How to Leave your Job (Without Burning Bridges)

Once you’ve made your decision to move on, it’s important to know how to make your exit while keeping your connections intact.
The gradsingapore Team
Dawn Yip
Editorial Intern, gradsingapore
How to Leave your Job (Without Burning Bridges)

After much consideration, you’ve finally come to a decision. It’s time for you to move on to the next best thing for you, and that means leaving your current job. 

It’s not always an easy step, but if you’re thinking of quitting your current job, you aren’t alone.  There’s been an increase of people leaving their current jobs, with a report from Michael Page Talent Trends noting that 56 per cent of employed respondents are expecting to find a new job this year, higher than what it used to be in 2020.

Regardless of how you personally feel about your current job – whether you’re genuinely sad to leave or silently counting down the seconds till you can say “sayonara” – knowing how to resign without burning your bridges is crucial. After all, even if you might feel cathartic about leaving it all behind, it might come back to bite you if you find yourself going back to it or landing a job in the same industry. 

Like ending a relationship, leaving a job is never easy, and can be stressful for all parties involved. But while it can be difficult, here are some guidelines you can follow to make the process a little smoother. 

Start by telling your boss ASAP

Your first priority is to set up a meeting with your boss and/or supervisor to let them know of your decision. They shouldn’t have to hear this from your co-workers or worse, from workplace gossip – that would be not only unprofessional, but straight up offensive. Ideally, you’ll want to tell them face-to-face. If that’s not possible, arrange an online meeting or call them up. Emailing them about it isn’t recommended, but it can be used as a last resort when circumstances warrant it.

Once you get that meeting, be mindful about how you approach this topic – even if you’re on good terms with your manager, this can still be a difficult and awkward conversation to have. Regardless of how you feel about your job, keep the conversation positive, or at the very least, neutral

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Tie up any loose ends

If you have any on-going projects or assignments, you’ll need to have them completed before you leave. In the time between giving your notice and your last day, make sure to finalise as much of your workload as possible, and if that isn’t possible, prepare handover instructions for your replacement. It can take time for the company to find and train a suitable replacement, so doing so will at least help to take some pressure off them until then. After all, nothing shows gratitude and accountability like a job that’s done well—and finished.


Staying connected with your colleagues

After letting your boss know, the next group of people you’ll want to notify are your colleagues. For those who you’ve become friends with, though, it can feel painful to have to leave them behind.

Remember, just because you’re resigning doesn’t mean that you have to cut off your relationships with them. On the contrary, your colleagues would probably appreciate it more if you didn’t just ghost them once you step out of the office for the last time!

Before you leave, you can consider asking your fellow colleagues or supervisors to write you reference letters, or connect with you on LinkedIn. Be sure to let them know beforehand, and thank them when they accept.


Exit gracefully

Once the details of your resignation are finalised, you need to start preparing for your exit. This includes returning any company property you have and clearing your old desk in preparation for the next hire that uses it.

More importantly, retain a good work ethic and attitude, even as your last day draws near and you absolutely hate your old job and want to leave as soon as possible. Contrary to the dramatic exits you might’ve seen on TV, causing a scene will only result in you not only potentially getting blacklisted, but may jeopardise your future prospects.


Leaving a job is something that a lot of people go through in their professional careers, for one reason or another. But knowing how to exit can help you maintain your professional relationships and references. Moreover, there could be a chance that you might cross paths again with your former bosses and colleagues in the future, so leaving a good impression on them will certainly help leave the door open should new opportunities arise from them.