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Quitting Your Job: How to Resign Without Burning Bridges

  • Publish Date: Posted 5 months ago


You've found a new opportunity and you're leaving your current role. Whether you’re stepping up to a position with team management or to a role where you’ll learn new skills, it’s an exciting aspect of life. 

However, before you embark on your new venture you need to hand in your notice. Quitting your job and giving notice can be daunting, so how do you leave your job gracefully and leave on a high note? 

Whether your current job is your first and you've never had to resign, or you feel you could learn how to make resigning a smooth transition, we’re here to offer you support so you don't quit a job without proper preparation. 

When making the decision to leave, it’s crucial to leave on good terms with your line manager and team. That’s because the local world of Finance and Accountancy is small, especially as hybrid working enables professionals to travel further. You’re likely to meet a past colleague in the future so leaving on good terms ensures you’re not disrupting the organisation. It also helps further preserve your future relationship with your past employer and resign without bad feelings.

Before we get into the details of how to leave your role with grace, there’s a key point to remember:

Don’t speak negatively of your colleagues and the business. This ensures you're maintaining a positive impression for the future preservation of your relationship and that you remain professional, avoiding leaving on a bad note. Your past employer will often be contacted to provide a character reference, so you want to leave a good impression. You also never know who your future employers will be!


Revisit your contract: It's a good idea to check your contract when you make the decision to move to a new role. Most employers request more than a week's notice, with senior roles requesting up to 6 months. By checking your contract, you’re making sure that you give enough notice.

Schedule a meeting: Talk to your employer before handing your notice in so it doesn’t come as a shock. Make sure you do this with a face-to-face meeting to avoid miscommunication and be clear that you're resigning. Where possible, focus on your new opportunity rather than the negative aspects of your departure or any dissatisfaction you've felt in your role. Leaving a job is rarely due to negative circumstances, but if it is, don't focus on this. Express that it's time for you to move on and thank your boss. It's at this point you'll want to mention that you're happy to assist with the transition, and with training your replacement to ensure they’re eased into taking over your projects.

Put it in Writing:

You should have already had a conversation with your line manager, but HR will need a formal letter of resignation. Although you can use a resignation letter template, drafting your own version is just as simple.

Address it to your employer directly and make it clear that you want to resign due to having found a new position with another company. State your last working day (having accounted for your full notice period unless otherwise discussed.) Always thank your employer for their time and support, but keep it brief. Make sure to keep the letter in your own records for future reference.

Giving Proper Notice: As Finance and Accountancy consultants, we often see employers who may shorten your notice period if you have holiday left. If you’re considering shortening your notice period you should always bring this up in your initial discussion, before handing in your formal resignation. The last thing you want is to leave your current role before a mutually agreed end date. 

If shortening your notice period isn't an option, make your new employer aware, especially if you've told them you're current employer will allow it and they think your start date will be earlier.

Once you have handed in your formal notice, you're then able to tell everyone else in the business. It's common to be nervous about this, but sharing the news that you're leaving with your colleagues face to face, rather than letting them hear about it through the grapevine, shows you have their best interests in mind and ensures you're staying professional.

The Transition Period:

During the transition period, you can also assist in providing a thorough handover by offering to train the individual who will be taking over from you and avoid leaving loose ends. By making the transition as seamless as possible, you’re maintaining that positive relationship and demonstrating professionalism. 

It’s also difficult for an individual entering a new role to build relationships and pick up the work where someone else has left off. If you’re present for their first week or so, you're able to clearly explain everything they need. You could also offer to leave them your contact details so they can get in contact via email if they have future queries whilst settling into the role.


We're seeing an increase in counter-offers due to the shortage of job applicants looking for a new opportunity. 

If your manager proposes a counter-offer, make sure that it aligns with what you need and that you’ve thought about it. Although it can be tempting to stay where you are because you’re comfortable and you may be offered a higher salary, you need to remind yourself of your reasons for leaving.

Does the role offer progression and learning opportunities? Is there room to grow or advance your career?


On your final day, consider offering feedback to the manager in your current company. Whether it’s about their hiring process, opportunity in the business, or anything that’s been on your mind. It could help your colleagues and the business understand challenges they weren’t aware of.

Ultimately, it’s imperative that when you hand your notice in, you get it right by remaining professional and leaving on good terms. Having worked on Finance and Accountancy opportunities in Dorset, the South Coast, Sussex, and Thames Valley for the last 11 years, we’ve spoken to a lot of candidates who have come across previous employers and who have worked with them again in the future. You want to make sure that you aren’t burning bridges for the future.

Wherever possible, make sure you serve the full notice period stated in your contract, and don’t tell your colleagues before your manager. Make sure to stay in contact with the business and with anybody who’s been a career coach or had a positive impact on your career.

If you've found your new role through a recruitment consultant, always keep them in the loop with handing in your notice so they can also manage your new employers expectations.

Following these steps will ensure you maintain professional courtesy and leave your job without burning bridges. Maintaining future working relationships is the key to handing in your notice gracefully.