Calling it Quits? Here’s How to Quit a Job Professionally (+ Templates)

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March 26, 2024
Edited by
Camille Trent
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min read

3 key takeaways

  • The best way to quit a job is by having an in-person conversation. 
  • When you’re ready to quit, submit a two weeks notice letter. 
  • Teal’s AI Resume Builder and job search email templates available in the Job Tracker make quitting easier.

If you have a new job lined up or realize your current job is no longer a fit, you have to tell your current employer. Ideally, you’ll send your two weeks notice letter and plan your handoffs to leave on good terms. 

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or this is your first rodeo, quitting a job can be nerve-wracking. You want to do it at the right time and avoid burning bridges, which can impact future references, opportunities, and your reputation. 

If you need to say goodbye to your nine-to-five or are even thinking about it, this guide will walk you through how to quit a job professionally, including:

  • When to quit a job
  • Evaluating job satisfaction
  • How to quit a job without notice
  • How to professionally quit
  • How to quit over email, phone, and even text
  • How to resign formally
  • Useful job search email templates
  • What to do next

Struggling to update your resume and land interviews? Get started with Teal’s AI Resume Builder.

Understanding when to quit a job

If you’ve been offered a new position that better aligns with your personal and professional goals, quitting your job is a no-brainer. But there are other times you might be on the fence, flirting with the idea of leaving.

Quitting your job should never be a rash decision. If you're upset about something, let yourself cool off before taking action. When you’re calm and have the space to evaluate where you’re at with your job, ask yourself some important questions first. 

Eric Cole, CEO at Interview IQ shares which questions to consider when contemplating quitting:

“The first question you should ask yourself is “Why do I want to quit?” The grass is not always greener on the other side! Before you quit you should make sure to explore all options within your current company. Are there other jobs or opportunities? Can you make a lateral move to another department? 

Where possible, Cole advises employees to line up a new job and consider market factors before giving notice:

"There was a reason the company hired you in the first place and unless something has radically changed, it is usually easier to look for another job within your current company than find a new job especially in the current environment. If you are planning to leave your current job it is usually better to have the next one already lined up.”

It’s a tough decision to leave, but there are (red) signs it might be time to quit your job. 

7 signs that it's time to quit a job

1. You want to change fields

If you’ve had an epiphany and realized you’re in the completely wrong industry or function and want to pursue something else, it’s time to explore other avenues. As cheesy as it may sound, you have one life and you owe it to yourself to pursue a fulfilling career, not just a job. 

2. You want to level up your education

Whether it’s for your career or personal interests, if you know you want to pursue a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, or Doctorate, or even medical or law school, you may not be able to sustain a nine-to-five simultaneously. That said, it’s a good idea to wait until you’ve applied and been accepted to a school and know you can swing it financially. 

3. It’s affecting your mental health

There’s a quote by author Paulo Coelho that sums this up nicely: “If it costs you your peace it's too expensive.” If you’re having panic attacks, experiencing job-related depression or anxiety, and can’t seem to turn it off with all the self-help tips possible, quitting may give you a new lease on life. 

4. There’s a mismatch in values

As an employee, you don’t always have to love your job—some days are just hard. But if you’re being asked to do things you’re morally or ethically against, or your company’s actions or viewpoints are at odds with yours, consider quitting. As the saying goes, “Not all money is good money.” If your job is giving you the “ick” or weighing on your conscience, it’s a telltale sign to quit.

5. The environment is toxic

Verbal or emotional abuse is never okay, let alone in a professional setting. If you’re being yelled at, belittled, or gaslit, quitting is in your best interest. Also, if you’re experiencing sexual harassment and your colleagues learned nothing from the #MeToo movement, leave. Same goes if you’re dealing with any of the -isms. 

6. Lack of support

Maybe your current employer isn’t the villain in your story and hasn’t done anything dramatic. It could be more subtle. There might be a lack of support from your colleagues or even your boss. Communication may not be great. These things combined can sabotage your long-term success in the role.

7. No growth 

Are you bored or feel like your talents aren’t being put to use? Have you hit the top and have no career mobility in the company? If there’s no room for learning, you may have maxed out your growth within the company. There’s no problem with doing a job for a check. But if you have bigger ambitions or feel stifled, quitting may be your only way out and up. 

