immediately.

5. Make Yourself Available to Ease the Transition

You can find ways to help your employer ease the transition. While it may be tempting to coast in your final two weeks at a job, doing what you can to ease the transition paves the way for positive professional relationships with your employer and the team.

A few ways you may offer to help include:

  • Training your replacement

  • Giving coworkers everything they need from you to finish active projects

  • Completing projects where possible

  • Leaving detailed outlines and notes for people to follow

  • Training a coworker to take over your duties if a replacement won't be hired in time.

6. Deliver a Letter of Resignation After Your Meeting

Once you've met with your boss, deliver a letter confirming all the information you shared. You can have a letter ready and printed out to hand to them after your conversation.

Alternatively, you can draft an email with the information and send that once you've left the meeting. Both are good; think about what will be most convenient for your boss.

Your letter is the official record of your resignation. It gives your employer a document to refer to if they forget what you said and avoids any misunderstandings later.

In your letter, open with gratitude. Let them know you appreciate the job, the people, and what you've learned.

Give your straightforward reason for leaving and include the last day you will be at work. Then, repeat whatever offer you made to ease the transition.

It's Worth Leaving a Job Right

Throughout your career, you may have many different jobs. Even if you are changing locations or industries, you never know when you might run into a current boss or coworker in another position. By maintaining the same helpful and positive attitude when you leave as when you started, you help create beneficial professional connections.

The ZipRecruiter Editors

At ZipRecruiter, our mission is to connect employers and job seekers with their next great opportunity. On the ZipRecruiter blog, we use insider experience and data derived from our AI-driven jobs marketplace to provide advice and insights on topics such as the job search process, interviewing, and labor market trends. Start your job search or post a job today and connect with us on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn!

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