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How to Give a Verbal Resignation

Whether bitter or moving on to greener pastures, give a verbal resignation that states the case without burning bridges.


  • TIP: Show some class and take it upon yourself to notify the human resource manager, too.
  • Step 1: End well with gratitude and recount what has benefited you in your time at their workplace. They deserve to know what they do well and it's rare for them to be told. Be gracious and offer to assist with finding your replacement.
  • FACT: Richard Nixon became the first American president to resign on August 8, 1974.
  • Step 2: Prepare for a counter offer when you resign, whether you believe that's possible or not, and decide what you'll say. Don't be insulted -- it's just business. It's hard to hire and retrain new people and they may want to agree to original terms to avoid the hassle.
  • Step 3: Keep it simple by providing a resignation letter also. Mention simply that you are leaving to take another position and announce the effective date for your departure. Do not share your business beyond this.
  • Step 4: Rehearse what you plan to say and try it out with a friend to be sure it sounds formal and mature enough. You never know where you'll end up in a few years, so you won't want to burn any bridges.
  • Step 5: Give them two to four weeks' notice, especially when you've had a good relationship with a superior. You may want to use your former workplace as a reference in the future and leaving on good terms is the key.
  • TIP: Don't be surprised if you are let go as soon as you resign, usually owing to security concerns.
  • Step 6: Anticipate your verbal resignation by removing personal items from your area beforehand, including personal computer files.

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