How To Resign Without Burning Bridges

Contribution from Kirsty Ferguson, resume and interview expertI resign


Resigning positively is a skill worth learning. In some cases it can be a challenge making it through without ‘letting loose’ about the actual reasons.

Here are some thoughts to consider when you are about to resign from your job.


You should never:


  • Make it personal. A resignation usually occurs because of a career move or perhaps because you no longer share the values of your current employer. Or maybe you have decided to start your own business.  Whatever the reason, it should never be personal; it is a professional decision and should be treated as such.  This is not your chance to vent.
  • Use your resignation as a threat.  Nobody is indispensible. Never hold a company to ransom in order to get what you want by serving an ultimatum in the form of a resignation.  In most cases this won’t work.  If you resign you better be ready to pack your bag and go.
  • Assume your resignation is confidential.  Most industries are like incestuous families, everyone knows everyone. So letting loose and telling people what you really think about them and their business may be cathartic, but it won’t really have an effect on the company. Beware! It can and will have a detrimental effect to your reputation and career within that industry so keep your issues to yourself.


You should instead:


  • Use fact based professional language in both written and verbal communication
  • Have an informal chat about your upcoming resignation with your superior before you actually resign. Treat them and the company with the same respect with which you wish to be treated.
  • Prepare your reasons for leaving before you go in for the chat. Whilst you legally don’t have to provide reasons, you can expect this to form part of the conversation.
  • After the personal chat, present a written letter of resignation covering the great opportunity and positives of your role, confirmation of your notice period and cover any contractual points that may have been in your contract or agreement, such as return of company property and confidentiality.
  • Give the company the required notice and offer an exit strategy that assists the company to transition you out and your replacement in.