How to Leave Your Job Without Burning Bridges
January 12, 2021
BR Job Search
Unfortunately, not everyone falls in love with their job. It can happen despite the best efforts being made on both sides. When these situations do occur, it usually results in an employee leaving their position. If you’ve found yourself on this webpage, you probably already know what I’m referring to.

What’s keeping you from leaving your job? Is it the great benefits, the pay, or the flexible schedule? Maybe you don’t have another job lined up yet. Those options are all valid reasons for not jumping ship and quitting. However, if you’re staying at a company you aren’t happy with or in a role that you don’t like simply because you’re afraid to upset other people, you’re staying for the wrong reason. If you’re ready to leave your job but aren’t prepared to do it gracefully, keep reading.

Why should you care to leave on good terms?

You hated this job. It made you miserable, the hours were terrible, it wasn’t what you expected it to be, and your supervisor was a jerk. With all that in mind, why not just leave them high and dry and be on your way? Well, there are a few good reasons.

People talk with those in their network

If you leave your job by quitting abruptly or with a disrespectful letter of resignation, people are going to find out about it. So what? Who cares, right? You don’t want to work for them again anyway.

Alexa, play “Everybody Talks” by Neon Trees. People talk to each other when they work in the same field, and LinkedIn has made that easier than ever. If you are applying for new jobs and your potential employer sees where you worked previously, they could potentially have a contact from the company and ask them about you. Your resume will be tossed from that application pile if your previous place of employment doesn’t have good things to say about you as a professional, which leads to my next point.

It isn’t professional

Part of being a professional is knowing how to carry yourself even in situations you don’t like. It’s inevitable that you’re going to have conversations that may get a rise out of you or that you disagree with. What’s important is that you are able to have a civil and professional conversation in those moments.

If you want to call yourself a professional, you need to act like it. And that doesn’t mean act like it only when they’re going to keep signing your checks. It means act that way before you get the job, while you have the job, and when you leave the job. Now, let’s get into how to do that.

How to gracefully leave your job

When you’ve made up your mind about leaving your job, there are some critical steps you need to take if you want to leave amicably. Here’s what we recommend you do.

Give your employer at least two weeks’ notice

It is customary to give your employer two weeks’ notice before you leave. Providing your employer with a little bit of a heads up can help them and you prepare better for your absence. If you’re unsure if this is the right procedure, check in with human resources. They’ll be able to let you know the best way to go about quitting.

There are sometimes extenuating circumstances that may prevent you from giving your employer a notice two weeks in advance. If possible, you should really aim for this time frame, or even sooner, if you can.

Tell your employer in person or face-to-face

This part is usually the “not so fun” part of quitting (for most people). With many of us working remotely due to COVID-19, in-person interactions are a bit more difficult lately. If you can’t meet with your boss in the office to let them know, you should schedule a Zoom meeting to tell them face-to-face.

As uncomfortable as this step may be, it really should be done this way. It shows respect and professionalism.

Send them a polite letter of resignation

Even if you’ve told your boss in person, you should still submit a formal letter of resignation. This letter can be brief and you aren’t expected to go into excruciating detail about your reasons for leaving. Keep in mind, this letter should always be positive if you can muster it.

In your letter of resignation, you’ll want to include the date and when you will be leaving. You can also include a brief statement about why you’re leaving. Your reason for leaving should always be brief and positive as you may have to discuss it with hiring managers in the future.

It’s also polite to thank your employer for the opportunity you had with them. When you’re ready, you should leave your formal letter with your boss and the human resources department. Again, while two weeks in advance is customary, it would be beneficial to you and your previous employer to give them more time.

Help with the transition

Finally, you really should offer to help with the transition. Depending on what your role was with this company, two weeks may not have been enough time to find someone to take on your place. If that happens, your soon-to-be former coworkers are going to be dividing up your responsibilities.

To really ensure you end on good terms, you’ll want to offer to help as much as you can by completing any tasks or projects (within reason) and training others to take on your responsibilities. Doing so will help to support the idea that you’re leaving this role with no animosity towards the company or its employees.

Regardless of your reason for leaving, you’ll want to do so on good terms. If your relationship with your previous employer was strong, they may even help you find your next role. BrandResumes is also here to help you as well. Schedule a consultation here with one of our resume writers to find out how BrandResumes can help you land your next dream job. Remember, keep checking in every week for new articles to aid you in your job search. Good luck!


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By Emily Provost

Emily is BrandResumes' Content Specialist and is an Associate Resume Writer. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Publishing Studies with double minors in Marketing and Journalism from Hofstra University. She has had editorial experience working as an editor for various publications from Hofstra and worked as a writing tutor for undergraduate students.

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