How to quit your job graciously

If you’ve been considering handing in your notice, you’re not alone. In fact, recent workforce data from the US shows that people have quit their jobs in droves since lockdown restrictions began to ease.

Here in the UK, it seems we’re beginning to follow suit.

An HR Study conducted by Personio and Opinium recently predicted a mass exodus which will likely prompt a post-pandemic talent drain; a challenge that’s already rippling through the service and hospitality sectors.

The circumstances prompting people to leave their jobs are varied. Poor work-life balance, post-pandemic salary cuts or pay freezes and a toxic work culture all rated highly in the research.

Some have used their time on furlough to re-evaluate what they want out of life – and work.

Others are quite simply no longer comfortable being required to return to their office desk for five days a week, after working successfully from home for almost a year.

Whatever your reasons, there’s an art to quitting graciously. Even if you can’t wait to get out of there, leaving a role on bad terms with your current employer could have unseen and far-reaching effects on your future career.

As well as needing them for a reference – potentially for years to come – your colleagues or superiors could be useful (or problematic) contacts in the future.

Even if a toxic colleague is your reason for leaving, avoid burning bridges as you never know where your paths might cross again.

Leaving a company on good terms not only reflects great professionalism on your part, but will make it a much more positive experience for both parties.

Here are our top tips on how to quit graciously and leave your job on a high.



Whether you’ve already secured another role or just decided to take time out, it’s always tempting to share the news with your colleagues first, especially if you’re close.

Resignations, however, should always be discussed with your manager first and foremost, before anyone else. Ask them for a meeting (either virtually or face to face) and aim for the end of the day, when things are less busy.



After your meeting, you’ll need to have a formal resignation letter ready for HR records.

Be polite and concise, explaining in brief your reasons for quitting, noting the end date of your notice period and thanking them for the opportunities you’ve received.

Don’t air your grievances in the letter; if you’re unsure what to say, simply say you’re moving on to a new opportunity or challenge.



If you’ve built a great working relationship with your manager, they’ll likely be surprised and possibly disappointed to hear your news. They may even come back with a counter-offer.

Be respectful but firm about your decision to quit, and have some answers ready to the many questions they may have. Again, even if the workplace culture has been poor, avoid going into detail as that could still affect your future references. Stay positive, and keep the focus on yourself and your own career needs.



It’s worth checking with your manager that they’re happy for you to share your news before telling colleagues. Sometimes there might be unseen political reasons why they might not want your peers to know just yet.

Although it’s technically your prerogative to share your news once you’ve told your manager, it’s polite and respectful to double-check with them.



Whether your notice period is two weeks, a month or even three months, wrapping things up efficiently will make things that bit easier for your employer when you quit.

Clear out your files, folders and emails, save any work samples you might need, make helpful lists for your replacement and do everything you can to ensure a smooth handover.

Don’t be tempted to coast through your notice period as your approach in that time could be how you’ll be remembered.



Sending a quick round-robin to colleagues on your last day is customary. It’s a great opportunity to tell them how much you’ve enjoyed working with them (if, of course, that’s the case!) and how they can keep in touch with you.

Do the same with any clients you’ve got to know well, outlining details for their new point of contact, and offer to keep in touch via LinkedIn.


A&D Recruitment are specialists in recruitment for the renewable energy and building services industries. For more tips, visit our blog section or contact us today for a friendly, informal chat about how A&D Recruitment could help you fill your next role.

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