Evaluating your job satisfaction

If leaving isn’t as clear cut because you don’t resonate with the seven signs, evaluate your job satisfaction by asking these questions:

  • Does this job give you a purpose?
  • Do you feel you’re making a difference?
  • Do you feel valued as an employee?
  • Do you feel satisfied with what you’re doing or are you yearning for more?
  • Is your job giving more than it’s taking? 
  • Do you feel challenged?
  • Are you growing and learning new things?
  • Are you excited to go to work or do you dread it?

These questions can help you evaluate if you should quit your job or not. At the very least, it provides a barometer for how you’re feeling with your job so you can make changes or seek new opportunities. 

Deciding to quit a job you just started

One of the toughest situations is getting onboarded as a new hire and realizing in a matter of days or weeks that it’s the wrong fit. How do you jump ship without your career and reputation going up in flames? Here’s how to quit a job you just started.

First, evaluate all of your options. Can you talk to your new boss about what you’re experiencing? Do you need more training or support? If none of these are options and you’re convinced in your gut that leaving will be better in the long run, start the process and give adequate notice. 

The best situation here is giving two (or more) weeks notice through an in-person conversation. Though, be aware, your organization may decide to let you go before the two weeks once you express a desire to leave. 

How to quit a job without notice

Two weeks notice is the standard amount of time many career experts recommend when leaving a job. But sometimes life happens and you need to leave sooner. Maybe you found out your father has Stage 4 cancer and time is of the essence. You might get a great opportunity to teach abroad or join the Peace Corps and need to physically be somewhere else ASAP. 

Whatever the reason may be, if you have to quit a job on short notice, do it right away with as much time as you can give. In your resignation letter, make a note of your last day and apologize for the inconvenience. If you’re close to people in the company, you can consider sharing the reason, but by no means are you obligated. 

How to quit a job immediately

If you have to quit your job immediately, you can mention that due to unforeseen circumstances you need to leave. 

Your current employer might not be thrilled about it and there’s the potential for burning bridges in this situation. If you do end up sharing the reason, that may minimize the impact. 

How to quit a job you hate

The decision to quit a job you hate may come easily, but the process can still be tough. You still want to go through the standard protocol and offer your two weeks notice. Avoid trash-talking your employer. It could jeopardize your reputation and ensure you’ll get no references or recommendations from anyone at the company. Try to leave on good terms. 

How to quit a job you love

Quitting a job you love can be bittersweet. You might be excited about new opportunities or paths that life is taking you on. But at the same time, mourn what you’re giving up with the job you love. In this case, giving two weeks notice or more is a good idea. 

If you’re comfortable, in your resignation letter you can mention that you loved your job and that this has been a difficult decision for you. If appropriate, you may share the reason for your departure. It could be that your family is moving or that you have an opportunity you simply can’t pass up. 

Doing so can leave the door open for future opportunities and also help with a positive reference. 

Read this guide if you're considering quitting without another job lined up.

What to do before quitting your job

Quitting a job will change the trajectory of your career and your life. It’s a major decision and has consequences, both good and bad. 

Some steps to take before quitting a job include:

1. Make sure you’ve exhausted all options. 

If you’re quitting out of frustration or dissatisfaction instead of pursuing a new position, talk to your boss first. Explain what’s going on and what you need to feel supported and succeed. 

2. Review your finances. 

Quitting a job will impact your financial situation quickly if you don’t have another job lined up. If there are extenuating circumstances, where you must quit for your health or safety look at your monthly expenses and savings to see how long they can last. Even if you do have another job lined up, it might be a while until you see your first paycheck.

3. Check any contracts. 

Many positions are at-will, which means that your employer can let you go at any time. Conversely, you’re free to do the same. Check any contracts you may have signed so you know the terms of your employment and any potential consequences.

4. Get a new job. 

Ideally, you’re quitting to go work for a new employer and have a job offer signed with salary and start date detailed. That can ensure no gaps in employment and will have a minimal impact on your finances. Of course, this isn’t always the case.

How to professionally quit a job

If you feel confident in your decision to leave, here’s how to formally quit a job.

