No Burnt Bridges – How to Resign Professionally

Maintaining professionalism when resigning from a job is essential to preserve your reputation, relationships, and future career prospects. A graceful and respectful departure reflects positively on your character and leaves a lasting impression. Here’s why professionalism matters (especially in staffing) and how to resign the right way:

Importance of Remaining Professional:

Preserve Relationships

The professional world is interconnected, and the staffing world is actually quite small. Colleagues from your current job might become contacts, references, or even future collaborators. Resigning professionally ensures that you leave on good terms with everyone, avoiding any unnecessary tension or conflicts. If you don’t leave things on a professional note with your supervisor or company, it’s unlikely that you will get a good reference from them.

Positive Reputation

Your reputation is a valuable asset in your career journey. How you handle your departure can affect how you’re perceived by your colleagues, superiors, and the industry at large. A professional exit can lead to positive word-of-mouth recommendations and endorsements. Even when you leave a role, you want people to have positive associations with you rather than negative. If you leave on bad terms, it’s possible that you’ll have a harder time finding work because people may not feel you are reliable or trustworthy.

Network Building

Every professional interaction can be an opportunity to expand your network. By leaving on good terms, you keep doors open for potential collaborations, job offers, and recommendations down the line. Depending on the reason for your departure, your supervisor or colleagues may even be able to connect you with someone who can help you find a new job or opportunity that better aligns with your career goals.

Employer’s Perception

How you resign reflects on your current employer as well. Departing with professionalism shows your appreciation for the opportunities provided and indicates that you respect the company’s values and culture. While it is an important personal decision, your absence and how it’s handled may cause shockwaves across the organization. This is especially true with management & ‘higher’ level roles, so it’s a good idea to consider how timing and messaging will affect the rest of the team.

How to Resign Professionally:

  1. Plan Ahead

Prepare for your resignation by understanding your notice period, reviewing your employment contract, and considering how your departure might impact ongoing projects. Depending on your role, you may decide to write workflows & processes, to transfer knowledge before you go.

  1. Notify in Person or Over the Phone

Schedule a private meeting with your supervisor to inform them of your decision. It’s best to have this conversation in person or over the phone to convey respect and sincerity, and so the tone of an email doesn’t get misconstrued.

  1. Provide a Formal Letter

Follow up your conversation with a formal resignation letter. Keep it concise, stating your intention to resign, your last working day, and expressing gratitude for the opportunity.

  1. Give Appropriate Notice

Respect your company’s policies by providing adequate notice. Standard practice is typically two weeks, but this can vary depending on your role and responsibilities.

  1. Maintain Productivity

Remain focused and productive during your notice period. Complete pending tasks, assist colleagues, and avoid slacking off, as your final days will leave a lasting impression. Sometimes people give up or even walk out early – we don’t recommend doing this because it’s considered extremely disrespectful.

  1. Be Discreet

Avoid discussing your departure in a negative light, both within the company and externally. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be honest if you participate in an exit interview, but rather that it’s not helpful or professional to air your grievances in a public manner.

  1. Update Contacts

Update your LinkedIn profile and connect with colleagues before you leave. This helps you stay connected for potential future opportunities and ensures you don’t lose contact with people you enjoyed working with.

Additional Considerations for Management & ‘Higher’ Level Roles:

  1. Offer Assistance in Transition

Ease the transition by offering to help train your replacement or document your responsibilities. This displays your commitment to a smooth handover and that you aren’t trying to cause problems.

  1. Thank Your Colleagues

Take the time to thank your colleagues, supervisors, and mentees for their support and collaboration. Express your appreciation for their contributions to your professional growth. This is an awesome way to ensure you leave on positive note.

  1. Stay Positive

Regardless of your reasons for leaving, try to maintain a positive attitude. Emphasize your appreciation for your current role and your excitement for your next step, rather than focusing on any shortcomings. This models the type of behavior you would want someone else to display toward you and your team.

Whether you are looking for your first job in health care or to make a move to a new position, Arbor Associates is here to help! We can help you find just what you are looking for. Get in touch with us today.