How to Resign From Your Executive Job Without Burning Bridges

Posted on 02-04-2021
resign without burning bridges

Making sure you resign from your executive job gracefully is critical to your success.

Undoubtedly, starting a new executive position can herald a new, exciting period in your career.

However, before you can take this next step, you have to resign from your current position.

Particularly if you’re an executive with a great deal of responsibility, it’s crucial to do this thoughtfully and respectfully.

Keep the following tips in mind to resign from your executive job without burning bridges.

Executive resignation best practices:

  • Make sure you have a signed offer letter. Before you resign, it’s a best practice to obtain a signed offer letter from your new employer. (Assuming you have a job lined up; it’s typically best to wait until you have something lined up barring extreme circumstances; you’re worth more in the market when you’re employed.)
  • Determine how much notice to give. It’s standard to give two weeks’ notice when you resign, but when you’re in a position of authority, it can be wise to provide your old company with more time to find a replacement.
  • Write a letter of resignation and give it to your boss in person. Your letter of resignation should clearly state that you’re resigning and include the date you’ll be leaving. While you don’t have to include a reason for your resignation, it’s advisable to express your gratitude for the experiences and opportunities you’ve had with the organization.
  • Let your boss determine how and when to communicate the news to the rest of the team. He or she might want to keep the news under wraps until a replacement is found. If there are key colleagues you feel you need to inform yourself, make sure to give your boss a heads up before doing so.
  • Offer to help your boss to find a replacement. Nobody knows your job requirements as well as you do, so it can be helpful for your boss to have your input on selecting your successor.
  • Bring your replacement up to speed. Whether it’s a temporary or permanent replacement, you should offer to help him or her learn the ropes. Inform your replacement about the initiatives you’ve been working on, and make sure he or she is introduced to all the stakeholders and employees. If appropriate, offer to remain available for information and input even after you leave.
  • Wrap up projects or prepare to hand them over. Finalize any last projects you’re working on, or organize them in such a way that the handoff is relatively simple.
  • Remain professional and positive throughout the process. Never be negative about the company or anybody at the company, whether in conversation or in writing.
  • Stay in touch. Make sure you’re connected with your previous colleagues on LinkedIn, and stay in touch with them professionally. You never know when a mutually beneficial opportunity may arise.

By resigning gracefully from your executive job, you stand a better chance of maintaining your good reputation and maintaining the connections you made in your previous position. In the long run, both can be critical to the continuity and success of your career.

Need help? Consider a quick strategy session with one of our executive career coaches for help with your most pressing job search questions, from deciding what the “right” next job looks like to navigating counteroffers and negotiating, we can help. Learn more:

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