1. Choose the right time.

Learning how to quit a job is a delicate art. You have your own interests and feelings, but you also want to consider your supervisor or HR manager. 

Often the right time to let your boss or HR know that you’re leaving is toward the end of the day on Monday or Tuesday. The end of the day can work in your favor, so you can head out and everyone can process. The benefit of Monday and Tuesday is that it gives your current employer time to make moves during the week and it’s not a total buzzkill going into the weekend.

2. Have your resignation letter ready.

Write a formal resignation letter to your employer so they know that you’re giving notice and are pursuing other opportunities. Include your last day of work, ideally with two weeks notice. 

3. Book a meeting with your boss.

If you want to know how to formally quit a job, the best way is to schedule a one-on-one with your supervisor first. Talk to them directly so they’re not hearing anything from HR (and definitely not your colleagues!). Sit down with them and explain you’re leaving and reiterate the contents of your letter of resignation. 

While you could simply email your two weeks notice letter, the most professional—but more difficult—way to quit a job is to have a face-to-face conversation. That doesn’t mean you can skip out on the resignation letter though. You want everything in writing and your employer may need it for your records. 

4. Express gratitude.

It’s always a good idea to express gratitude when quitting a job. Thank your employer for the opportunity and all the things you’ve learned along the way.  You can mention your milestones, career development, etc. This can help maintain a good relationship. 

If you’re leaving on a sour note and there’s some bad blood there, you can simply say “Thanks for the opportunity” and move on. 

6. Tie up loose ends.

When quitting a job, you don’t want to leave your supervisor in a bind. Tie up loose ends at work, finish any projects, delegate tasks, and train any new employees. This can help make it a smooth transition, so you can leave on a positive note. 

How to quit a job over email 

It’s ideal to let your boss know about your departure in person, if possible. But if you work remotely or have a tense relationship with your supervisor, an email may suffice. Here’s how:

1. Write a clear subject line. 

Don’t include anything vague like “check-in” and instead put “Letter of Resignation” or “Two weeks notice.”

2. Address the supervisor or HR representative. 

Personalize the note and include the name of your boss or HR representative. Dear Mr./Ms. [Last Name].

3. Get to the point. 

In the first line, you can say, “I’m writing you to submit my letter of resignation, effective [date, ideally with two weeks notice]. 

4. Include why. (Optional)

If you’re comfortable with it, you can let your boss know you’ve found a new job or that you’re going back to school. If you’re not comfortable, you can write, “I’m pursuing other opportunities.”

5. Express gratitude. 

A heartfelt thank you can make your supervisor feel good and can lessen the impact of the news. You can say “Thank you for the opportunity” and if you feel like it, name a few examples of how you’ve grown. 

6. End with an offer of support. (Optional)

Let your supervisor know that you will wrap up your projects and aid in the transition. 

7. Stay in touch. (Optional)  

You can end the email by saying that you’d like to stay in touch (if true) and include your personal email or LinkedIn profile. End the letter with “Sincerely” or “Best” and your full name. 

How to quit a job over text

With so many ways to communicate, you might want to know how to quit a job over text. But you should reconsider. 

“Quitting via text is never considered acceptable in professional settings and can leave a lasting negative impression,” says Nicole Griffin, talent acquisition leader at Korn Ferry.

It can be seen as disrespectful toward a company that has invested time and resources in you. It may seem like the easier way out, but it can also be the coward’s way out and will most likely burn bridges. 

Texting might only be appropriate if:

  • You just started the job and are leaving suddenly
  • You’re working a transition job not related to your career, like in fast food or retail
  • The environment is toxic and severely impacting your mental health
  • You’re leaving immediately 

But even then, it’s not ideal. Texting can also be awkward if you’re giving two weeks notice because then you’re still going to see your boss and colleagues. 

Texting is really only a potential option if you’re leaving immediately and plan to never step foot inside your workplace again. It’s the nuclear option so don’t expect a reference or recommendation. 

You can text: 

[Manager’s name], 

At this time, I feel it’s best to resign from my position as [title] effective [date]. I appreciate the opportunity but I don’t think it’s a good fit for me. Thank you for your time and understanding and I wish you the best. 


