How to Quit a Job in 8 Steps (+ Tips)

June 13, 2023

15 min read

colleagues in a meeting

Knowing how to quit a job is a necessary skill, no matter what industry you work in. There will always come a day when you need to tell your employer that you’re moving on, but it can be tricky to do so if you never learned how to quit a job.

We’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to quit a job, including eight simple steps to do so, other considerations to think about, what to say and what not to say, and some frequently asked questions. 

How to Quit a Job in 8 Steps

There are plenty of good reasons to leave a job. Maybe you found a better opportunity elsewhere or perhaps circumstances out of your control — such as a move to another state — mean you’ll have to get a new job. Maybe you’re just unhappy with your current position or company. 

Whatever the reason, it’s important to know how to resign from your current role. Here’s how to quit a job in eight steps.

1. Think about how much notice you want to give. 

Usually, when people quit their job, they’ll give their employer a couple of weeks’ notice so the employer has time to find a replacement. 

Start by taking a look at your contract to see if there’s any mention of a required minimum notice period. You could also check the company policy to see if there’s any more details around the notice period if you can’t find any specific information in your contract. If you can’t find any information, 2 weeks is usually the standard notice period. 

If 2 weeks feels a little bit long to you, that’s OK, too. It totally depends on your relationship with the employer and colleagues, as well as what your expectations are going forward. At the end of the day, giving the standard 2 weeks’ notice is a courtesy and not a requirement. 

Still, consider all the relevant factors of the situation. Do you want to be able to work for the company in the future? Do you want to be able to keep up a professional relationship with the connections you’ve made at the company? 

A 2 weeks’ notice is more important for people who want to keep the connections and relationships they’ve built. 

2. Schedule a meeting with your manager.

Request a private meeting with your manager or supervisor to let them know you’d like to discuss an important matter. This ensures you have their undivided attention and creates a conducive environment for an open conversation.

3. Prepare for the meeting in advance.

Before the day of your meeting with your manager, make sure you put in the time and effort to prep in advance. Draft your resignation speech in advance, highlighting your reasons for leaving (if you want to provide any) and expressing gratitude. 

4. During the meeting, stay professional.

When explaining your reasons for leaving, make sure you use a calm, professional tone. You can be honest about why you plan to leave the company or position, but steer clear of any harsh criticism or negative statements. 

For example, if your reason for leaving is because you hate the company, don’t outwardly say that. Instead, you can say you’re moving on to pursue new opportunities. 

Remain professional throughout the conversation, focusing on constructive points rather than negative aspects of the job.

It’s also a good idea to express appreciation for the opportunities and growth you’ve experienced during your time with the company. This demonstrates your professionalism and leaves a positive impression.

5. Consider offering your assistance with transition.

If possible, offer your support during the transition period. This gesture shows your commitment to a smooth handover of responsibilities and maintains a cooperative attitude.

For example, you could offer to help train your replacement. If you’re unable to help train the new hire, you could also take the time to document and write down your processes, tips for the new employee in the position, or any other notes that could potentially help them experience a smooth transition. 

6. Follow up in writing.

After the face-to-face conversation, send a formal resignation letter to your supervisor. This provides a written record of your resignation and serves as a professional courtesy.

7. Tie up any loose ends. 

Tying up loose ends before you leave could mean different things depending on the company, the industry, and your position. But generally, be sure that your final paycheck and any other payments are cleared and ready to go. 

8. Return any property or items that belong to the company. 

Make sure you return any company property or items that you were given for the job. The property can vary wildly depending on your job. 

For example, if you work in food service, you might be asked to return your uniform or apron. If you work for an IT company, you might need to return your company laptop, cellphone, or other technology. 

How to Use AI to Practice Quitting a Job

If you’re learning how to quit a job (or if it’s been awhile since you last quit a job), it’s a good idea to put in a little practice beforehand. With all the communication technology tools at our fingertips, it’s no surprise that you can use AI to practice quitting a job. 

One such tool that can help you prep is Yoodli, an AI-powered conversation coach. Yoodli analyzes a user’s speech content and speaking patterns to make intelligent suggestions for improvement. 

In fact, Yoodli has a specific functionality just for practicing conversations like these, making it an invaluable coach when you’re learning how to quit a job.

Once you get started for free, you can access Yoodli’s conversation coach tool. Here, you can completely customize what type of conversation you’d like to have. 

