Photo Credit: Jeremy Perkins,

There are plenty of ways to resign from your job. Some are graceful, some are vindictive. Unless you want to erase everything positive you’ve accomplished since your first day on the job, your departure must be as strategic and deliberate as your arrival. Here are some suggestions on what to do, and what not to do when you resign.

The “To Do” List

  • Do give notice: If possible, provide at least two weeks notice to your current employer. Spend your time working and wrapping up your job.
  • Do what you can to provide a smooth transition: Make it easy for your colleagues to find materials so they can more easily transition your work and won’t need to call you at your new job. If your replacement’s hired before your departure, train them well on your role and responsibilities.
  • Do get details on next steps: Understand what benefits and compensation for unused sick or vacation days may apply to your resignation situation. Get details on COBRA and your 401(k) or 403(b).
  • Do ask for a reference: Ask your boss or colleagues if they would serve as a reference. If they agree, ask them to write you a LinkedIn recommendation or be available via email or phone for a new employer. You’ll have the reference as part of your LinkedIn profile, which is great for your future job search endeavors.

The “Do Not” List

  • Do not badmouth your boss and company: A very important move when you leave your job’s to fireproof any and all bridges. It’s a smaller world than you think. You never know when you might need your former boss and colleagues, or when they may need you. It’s a possibility the new job, boss, or company isn’t the fit it was promised to be during the interview. It’s also possible to be a “boomerang” employee and you’ll want to come back someday. At the very least, you want to be able to count on one person in the organization to serve as a reference for you in the future.
  • Do not sabotage information: Deleting and manipulating company information will do more harm than good. While it may be tempting as a last attempt to get back at your employer, sabotaging information can only lead to destruction. This also includes taking anything that doesn’t belong to you, such as client information or office supplies.
  • Do not forget to let people know that you’re leaving: It’s appropriate to send an email notice to colleagues, customers, and anyone else that may need to know you’ve resigned. Feel free to include contact information so you can stay in touch and if there are questions during the transition period.
  • Do not use Social Media as a outlet: While it may be tempting to disclose next steps in your career or brag about your new role, it’s best practice to keep your private life, private. It’s difficult to predict the the outcome of your Tweets or Facebook posts, even if you have your account set to private.

During your last few weeks, do everything you can to leave behind a squeaky clean reputation. Be conscientious and thorough as you’re wrapping up or transitioning projects and responsibilities. Even if you’re leaving because you can’t stand your employer or colleagues, act like a team player and keep your negativity to a minimum.

At the end of your transition period, if your colleagues take you out for lunch or throw you a best wishes party, congratulate yourself! Chances are it means you’ve handled your departure in the best way possible. Making a graceful exit’s the only way to move on in your career while maintaining your professional reputation.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Perkins,