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Alberta Supports Contact Centre

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Leaving a Job Without Burning Bridges

If you’re like the average person, you’ll change jobs 6 or 7 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.

Follow these guidelines.

Write your letter of resignation

Here are 3 things to keep in mind when writing your resignation letter.

1. Give 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 2 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:

  • If you have worked less than 3 months, no notice is needed.
  • If you have worked more than 3 months but less than 2 years, 1 weeks' notice is needed.
  • If you have worked 2 years or more, 2 weeks' notice is needed.

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

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 supervisor why you’re leaving.

2. Write 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 letter of resignation to help you prepare your own.

3. Tie 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 emails 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.

Be professional when you leave a job

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.

Additional information

Visit Alberta Employment Standards 

Call the Employment Standards Contact Centre

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

Deaf or hard of hearing callers with TDD/TTY units:
Alberta Toll-free Number: 1-800-232-7215
In Edmonton call: 780-427-9999

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