JSD Consulting

Resigning Gracefully

You've gone through the interviewing process and received a great offer and the offer of a better opportunity with a better company.

Career changes are tough and anxieties about leaving a comfortable job, friends and location and having to prove yourself again in an unknown opportunity can cloud the best logic.

You analyse and agonise, and accept the offer. Your new team is anxiously waiting for you to arrive.  It’s time to begin the transition from your old job to your new opportunity. 

The resignation process can be stressful and filled with emotion. Especially if your company culture is very team oriented, there is a good chance that you have developed fairly strong relationships with many people in many different parts of the company.

Follow this Process and Resign with Grace

  • Don't resign until you have a formal offer and start date from your new employer
  • Don't second-guess your decision to resign
    Remember that you went through the interview process, the hassle of taking personal time from work, invested time to educate yourself on the company, and perhaps even had many emotional conversations with your family members for a reason. You need to recognise that you would not have let the process come to this point if at anytime you thought that it was not the right thing to do.
  • Be prepared to resign both verbally and by letter
  • Resign verbally to your direct report
    Try not to get emotional. At times this may be difficult, especially if you have a very special relationship with this person. Thank them for the opportunities they have given for you to grow personally and professionally, and give them a well-constructed reason for your resignation. Don't focus on the possible negative reasons for your leaving. Rather be sure to explain the highlights of your new opportunity.
  • If you are a key player on the team, anticipate that your boss may show some degree of frustration
    Remain calm. Recognise that they are acting on the emotion of one of their best people leaving them. You will find that if this is an initial reaction from your employer, they will quickly recognise their attitude and become more relaxed.
  • Prepare your resignation letter
    Keep this letter brief and very formal. See example below. Remove all emotion from the content. Including comments that are based upon emotion may give your employer the ammunition they need to develop a counter-offer. Click here to see more information on the Counter Offer. Your letter should be addressed to your immediate supervisor and a copy should be sent to your Human Resource Department.
  • Continue working to the best of your ability while you work through your notice period
    It will be a difficult time. After all, you are excited about your new position, and probably want to start impacting on your new company. Think about how your enthusiasm for your new position could affect your peers.
  • Try to negotiate a quicker release date, base your argument on finishing off your current projects to an agreed timescale
  • If your employer asks you to leave immediately, do not let this be a concern
    Your employer probably recognises some of the possible negative ramifications your resignation may have on the rest of the company.
  • If your company does not have formal exit interviews, ask for one
    An exit interview is a great way for you to exchange valuable information that may help a department or company grow. During the Exit Interview, do not be negative. Rather, point out the opportunities for growth or improvements you feel exist. If you are going to bring up a problem, be sure to offer potential solutions.
  • If you are working with one of our professional recruiters in our office be sure to open up and discuss your personal situation
    Let them know your fears, discomfort, etc. You will find that they probably have dealt with candidates with similar concerns and therefore will be able to help you through the process.

Resignation Letter

No matter what the circumstances are surrounding your resignation, a professional approach is always recommended. Your professional reputation and references depend greatly on the manner in which you depart.

The wording is not ideal for every situation; however, as a general guideline, we suggest following this example while preparing your official letter.

Sample Letter


Dear ______________

Please accept this letter as my formal resignation as (TITLE) for (COMPANY) to become effective as of (DATE). This resignation is final and irrevocable. I have accepted a new position.

I believe this position will offer me more challenges and opportunities for advancement as well as allow me to broaden my own experience and knowledge.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your time and efforts in my training and advancement during the past (TIME). The support and concern shown me by you and the rest of the management team has been deeply appreciated.

I leave (COMPANY) with good memories and no animosity or ill will, and wish you and your company continued success. To save potential embarrassment for everyone, no counteroffers will either be entertained or accepted.