Resigning from your job on good terms takes preparation, tact and professionalism. Using the correct etiquette when you resign can strengthen your reputation as a trustworthy and considerate professional; helping to position you strongly for your next move. Find out how to do the right thing by your employer with these tips.

Prepare yourself

Before announcing your intention to resign, make sure your decision is firm and final. Being clear on your reasons will help you to resign confidently, and help you to avoid being drawn into a counter-offer. Get your new offer in writing first, check your notice period and rehearse your explanation beforehand. This will help you to present it more comfortably and anticipate any potential questions.

Meet with your manager

It is best to resign in person, giving as much notice as possible. Choose a quiet, convenient time to meet with your manager before notifying your colleagues. Briefly explain your reasons in a courteous and professional manner and express your willingness to finish current projects in your remaining time. Make a follow-up appointment to hand over your letter of resignation and discuss transition plans.

Submit a resignation letter

Submit a short, polite, professional letter after your meeting confirming your intention to leave. Refer to the date and time of your discussion with your manager, the role you are resigning from, and the date of your last day. You may want to add a sentence re-stating your reasons. If relevant, highlight the things you learned in the role and how much you enjoyed working there. End the letter on a positive note; either a thank you for the opportunities you enjoyed or best wishes for the company’s future.

Tie up loose ends

The impression you leave behind when you resign can strongly influence the kind of reference you receive in the future. Try to resolve as much outstanding work as you can in your notice period. Be willing to train your successor, delegate loose ends to relevant colleagues, or write a detailed handover document. Let your contacts and clients know you are leaving and advise them who to contact in your absence.

Leave a positive last impression

It is important not to burn any bridges when you resign and risk undoing your good work. You may want to keep supervisors and colleagues in your network of contacts, or require a reference from the employer later on. You may also end up working for or with the same people sometime in the future. Ensure your reputation and relationship with the employer remains positive by leaving with grace and professionalism.

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Once you have made the firm decision to move on from your current employment, use tact and professionalism to leave on a strong note. Remember the following: 
  • If possible, always resign in person and talk to your manager 
  • Remain courteous and explain your reasons succinctly, giving as much notice as possible to finish or hand over your projects 
  • Your former manager and colleagues could be future referees and still form part of your network, so leave with a positive last impression 

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