How to Quit a Job Gracefully: 9 Practical Tips

Monster shares tips on how to quit your job on a positive note.

How to Quit a Job Gracefully: 9 Practical Tips

This is how to quit a job gracefully.

Thinking about quitting your job? You’re not alone. Millions of people quit their jobs each month due to lack of promotion or growth, toxic work environments, incompatible workplace culture, or for bigger and better opportunities. If you’re considering leaving a job—especially a job you hate—it might be tempting to quit on the spot and walk out. But learning how to quit a job gracefully is an important skill you’ll use throughout your career.

How to Quit a Job Gracefully

Why is it so important to avoid burning bridges when you resign? Leaving on good terms ensures that your former employer will give you a good reference when you apply to new positions and that your boss and co-workers will remain a part of your professional network—both of which will help you to land better opportunities in the future.

So, before you do anything impulsive, read through these nine tips that will walk you through how to quit a job gracefully.

1. Make Sure You Actually Want to Quit

Whether you’re a new employee who found that your new company’s culture doesn’t fit your values or you’ve been with the same company for years, leaving isn’t easy. If you’re not sure if quitting is the right choice, consider the pros and cons before making your final decision. Consider these questions before you make up your mind:

  • Why am I quitting?
  • Can this relationship be saved?
  • Have I timed this right?

2. Make a Post-Employment Plan

Before putting in your notice, it’s a good idea to have a post-employment plan in place. Start by updating your resume and cover letter to reflect all the skills you’ve learned and the responsibilities and projects you’ve taken on in your current position. Then, start applying to new jobs.

Once you’ve scored an interview, read through Monster’s job interview tips to help you line up that next position before closing the door on your current job.

3. Give at Least Two Weeks’ Notice

If you hate your job, you likely want to get out as soon as possible. However, leaving before giving two weeks’ notice could potentially hurt your reputation and your chances of getting hired in the future. Plus, during that time, your employer will need at least two weeks to ensure that your duties get distributed to other employees until they hire a replacement. So, giving plenty of notice is a good way to show respect for your employer.

In some cases, you may want to quit without giving two weeks’ notice—for example, if you’re dealing with unfair treatment or your boss has a reputation for retaliating against employees who give formal notice. You may also need to quit without notice if you’re in an unsafe or hostile work environment or have a medical emergency or other health issue.

4. Write Your Boss a Resignation Letter

A written resignation letter notifies your boss that you’re planning on leaving. It also provides both you and HR a record of your resignation. Plus, if you’re feeling nervous about handing your letter of resignation to your boss, you can email it instead.

Include the following in your resignation letter:

  • The time and date at the top.
  • The person you’re addressing, such as your manager or HR.
  • The company’s address.
  • Statement of resignation and gratitude.
  • The date of your last day of work.
  • Closing statement and signature.

5. Be Careful With Your Words

Not sure how to quit a job you hate gracefully? No matter how much you dislike your job, make your transition a positive one. When asked why you’re leaving by co-workers or management, it’s best to avoid gossip or complaints about the work environment. Additionally, giving a big story about why you’re leaving isn’t necessary. Be brief and honest while being careful with your words. If you plan on working for another company or a competitor, your current employer doesn’t need to know.

6. Conduct an Exit Interview With HR

An exit interview is a final conversation between you and HR. It gives you and your employer closure and gives you the last word on your work experience. However, it’s important not to let your emotions get the best of you.

Monster can show you how to quit a job gracefully with these exit interview tips:

  • Prepare for an exit interview by taking note of what you enjoyed about the job and areas where the company can improve.
  • Remain calm and voice your concerns in a respectful manner.
  • Show gratitude for your time with the company.

7. Connect With Colleagues

Before you leave, make sure colleagues know where they can reach you. Assuming that you stay in the same industry, keeping in contact with former colleagues means they’re more likely to give you a recommendation and help you with your job search. Plus, you’ll likely to run into former co-workers and managers again in the future. You can stay connected via social media, email, or phone.

8. Gather All Necessary Documents

Don’t leave your job without first obtaining important documents from your HR department. Many work-related documents contain important information that you must address on your last day. Necessary documents may include:

  • Information on your 401(k), IRA, and other investment accounts.
  • Health insurance information.
  • Unused vacation time, sick time, or other benefits.

9. Clean Out Your Workspace

Our final tip for how to quit a job gracefully is to clean out your workspace:

  • Don’t forget to pack up your coffee mug, family pictures, desk plants, and other personal belongings.
  • Any documents that contain sensitive information should never leave the building—return them to your supervisor or HR department.
  • Any external drives or devices that contain work-related information should be given to your company’s IT department for proper disposal.
  • Lastly, show courtesy to your employer by cleaning your workspace. We suggest wiping down your desk and throwing away or recycling disposable items and clutter.

Need a New Job STAT? Start Here

Now that you’ve learned how to quit a job gracefully, you can start the next stage of your career on a positive note. Need help finding a new job before you quit? Be sure to sign up with Monster. Our career experts offer tons of resources to help you throughout your job search, including customized job alerts sent right to your inbox. Start here to find a job that you won’t want to quit.