Coley Company Blog

Leaving on a Good Note


Have you ever wondered about the best way to resign from your job? Rest assured that you aren’t alone in this. Resigning can be intimidating after many years with your company and the strong relationships you have with your supervisors and co-workers.  There are many ways to resign, but remember to resign on a high note and not burn any bridges. Keep in mind that your supervisor could be a helpful reference for you to land a job in the future.  Make sure to schedule a time to speak with your supervisor one on one, in a setting where you will not be interrupted. A resignation is a personal and private event. You should not share that you are resigning from your position until you can meet with your supervisor. You should also have your formal letter of resignation written; remember to include the last date you will be working at the company. We have found three common questions that are asked when you present your formal resignation. Some companies choose to give a formal exit interview, and some may not. Either way, you will be prepared for these questions. We are sharing our tried and true solutions that have worked for Coley Company candidates for over 20 years.

Question #1: “Why are you leaving us?”

This is almost always the first question asked once you present your formal resignation to your supervisor. It is best to let them know that everything has been great. You never want to say anything negative because that is what your employer will remember when you leave. Some believe that it is their duty to their co-workers or to the person who will replace them, to share the challenges or what went wrong in the role. Each circumstance is different, but generally, the best rule of thumb is to refrain from saying anything negative. Be sure to thank your employer for the opportunity to work for them.

Question #2: “What can we do to keep you here?”

This is a knee jerk reaction for an employer when you share with them that you are leaving. This question reiterates why it is so important to answer question #1 in the right way. If you had given them specific issues and conflicts that were a problem that drove you to leave, their first reaction would be to promise to resolve those issues to keep you. Remain firm in your decision to choose to leave the company. You could use statements such as, “I have thought long and hard about my decision, and this is what is best for me.” Or “Instead of talking about how to keep me here, let’s discuss how we can make this transition over the next two weeks as smooth as possible.”

Question #3: “Can you work longer than a two-week notice?”

This is a question that you definitely need to be prepared to answer. Employers often panic when they learn you are leaving. Think about all the responsibility that you hold in your role….now they have to find someone (and quickly!) to replace you and all that you do for the company. A formal two-week written notice is entirely acceptable. You should not feel obliged to work any longer than stated in your notice. Certain unique situations would change this, for example, you may want to work a little longer than the standard two weeks to complete an important project that was in process. We have found that over 90% of resignations we have guided candidates through, a two-week notice is sufficient. Stand your ground and remain firm that the date listed on your formal resignation is the last day you will be working. If your supervisor tries to pressure you into working a longer period, you could say, “I have already committed to a start date with my new employer. I promise to work as hard as I can over the next two weeks to leave the company as complete and organized as possible.”

The most important thing to remember when resigning is to be professional and to the point. The goal when resigning is for your company to think positively of you, months, and years after you leave. Always remember to be kind and thank them for the opportunity to learn and grow while working with them. A good recruiter can help you through these challenges and make this process as smooth as possible.

Contact me today with your resignation questions and concerns.

-Denise Elliot Davis, Vice President of Coley Company

(336) 218- 6667

Share This Post