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You can start personalizing the conversation by choosing the topic. Yoodli has a list of pre-existing topics, like asking for a raise, small talk, or giving a sales pitch. But you can also simply type in a more specific topic, like quitting a job. 

You can also select a conversation partner by choosing from a list, such as a manager, employee, HR, or a colleague, among others. Similarly, you can also input your own. 

Before you start, choose your conversation partner’s personality. People have all different sorts of personalities, and Yoodli aims to mimic as many of them as possible for the most realistic conversation simulation. For example, you can pick your conversation partner as a professional manager, a frustrated colleague, or a friendly employee, among many other combinations.  

From there, Yoodli uses generative AI to produce a stimulating, engaging conversation practice that you leverage to practice quitting a job. 

Afterward, you’ll receive a report of analytics to give you an overview of how you did. This conversation coach will let you know what went well and what you can work on, along with actionable feedback you can use to improve. 

Learning how to quit a job is much easier with a conversation coach like Yoodli.

When you’re learning how to quit a job, knowing all the metrics and insights behind your speaking patterns can help elevate how your conversation will go when the time comes. 

What to Say When Quitting a Job

There are plenty of things you might want to say when you’re first learning how to quit a job. However, it can help to have a list of talking points you review in advance to make sure you have a good idea of what you want to say. 

Make sure to start the conversation with gratitude to show your appreciation for the employer and the support you received during your time there. Thanking your manager at the beginning of the conversation sets a respectful tone from the get-go. 

From there, the most important thing to say when quitting a job is simply that — that you’re quitting your job. Mention that you’ll be leaving the company, along with the date that you’d like to be your last day. 

Keep in mind that there’s no pressure to explain yourself. Although you don’t have to share your reason for leaving, you can give a brief but general explanation if you feel inclined. 

This conversation is also a good time to offer to help with the transition if you’re willing to help with that. 

Make sure you end the conversation on a positive note. To do this, you can thank your manager for their constant support and for the opportunity to work at the company.

How to say I quit professionally

There are tons of ways to say “I quit” professionally. If you need some inspiration, here are a few phrases you can use in the conversation: 

  • “I wanted to let you know that I’m resigning from my role as [your title or job], effective [date you’d like to be your last day].”
  • “Although I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with [company name], I feel ready to try something new and expand my skill set with a new opportunity.”
  • “I was offered a new role that aligns more closely with my long-term career goals. I feel like now is the right time for me to take on this new challenge and will be resigning effective [date you’d like to be your last day].
  • “I’ve accepted a new position and wanted to give you a heads up that [date you’d like to be your last day] will be my last day.” 
  • “A new opportunity has risen and I’ve decided to go for it. As such, my last day will be [date you’d like to be your last day].”

Knowing how to say “I quit” professionally is a valuable skill that you’ll definitely use in the future, too. You can easily practice this with conversation coaching via Yoodli.

What Not to Say When Quitting a Job

It’s also helpful to know what not to say when quitting a job. In general, the most important thing to remember is to avoid negativity and criticism, even if you feel like it’s warranted. 

Staying professional during your conversation is a must. That includes steering clear of negative statements, accusations, and harsh criticism. Specifically, avoid bad-mouthing the company or your colleagues and management. The main reason you shouldn’t say this when quitting a job is because it can hurt your future prospects. You never know how your paths will cross in the future and burning bridges in this way can affect your work down the line. 

It’s also not a good idea to complain about the working conditions or your workload. Although you don’t need to feel obligated to give your employer a reason for your departure, definitely don’t mention these as your reason for leaving.

Other Considerations for How to Quit a Job

When you’re learning how to quit a job, there are plenty of factors to keep in mind, from the resignation letter to what you’ll say to your manager and how you’ll leave. 

Here are a few other considerations to keep in mind when you’re figuring out how to quit a job. 

How to quit a job you just started

Knowing how to quit a job you just started is an important skill. Of course, your goal isn’t usually to leave a job you just were hired for, but things happen. If you’ve already considered the alternatives — such as voicing your concerns about your job internally — it’s time to start the conversation. 

Here are a few tips on how to quit a job you just started:

  • Try to give as much notice as you can
  • Schedule a meeting with your supervisor
  • Write a resignation letter
  • Be prepared for questions from your manager

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that quitting a job you just started can potentially hurt your future prospects, especially if you list the experience on your resume. While it’s not the end of the world, leaving a role after only a short period can make future employers curious or skeptical. That being said, for future opportunities, prepare to explain this short stint in interviews. 

