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Tip Sheets

Parting Company - Leaving a Job Without Burning Bridges


If you’re like the average person, you’ll change jobs six or seven times in your working life. The way you handle leaving those jobs can have an impact on your career:

  • You are more likely get a positive reference from your employer if you take a professional approach to resigning.
  • You never know when someone may re-enter your life. Unless you are leaving the industry or moving away, you may find yourself working with or for someone from the organization in the future.

Creating a positive last impression is the savvy, professional way to leave a job.

Writing your letter of resignation

Here are three things to keep in mind when writing your resignation letter.

Giving notice

When you’re going to leave a job, it’s important to give your employer notice—to tell your employer ahead of time that you will be quitting. It’s often a good idea to give two weeks’ notice, even if you are not required to, as a courtesy to your employer.

How much notice you must give usually depends on how long you’ve worked at the job.

How long you have worked How much notice you must give your employer
Less than 3 months No notice needed
Over 3 months but less than 2 years 1 week’s notice
2 or more years 2 weeks’ notice

If you’re not sure how much notice to give, check

  • your contract
  • your company’s policy
  • with Employment Standards. See Additional Information.

Tell your supervisor in person that you’ll be leaving. Be sure to do this before you tell your co-workers. Keep things positive and professional—you don’t need to explain your reasons in detail but you should be prepared to tell your boss why you’re leaving.

Writing your letter of resignation

A letter of resignation is the professional way to record the details so there are no misunderstandings:

  • Keep it brief and to the point. Include
    • the date
    • the name of the person you’re sending it to
    • the position you are resigning from
    • when your last day of work will be

  • Keep it professional. Stick to the facts. Avoid a detailed explanation of your reasons for leaving.
  • Keep it positive. It’s never a good idea to use a resignation letter as a way to vent frustration or settle scores. Be polite, even if you didn’t enjoy working for the organization.
  • Sign your letter and keep a copy for your records.

Check out this sample to help you prepare your own letter of resignation

Sample letter of resignation (PDF)

Tying up loose ends

Prepare a work plan including details about projects you will complete before you leave, the status of any ongoing work and written instructions for the person who replaces you.

Offer to help look for and train your replacement, if this is appropriate.

Make yourself available. Your last few weeks on the job are not the best time to use up your vacation days.

Clean your workspace and tidy up your e-mails and files. Make sure important files or project work is labelled and easy to find. Pack up any personal items and return any company property, such as keys or supplies.

When you handle your resignation professionally and considerately, you increase your chances of leaving your job on good terms. This kind of positive approach will help ensure a smooth transition to the next step in your career.



Relevant Tips (alis.alberta.ca/tips)

Additional Reading (alis.alberta.ca/publications)


Additional Information

Visit the Employment Standards website at work.alberta.ca/es 

Call the Employment Standards Contact Centre

Alberta Toll-free Number:
In Edmonton call:
1-877-427-3731
780-427-3731


Deaf or hard of hearing callers with TDD/TTY units
Alberta Toll-free Number:
In Edmonton call:
1-232-7251
780-427-9999

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