How to Gracefully Leave a Job for Another Opportunity


Let’s say you’ve worked hard during a job search, consistently applying for positions and interviewing. Finally, you accept an offer for a role that is a better opportunity than your current position. How do you handle the resignation process? For many life sciences professionals, the act of quitting a job and separating from a company can be stressful, leading to feelings of fear, anxiety and doubt. On the other hand, some people are thrilled about putting in their two weeks notice, and think of it as a time to address all of their grievances with the organization they are leaving.

How have you handled quitting jobs in the past? Did you leave abruptly, or work throughout your final two weeks? Many professionals believe that since they are leaving one company, how they conduct themselves during their final days doesn’t matter. Your reputation can be negatively affected by a hostile separation from an employer. Many organizations look for professional references from your past and might call your previous employer to ask if you are eligible for rehire. Initiating an exit from a company that is positive and on good terms is one of the best things you can do for your career. Here are some tips to gracefully leave a job for another opportunity.

Put in your formal resignation / two weeks notice (and be prepared to work them)

Once you’re certain that you want to leave your current position, it’s a good idea to type up a resignation letter that outlines the day you are putting in your notice and your proposed last date of employment. You can make the document a little more personable by including a few highlights from your time at the company and thanking them for hiring you. Print the letter and sign an original copy of the document that you can provide to the human resources department. Many organizations are caught off guard when an employee puts in their resignation. Some companies fear sabotage and breaches of confidentiality, so they do not have employees work throughout their final two weeks. However, you shouldn’t take anything for granted and be prepared to work your final two weeks if necessary.

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Communicate with your colleagues

Situations can become awkward when your colleagues know that you’re leaving the organization. Some co-workers might stop speaking to you all together or keep their distance to avoid being closely associated with you. Since you are quitting, they might assume that you are not getting along with management. Despite how other people might behave, try to act the same as you normally would. Many people will judge your behavior during your exit, so remain friendly and communicate in the same fashion as you did prior to putting in your resignation.

Keep some details confidential

Maintaining the lines of communication with your co-workers is beneficial to you and your reputation moving forward. However, keeping some details confidential might be ideal depending on your situation. You are not obligated to tell your current company everything about your future plans and employment. There are times when disclosing too much information about what organization you’re going to work for, how much money you’ll be making or other aspects of your new role can cause conflict. Are you going to work for a similar company? Is your new organization in the same industry? When in doubt, it’s usually better to say less about your next opportunity.

Stay positive and avoid bad-mouthing your current company

There is a strong temptation for many professionals to express negativity about the company they are leaving and gossip with colleagues. You want to avoid this urge. It can be difficult because there is a good chance that other co-workers will come to you and initiate conversations where they talk bad about the organization. Keep these conversations brief and try to stay objective with what you say. Don’t talk about others who are not present or bring up numerous failures from the past. People tend to remember their last interactions with others the most. You could work somewhere for years as a model employee, but if you leave on a negative note talking about others, that is what most will recall about you.

Receiving a better employment opportunity can be exciting and rewarding. Being mindful of how you navigate the separation between you and your current organization is beneficial to your reputation. Present a formal, signed resignation letter to your company and be prepared to work your final two weeks. Continue to communicate with your colleagues, while keeping sensitive information confidential. Avoid the common tendencies to become negative about your current employer and spread gossip. What could you do to execute a seamless transition out of a job?

Porschia Parker is a Certified Coach, Professional Resume Writer, and Founder of Fly High Coaching. ( She empowers ambitious professionals and motivated executives to add $10K on average to their salaries.

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