Even if you’ve never been in this situation, learning how to quit a job you just started could come in handy in the future. 

Best excuse to quit a job without notice

There’s no good way to sugarcoat it: Quitting a job without notice isn’t a good look. Regardless of your true intentions, it can come off as unprofessional and can even harm your reputation. 

Even if you’ve checked your contract and company policy and it doesn’t mention anything about a resignation notice period, try not to leave abruptly. At the very least, you should have a good excuse to quit a job without notice.

If you do choose to quit a job without notice, just keep in mind that it can hurt your future prospects of getting a job. 

How to Quit a Job and Overcome Common Hurdles

Learning how to quit a job can come with its own set of challenges and concerns. In this section, we will address some common issues and provide guidance on how to navigate them effectively.

1. Dealing with emotions: What if I feel emotional during the resignation conversation?

It is natural to feel a range of emotions when resigning, especially if you have developed strong connections with your colleagues or have mixed feelings about leaving. Take a moment to compose yourself before the conversation, and focus on maintaining a professional demeanor. Practice deep breathing techniques to help manage any overwhelming emotions.

If you do get emotional, don’t panic. There’s nothing wrong with showing your emotions and it’s perfectly natural. You can always acknowledge it by saying something like, “I’m a little emotional about leaving the company, but I really appreciate all the support given to me during my time here.”

Worse comes to worse, you can always excuse yourself and take a moment alone to focus.

After the conversation, take some time to process your emotions and unwind.  

2. Handling counteroffers: What if my employer presents a counteroffer when I resign?

Counteroffers can be tempting, but it’s crucial to carefully consider them. Reflect on your original reasons for wanting to leave and evaluate whether the counteroffer aligns with your long-term goals. Remember that accepting a counteroffer can sometimes result in a strained relationship with your current employer or colleagues, and it may not address the underlying issues that led you to consider leaving in the first place.

3. Maintaining confidentiality: Should I discuss my resignation with colleagues before informing my supervisor?

It’s generally advisable to inform your supervisor first before discussing your resignation with colleagues. Respecting the chain of command and maintaining confidentiality is essential to ensure a smooth transition and avoid any misunderstandings. However, if you have a close relationship with a trusted colleague who can provide guidance or support, it may be appropriate to discuss your plans with them discreetly.

4. Handling negative reactions: What if my supervisor or colleagues react negatively to my resignation?

While it’s natural to hope for a positive response, reactions can vary. Stay calm and composed, and remember to focus on maintaining professionalism throughout the conversation. Listen to their concerns, if any, and try to address them respectfully. However, it’s important not to let negative reactions discourage you from pursuing your career goals or making the decision that is right for you.

FAQ About How to Quit a Job 

It’s only natural to have questions, especially if you’ve never quit a job before (or if you haven’t in awhile). Here are a few of the most common FAQs about how to quit a job.

1. Do you need to quit a job face to face?

No, you don’t always need to quit a job face to face — it’s up to you on how you want to have the conversation. You can send a letter of resignation in the form of an email, have the conversation over the phone, or jump on a virtual video call. Still, most people say resigning from a job face to face is best

It shows respect to your employer and colleagues by giving them the opportunity to have a personal conversation about your decision. It also allows you to express gratitude for the opportunities and experiences you’ve had while working there. Moreover, resigning in person enables you to maintain positive relationships and leave a lasting impression, which can be beneficial for future references or networking opportunities.

2. When should I schedule the resignation meeting to quit my job?

Schedule the meeting at a time that allows both you and your supervisor to have a private conversation without distractions. Choose a time when your supervisor is available and not overwhelmed with other commitments.

3. Do I need to talk to my boss before quitting?

It’s considered professional and respectful to have a conversation with your boss before resigning. By discussing your decision in person, you demonstrate professionalism, provide clarity on your intentions, and allow for open communication. It also gives your employer the opportunity to address any concerns or potential counteroffers.

4. Is it necessary to follow up with a formal resignation letter?

Yes, it’s a good idea to follow up the face-to-face conversation with a formal resignation letter. This provides a written record of your resignation and serves as a professional courtesy.

The Bottom Line

Learning how to quit a job requires thoughtfulness, preparation, and effective communication. By following the best practices outlined in this guide and utilizing tools like Yoodli to refine your resignation speech, you can navigate the process with confidence and professionalism. Remember, leaving a job on good terms paves the way for future opportunities and leaves a positive impression in your professional network.

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