[Full Name] 

How to quit a job over the phone

There are some situations where you may want to give notice over the phone. It’s not the most professional, but a major step up from a text. For example, if you’re working remotely and dealing with a sick family member, phone may be best. 

If you’re working remotely in another city, state, or country and can’t make it in person, a phone call may be necessary. A video call over Zoom or something similar would be better because it’s at least face-to-face through the magic of screens. 

But if you decide a call is best, here’s how to quit a job over the phone: 

1. Get the timing right. 

Avoid calling during times when you know your supervisor might be busy or in a meeting. Make sure they’re free. 

2. Have a script ready. 

An example is:

“Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. I wanted to let you know I’m giving my two weeks notice, effective [date]. It’s been a great experience working as [title] for [company], but at this time I’m pursuing other opportunities. I’m happy to help with the transition and anything you need.”

3. Be ready. 

Even with your script ready, you can’t anticipate how your boss will respond or what they will say. Be ready for any type of reaction and listen intently and respond empathetically.

In any of these situations, it’s important to submit a two weeks notice letter. 

Writing a resignation letter

Your resignation letter is your official document stating that you’re quitting. It’s a good idea to talk to your supervisor in person, but you still want to have everything in writing for your sake and your employer’s. 

You should address your resignation letter to your supervisor. The components of a good two weeks notice letter include: 

  • The date, company name, and address
  • Dear [Supervisor’s Last Name]
  • Statement that you’re giving your two weeks notice
  • The effective date 
  • A reason, but that’s optional 
  • Agree to help out with the transition 
  • Express gratitude for the experience 
  • Include your contact information to stay in touch 

Read this post for a deeper understanding of who to address your resignation letter to.

Using Teal's email templates for resignation

You don’t have to figure out how to quit a job and write a perfect two weeks notice letter on your own. Using Teal’s email templates for every stage of your job search (and departure), you can simplify the process. 

Just go to Teal’s Job Tracker and click on “Job Position.” Since this is your current job, it should be under “Accepted.” Then click on “Email Templates” and from the drop-down menu on the right choose “Give My Resignation” and get a template you can customize.

Note: All Teal members (free users) can access one free email template per job stage. Teal+ members get unlimited email templates.

Access dozens of email templates for every step of the job search in Teal's Job Tracker

Preparing for life after quitting a job

If you’re quitting a job, you need to have a plan and prepare for life after giving notice. For example, if you’re leaving for a new opportunity, maybe you want a week or two to have a little breather before starting your new job. 

Quitting without anything lined up can be tough. Get clear on your career goals. You can revamp your resume using Teal’s Resume Builder and use AI assistance to write your achievements. 

When job hunting, Teal’s Job Tracker can help you organize your job search to keep track of all the moving parts and different companies. Review the top job search websites to help you find your next job. 

Moving on 

Leaving your job gracefully is important if you want to remain on good terms with your employer. The best way to do that is to have an in-person conversation and have a written formal resignation letter, giving two weeks notice. 

In some situations, that may not be possible. If that’s the case, it’s best to minimize any potential damage or awkwardness and do what you can to wrap things up to move on. 

Quitting a job is a big step and can be scary, bittersweet, or a relief. Let yourself feel those feelings, but keep it professional so that your soon-to-be previous employer thinks of you highly and can help out with future references. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you quit a job before you start?

You can quit a job you haven’t started by immediately contacting the person who hired you. Let them know that due to unforeseen circumstances, you’ll no longer be able to take on the position and move forward. Thank them for their time and apologize for the inconvenience.

Can you quit a job without giving notice?

In most cases, your employment is at-will and you can quit your job without giving notice. While you can do it, it’s not necessarily a good idea and can damage your reputation. Offering the standard two weeks notice is best.

What’s another way to professionally say “I quit?”

You don’t need to say the words “I quit” to your employer. Instead, you can let them know you’re resigning and that you’re pursuing other opportunities or life paths. 

Melanie Lockert

Melanie Lockert is the founder of the blog and author of the book, Dear Debt. Through her blog, she chronicled her journey out of $81,000 in student loan debt. Her work has appeared on Business Insider, VICE, Allure, and more.

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