7 Tips for Resigning from Your Job Gracefully During the Great Resignation

It’s no secret today that multitudes of workers are eager to leave their masks, old bosses, and jobs behind for more flexible work situations. Zoomed out, many are also desperate to rekindle old work relationships and/or make new connections; to leave the pandemic restrictions behind for challenging, new alternatives. Meaning many are on the road to becoming statistics in what’s now called the “Great Resignation”.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a record 4 million people quit their jobs in April 2021; the highest number in 20 years. Job quits rose most – as could be expected – in the retail sector, professional and business services.

In general 30-46% tell researchers they have thought about quitting; 48% said they intend to quit.

Microsoft’s ‘Work Trend Index’ – created after interviewing 30K individuals across 31 countries, analysis of trillions of emails and messages, teams working, and other activity across LinkedIn and Microsoft – lends added credence to changes written about on the Internet related to work habits, attitudes toward remote work, plans for the future – and how they have changed during the pandemic – as well as whether employees plan to resign or not.

According to this new Work Trend Index, approximately 40% of those interviewed stated plans for changing jobs. When you consider the many and varied issues companies are currently struggling with, the loss of approximately 40% of staff has fast risen to the top of their most important issues list.

All that said, while most have resigned a time or two in their lives, it’s likely they’re familiar with the quote regarding ‘burning your bridges’. Originally it related to a practice of the Romans in battle who burned bridges to stop the enemy from fleeing. However, in most cases burning your bridges isn’t a rational practice for employees leaving a job in today’s ‘new normal’.

To help keep your rep intact, it’s essential to leave on good terms.

Here are 7 professional tips for resigning:

1) Submit your resignation letter giving proper notice; it’s still required etiquette. Abide by company and/or contract rules regarding actual notice time.

2) Speak to your boss, first, before spreading the word to co-workers; don’t let them hear it through the employee grapevine. Doing that may not only be insulting them, but this could also make a final interview more like a trial.

3) Don’t bad-mouth anyone; if you have an issue with a co-worker, take time to discuss it with them and attempt to come to some understanding.

4) Help ensure a smooth transition. Turn over your paperwork, notes, and other information. If you are training someone, show them a trick or tip or two for performing the job well.

5) Stay positive and respectful during your period of notice. Don’t use this time to make negative statements about the company, your boss, and your co-workers. Above all – regardless of how you’re feeling about the job, your boss, and the company – don’t ruin your rep making nasty or questionable comments about them on Facebook, Twitter, or other social platforms. Falstaff tells us “the better part of valor is discretion.” Bear that in mind.

6) Prepare for an exit interview. Err on the side of positivity regardless of how you feel about the job, your boss, or the company. Thank your boss for the help and encouragement, wish them and the company well. Never leave your boss a note. Do be professional; the person your boss wants to rehire.

7) Say goodbye to your coworkers and remember to stay in touch. From a professional standpoint, you may need them for references in the future.

NOTE: You may no longer have access to your computer once you resign. That said, be sure you’ve removed any personal info and made copies of benefit and insurance info.


Jean L. Serio
Jean L. Serio
JEAN is a certified Human Resources professional with more than twenty-five years of experience in recruitment, interviewing, job training and development, resume, and LinkedIn Profile writing and review. The last 5 as a Certified Interview Success Coach, CEIC. With a passion for training, she guides others in first understanding their skills and strengths and how to best present themselves during an interview to help them secure the job. Her skills and expertise are also utilized to optimally prepare clients for confidently engaging with HR, hiring pros and decision-makers, and guiding them in how to enthusiastically and professionally respond during an interview rather than fearing the process. Her solid experience, coupled with expertise in the unspoken workings of the interview and hiring process, helps individuals prepare to present their achievements, skills, and expertise not only in a professional but compelling, way using stories of achievements which help the interviewee engage the interviewer or hiring a pro to effectively respond to questions to help raise their get-hired opportunities. Jean has been featured in Forbes;; BLR-Daily HR Advisor; ERE’s Daily HR Advisor; Next Ave. division of PBS; Medium; Entrepreneur HQ Magazine; Self Growth; beBee International, CBS, and NBC online and more. Her past has also included workshop trainings for HR, hosting hiring forums, speaking at job conferences for both job seekers and hiring pros, and more.

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  1. NIce article Jean. There is no need to have a scorched earth departure. Leave with class and dignity. There will be cases where your former employer will “bad mouth” you (been there). My response was, “It’s too bad they feel way. I enjoyed my time and gave everything I had everyday. I learned a great deal and left them better than when I arrived – but it is time for me to pursue another opportunity.”