Career College

How to Leave Your Job Professionally

Quitting your job professionally is all about leaving behind a positive image. Leave on a good note and you are more likely to get a good reference (or another job with the same company in the future). Whether you are leaving your summer job selling soft-serve ice cream or your first foray in your chosen profession, follow these guidelines when it's time to make your exit.
The First Steps
  1. If you have another job lined up, ask for the job offer in writing before you walk away from your current job.
  2. Don't tell coworkers before you inform your supervisor.
  3. Check your employee agreement or handbook to see if your company requires more than a two-week notice before your last day.
  4. If your job requires you to train your replacement, or to wrap up major responsibilities, it might be smart to provide more than two weeks.
  5. Write a resignation letter in business letter format that states you are leaving and when your last day of work will be.
  6. Don't apologize, but be gracious. Keep a copy yourself. Check out for their sample resignation letter.
Before You Go
  1. Don't brag about your new gig or be negative about your old one. It will only make your coworkers feel defensive. Plus, it could seriously damage your references.
  2. No slacking! You are still on the payroll.
  3. Organize a smooth transition for your departure by getting files and projects ready for your replacement. The company will applaud your preparation, instead of cursing the mess you left.
  4. Request written references. Keep copies on file for easily accessible letters of reference for future employers.
  5. Thank the people you worked with and get their personal contact information.
  6. Your company might give you an exit interview to evaluate your experience. It may be tempting to unload your frustrations with the company, but this will be their last impression of you, so refrain from saying anything that isn't constructive.
Don't let poor planning make you fall through the cracks when you decide to change jobs.