How to Properly Give Notice at Work

You’re ready to move on. You’ve learned a lot from your current position, you’ve grown your career, and you’ve made so many lasting connections on your team. But, it’s time to move forward. As you twiddle your thumbs, considering how you’ll tell your employer, you’re probably struggling with finding the right way to essentially “break up” with your boss and the company. The proper way to do that is what we call giving notice. Giving notice is always difficult (like any ending), but with these tips it may get a little easier. There’s a right way to do it to leave on good terms; here’s how.


Review Your Company’s HR Policy

Before you set to work on planning your speech, setting up a meeting, or writing out your resignation letter, you’ll want to review your company’s policy on giving notice. Each company has its own guidelines on resignation. Some may ask that you meet with HR before they set up a meeting with your supervisor, others ask that you sit down with your supervisor before giving your resignation letter to HR. Some require two weeks’ notice; others require 45 days. Review the company’s employee handbook to comply with company guidelines.


Don’t Tell Anyone Before Your Boss

You may be so excited about the new job that you just want to burst and tell everyone the news. It’s understandable, but it’s best not to tell anyone at work until you’ve had the opportunity to tell your supervisor and/or HR. News leaks quickly and it’s inappropriate for your boss to find out from anyone else before you. It’s respectful to keep your plan to resign to yourself until you can tell them.


Resign In-Person First

This could mean HR and your supervisor, or just your supervisor, but it’s best to set up a meeting to sit down with your supervisor, with or without HR, to tell them personally. Following that meeting, it’s best to submit a signed and dated resignation letter. All companies require some written form of documentation for their records. However, it’s respectful to first bring it up during either an in-person or virtual meeting.


Format of the Resignation Letter

Speaking of the written document, your company will require that you submit a resignation letter to HR. Like with anything official at work, there’s a proper format to writing a resignation letter. You may write the letter however sounds like you, but the following must always be included:

  • Your Name
  • The Company Name
    • Your name and the company name can be in the same line.
  • Start Date of Resignation
  • End Date of Employment
  • Reason for Leaving
  • Gratitude Statement
  • Next Steps
    • Outline your plan to train your replacement.
  • Closing Statement


Give Firm End Date

Both your current employer and new employer will want clarity on when you’re starting your new job. When giving notice, it’s best to give a firm end date of employment. This is when specificity is crucial. Instead of “two weeks’ notice,” you’ll want to specifically state the last day you plan to work through. This allows for your current employer to plan to find your replacement, and your new employer to plan your start date and training.


Keep it Kind

You may be leaving due to concerns about new management, or changes made to your internal team, or something else unfavorable about your current company. While that’s understandable, and you’re doing what’s best for you, you’ll want to leave that information out when giving notice. If you must provide some kind of explanation, keep it vague and offer something like “I feel it’s in the best interest for my career growth to move on.” You’ll want to leave on a good note, without making anyone you work with feel badly.


Tell Coworkers Personally

It’s likely you’ve made a lot of great friends on your current team. It’s kind to tell them personally, over lunch or coffee, after you’ve told your boss and HR. They’ll want a proper goodbye and to make plans to stay in touch. And don’t let them find out through the grapevine. As previously mentioned, news travels fast within a company. It’s best to tell them yourself, to be respectful of their feelings and break the news to them easily.


Quitting a job is never easy, but hopefully these tips help make it a little less painful. For more career tips to help you through professional challenges, keep following our blog and listen to our podcast. We appreciate your subscription to our channel.