Don’t Burn Your Bridges: How to Resign with Your Reputation Intact

You’re jumping up and down with excitement – you’ve just received an offer for your dream job! You can’t wait to meet your new colleagues, and to start on exciting new projects. And then it hits you – you still have to work out a month’s notice. And you have to find a way to tell your boss you’re leaving.

In today’s working environment, it’s almost inevitable that we’ll all have more than one job during our careers. And how we make the transition from one job to another can have a lasting impact on our career success. There are too many stories out there about employees who have ruined their future prospects by leaving their jobs on a bad note. So don’t make the same mistake – have a look at these guidelines on how to resign from your job without burning bridges:

how to resign

1. Keep your resignation letter short.

It is always best to inform your manager of your resignation in person. The resignation letter serves only as an official record of your resignation, which is legally required. Be polite and concise, and thank your employer for any learning opportunities or particular skills you have gained during your time with the organisation.

2. Keep to one story

Whether or not you feel comfortable being completely honest about your reason for leaving, decide on what you want to say and keep to it. Do not give different reasons to different people. This will cause conflict and will leave a lasting poor impression of your character.

3. Do not feel obligated to explain your reason for leaving

You should never lie about the reason why you are leaving, but you do not need to express your every thought. If you have a merely professional relationship with your manager or employer, you only need to provide them with important information about your decision. For example, instead of saying that you are very unhappy with your salary and benefits, rather say that you received a better job offer. However, if you developed a close working relationship with your manager or employer, and you have discussed personal matters in the past, you may mention some more in-depth feelings. Remember, though, that you should still not divulge every emotion you have ever had in the workplace.

4. Avoid emotional outbursts

Just because you are leaving the company, you should not declare every negative opinion or experience you have had during your time there. The worst thing you can do on your last day is to tell your irritating colleague or obnoxious manager how you feel, or divulge company secrets to everyone. This can be particularly tempting if you are resigning because you feel mistreated, but rather bite your tongue than say something you might later come to regret. You never know who you might be working with in the future!

5. Do not shirk your responsibilities

You will probably have to work out a notice period. During this time, it is important to finish as many of your current projects as possible. If there are ongoing projects you will not be able to complete, you should transfer those projects to someone who will be able to continue with them after you have left. Clear your inbox, file all documents, label all files and documents clearly, and do not take on any new projects. Above all, do not diminish your quality of work during this time, as it will leave a lasting poor impression of your work ethic.

If you are unsure of how to go about resigning, always remember that the impression you leave at your current job will follow you for the rest of your professional life. Your future employers will always call your previous employers for a reference check, and they will always ask you why you left your previous job. Always ask yourself: ‘Will I be ashamed of my actions in a month or two?’, and if the answer is yes, then do not do it!

Also read: How to Write a Resignation Letter

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Marcélle de Kock

Marcélle is an Executive PA at Oxbridge Academy. In her spare time, she enjoys writing career-focused articles, reading, crafting, and doing yoga.

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Don’t Burn Your Bridges: How to Resign with Your Reputation Intact
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Don’t Burn Your Bridges: How to Resign with Your Reputation Intact
There are too many stories out there about employees who have ruined their future prospects by leaving their jobs on a bad note.
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