How to leave your job on good terms: our tips & advice

  • June 21, 2023

How to leave your job on good terms: our tips & advice

So, you’ve found a new job opportunity and you’re ready to hand in your notice. Whatever your reasons for resigning, it’s always important to leave a job on good terms. When it’s time to hand in your notice, follow these steps for a smooth transition. 

Tell your manager first to give them a heads up

If you have a good relationship with your manager, it might be a good idea to give them a little bit of warning that you’ll be handing in your notice. Ask if they’re around for a quick call a few hours before you plan to officially resign. Your manager will likely respect you more for having this conversation beforehand. On the other hand, if you don’t have a great relationship with them and don’t feel comfortable having this chat, then it’s fine to just go ahead with giving them your official notice. 

Write an official resignation letter/email

When you’re ready to officially hand in your notice, write a formal letter or email of resignation and make sure to include the following:

  • A clear statement that you're resigning
  • State the date of your last day of employment 
  • Briefly explain why you're leaving the company
  • Express your gratitude and thank your employer
  • Add your signature to the end of your letter or email

You are not required to share your reasons for wanting to leave the company, but it can be helpful for the management team to know. Whenever giving a reason, always try to keep things positive. You can be honest, but it’s always best to avoid saying anything that they may perceive as rude or an attack on their management style. 

Give your full notice period

Before you hand in your official resignation, make sure you review your employment contract to check how much notice you need to give. Notice periods will vary by company and by seniority, so it’s always best to check and make sure you are prepared to work your full notice period. Sometimes an employer may offer for you to take garden leave, meaning you get paid for the full notice period but don’t have to work the rest of it. Although most employers will need you to work until the end so that they have time to find your replacement. 

Be honest but respectful

In order to leave on good terms, you need to make sure you’re respectful to your manager and the team. If you’re leaving your current job for a better salary, then it’s okay to provide this as your reason but make sure you avoid boasting. If you’re leaving due to not getting along with the team or boss, then it’s best to keep that to yourself. Instead, be sure to focus on positive things you gained from the job and explain other reasons why leaving is right for you.

Be prepared to receive a counter-offer

You should never resign with the intention of receiving a counter offer, as it’s not guaranteed and could make your team think negatively about you. However, if your boss thinks highly of you, they could try and convince you to stay by proposing a counter offer. Before handing in your notice, be aware that this is a possibility and have a think about whether you would accept or not. Remind yourself of the reasons you’re leaving. If it’s more than just the salary, then leaving might be the best option. 

Read through our additional tips to help you decide whether to accept the counter offer or not.

Avoid bad-mouthing members of your team

Don’t burn any bridges by talking negatively about your managers or colleagues. No good will come of bad-mouthing them. Leaving on good terms will allow you the opportunity to reach out for references, and is also important for networking. You never know who you may come across in your career further down the line.

Work your notice period, don’t just coast!

Once you’ve given in your notice, it might be tempting to coast through the rest of your time at the company, but this will not help you leave on good terms. Make sure you continue to work to the best of your ability in order to leave behind a good reputation. 

Prepare a smooth handover

Before you leave, make sure to tie up any loose ends. Try to finish any outstanding projects and if there is anything you don’t get to finish, make sure to create handover notes with lots of detail for your team or replacement. 

Offer help with training your replacement

If you have a replacement that is lined up before you leave, it might be worth offering to train them (if you have the time). This will help ensure a smooth transition and should impress your manager, allowing you to leave the company on good terms. 

Want some more advice or looking for a new opportunity? Get in contact with our expert recruiters today.