Call it Quits: How Executives Can Resign Gracefully

For Candidates

How Executives Can Resign Gracefully

Thinking of calling it quits? While seasoned professionals are experts at making a good first impression on hiring authorities, it can be tricky to leave a positive last impression with their employer. Whether you are leaving an executive role for greener pastures or trying to remove yourself from a toxic workplace, here are five tips to consider when resigning from your company.


Tips for Executives to Resign from their Current Job

Reflect on if leaving your current company is really the best career move. Some opportunities can seem like a no-brainer to accept. But other times, it can be worth trying to improve your current employee experience by having an honest discussion with your immediate supervisor or human resources representative. If you feel like you have exhausted your resources with little to no progress with your work situation, consider it a sign to move on.

Ensure your offer letter is signed. If you are leaving for a better offer, make sure that the new position is officially yours before jumping the gun and resigning from your current role. Nothing is set in stone until you and the hiring authority sign on the dotted line of that employment contract.

Review your current executive employment agreement before submitting a letter of resignation. Companies may have specific terms and conditions when an executive decides to voluntarily resign from their role. Before assuming that a two-week notice is sufficient, check your current employee contract for any policies about resignation. And once you turn in your letter of resignation, prepare for the likelihood of a counteroffer to keep you on board.

Make it a seamless transition for your team. If one of the company’s key executives resigns, it can cause initial panic and uncertainty within the organization. Ideally, you should inform your immediate supervisor, colleagues, and team about your departure in person. Give a sincere and professional reason as to why you have decided to part ways with the company. Utilize your remaining timeframe with the company to close out projects, develop a transition plan, and delegate your workload. If you want to go the extra mile, consider helping with hiring or onboarding a replacement before your departure, but only if it makes sense with your circumstance.

Last but certainly not least: do not burn bridges. If you are leaving due to a terrible work experience, it can be tempting to toss your current projects aside knowing full well that it is no longer your problem. But alas, there are many risks that can happen to an executive who leaves a company on a sour note. Depending on the size of your industry or field, burning a bridge can do more harm than good for your professional endeavors. It is always better to take the high road and remain cordial with your former employer and team. You never know who knows who in the industry, or if your former employer could end up being a reference down the line.


An executive resignation can have a serious impact on an organization and should be treated in a delicate and respectful manner. Though first impressions at work are critical, your team is more likely to remember the way you carried yourself during your final moments at the company. Through careful consideration, preparation, and attentiveness, you will be well-equipped to bow out of your executive role gracefully.

Bristol Associates, Inc. is an executive search firm with over 55 years of excellence in recruiting nationwide. Bristol specializes in recruiting for the Casino Gaming; CBD; Facility and Concession; Food and Beverage Manufacturing; Healthcare; Hotel and Resort; Nonprofit; Restaurant and Foodservice; and Travel, Tourism, and Attraction industries.

If you’re interested in working with Bristol Associates, click here if you’re an employer or here if you’re a candidate.

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here

Get The Newsletter

Receive Exclusive Career Opportunities, Hiring Best Practices, and More Straight to Your Inbox