How to quit your job the right way

By Sacha DeVoretz

Photo by Steven Taschuk.

Leaving a job is never easy, but there are some simple steps you can take to make the transition easier. Here are my top tips for quitting your job and maintaining a good relationship with your employer.

Leave at the top of your game

When you do decide to leave, plan to exit when you're still contributing to your workplace in an effective manner. Too often people wait and leave a job when they're at their breaking point. They are bored and fed up with their employer. By this time, your employer will be able to sense your unhappiness, and things could end on a negative note. Try to leave when you're benefiting your employer the most.

Wrap up any projects or assignments

Leave your employer and colleagues in a good place. If there are any projects or future assignments that need to be attended to, try to wrap them up and brief others on your progress so they're prepared to take over when you're gone.

Help the person who will be taking over your duties

Offer to help on the changeover to the next person. If you don't have an opportunity to meet the person who will be taking over your duties, leave them comprehensive notes and offer to stay in touch if they get really stuck on something. This will leave a positive impression.

Offer constructive feedback

Be constructive in your exit interview. When you speak with your human resources manager, offer them feedback that will be helpful for the next person in the position. This will help people remember you favourably, which will help when you ask for a reference!

Thank everyone

Be cordial and thank everyone. Before you leave, make a point of stopping by and thanking your colleagues for the time that you worked together and wish them the best of luck.

Connect with your colleagues and employer on LinkedIn

Stay connected. Before you depart, it's a great idea to connect with your colleagues and employer on LinkedIn. This will keep communication and relationships open should you need a reference or something else in the future.

For some additional tips on how to exit smoothy and professionally, I spoke with Alana Savage, a recruitment consultant and team lead at McNeill Nakamoto Recruitment Group. She shared her insider knowledge on the most effective ways to resign from your job:

Keep your job search confidential

Make sure to keep your job search (and all pending opportunities) confidential. By telling only one co-worker, there is the risk of your supervisor finding out that you are looking. If you haven’t signed an offer yet, you could put yourself at risk of being out of work before you have solidified your next move. A helpful tip is to give permission for a reference with your current direct supervisor only upon signing an offer and giving your notice. In the meantime, use references from previous roles or educational endeavours to speak to your professional abilities.

Provide at least two weeks' notice

Allow reasonable time for the transition by providing a minimum of two weeks’ notice (or as defined by the employment contract) and give your resignation in letter form (never in a text!). Ideally, you should sit down in person with your direct supervisor to explain why you're leaving. You want a positive reference in the future, so leave on a good note!

Don't disclose too many details

Be honest, but don’t disclose too many details. Prepare an elevator pitch such as, “I feel very fortunate for my experience with this company, but I feel that this is an opportunity that I can’t pass up at this stage in my career.” You may have to repeat this a few times during the conversation. Remember that it’s normal for the conversation to be a bit uncomfortable when quitting a job.

Turn down a counter-offer

Pass on “the forbidden fruit” of a counter-offer. Sometimes, your current management might offer a significant raise or changes to your role to encourage you to stay. Keep in mind the reasons you're quitting in the first place, and remember that now your employer knows you are "unloyal" or willing to leave them, so they may just be buying themselves time to find your replacement.

Make sure you can ask for a positive reference

Ask for reference contacts, reference letters, client referrals, or work samples to add to your personal files before leaving.  

Coming to the decision to leave a job is never easy, but taking a few simple steps will make the transition that much easier.

About the author

Sacha DeVoretz is an independent journalist currently based in North Vancouver. Sacha reports and blogs on a broad spectrum of stories both locally and internationally. Her in-depth coverage has been featured in the Vancouver Observer, Canadian Immigrant Magazine and Fox News Latino. She writes a lifestyle blog for the Huffington Post. Visit her daily at