How to Put in Your Two Weeks Notice

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When leaving a job, it a common etiquette to give your employer two weeks notice that you’re resigning from your position. Doing so helps to give them time to get their affairs in order to find your replacement, and also can help you to leave on good terms.

This article is going to review best practices for how to put in your two weeks notice. It will cover what a two weeks notice is, why you give two weeks notice, and the steps to doing so effectively.

What Is Two Weeks Notice?

Two weeks notice is the two week time period between when you tell your manager that you’re quitting and when you actually leave the company. 

It is common etiquette to provide at least 10 business days notice to an employer before you actually leave the company. 

Why Give Two Weeks Notice?

why give two weeks notice

Employees provide two weeks notice to give the employer time to organize their affairs around finding your replacement. Two weeks notice enables the employer time to get a new job requisition together and get it posted while you’re still at the company. It also gives you time to put together transition documentation, pass along any relationships that you have, and generally put together anything the employer needs to keep your work moving while you’re gone.

Beyond being helpful to the employer, giving two weeks is common etiquette and shows respect to the company. It is an important part of resigning professionally, and helps you to leave the company without burning any bridges.

How to Put In Your Two Weeks Notice

1. Review the Employee Handbook and Any Onboarding Documentation You Signed

Prior to putting in your two week notice, the first thing that you’ll want to do is to review the handbook and any onboarding documentation that you signed. The employee handbook will have the details on any official company policies around resignations, including things like if you need to submit a resignation letter, which may or may not be required.

Additionally, be sure to take a look at any onboarding documentation that you signed when you joined the company. In particular, you’ll want to review the details of a non compete agreement if you signed one, and make sure that it doesn’t impact your new job opportunity.

2. Have an End Date in Mind

When you’re actually do tell your boss that you’re quitting, one of the first questions that you’re likely to receive is when your last day will be. Now, you’re putting in your two weeks notice, so it should be roughly ten business days after the conversation itself. That said, if you get a job offer on a Tuesday that you want to accept, it may make sense to have your last day be the following Friday to depart at the end of a week.

So go into the conversation with your boss with an end date in mind that’s roughly ten business days from when you’re informing him or her. Ultimately, it’s your call when your last day will be and generally your boss will be fine with whatever that will be, but be prepared to be flexible if they ask for a little bit more time.

3. Have a Story In Mind

story

In preparing to put in your two weeks, it can be helpful to have a story in mind about why you’re leaving. The reason is that you’re likely going to be asked why you’re leaving and so having an answer to that question in mind going into a conversation about your two weeks notice can help you deliver the news professionally.

Ultimately, you want your story to be focused on the future and you want it to be positive. So you’re leaving because you’re excited about what’s next, not because you’re frustrated with this existing opportunity.

A story about what lies ahead will help you to maintain positive relationships with your existing employer and minimize the risk of burning any bridges.

4. Consider a Resignation Letter

A resignation letter is a written document that accompanies your resignation. It’s a more formal way of delivering your two weeks notice than just telling your employer.

As mentioned previously, you’ll want to review your employee handbook for any requirements around the resignation process. That said, in general, in the private sector, a resignation letter is not required. You are more likely to be required to submit a resignation letter when putting in your two weeks in the public sector.

Either way, delivering a resignation letter along with your two weeks is not a bad thing and helps you get ahead of documentation that may be required. Just make sure not to email it as a standalone document without actually telling someone in person that you’re resigning.

5. Tell Your Manager in Person

The first rule of resigning professionally is to tell your manager first and in person (or at least via a conversation if you’re a remote employee). 

So when putting in your two weeks, be sure to actually have a conversation with your manager about it. Set up a meeting with them, and inform them of your decision to leave. Tell them the story that you prepared and let them know the date that you’re planning on leaving. Finally, if you prepped a resignation letter, hand it to them in that meeting or let them know that you’ll send it to them after the fact.

I recognize that it may be uncomfortable and scary to tell your manager in person. However, it is proper etiquette and much more likely to result in you leaving on good terms. And that’s particularly 

Additionally, if you’re a well regarded employee, it may evolve into a conversation where the company counters, or is able to find a week to meet an unmet need to get you to stay.

For an additional resource on how to effective give your two weeks notice in person, this video from Kevin Naughton Jr. is a great resource for how to professionally put in your two weeks notice:

Sample Resignation Letter

Generally, a resignation letter should contain all of the following elements:

  • A statement of resignation
  • A proposed departure date
  • A thank you for your time with the company
  • An offer to help in the transition

Here is a sample resignation letter that can be customized based upon your circumstances:

Dear {Manager Name},

 

Please accept this latter as my resignation from {company name}. At this point, I am planning on my last day to be {insert date}, but would be open to discussing a date that would be best for {company name}. I am greatly for the opportunity and appreciate all of your support during my time here.

 

Please let me know how I can best help during my departure and any steps that I can take to make the transition as smooth as possible.

 

Warm regards,

 

{First Name}

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Verbally Put in Your Two Weeks Notice?

Yes, for most private sector jobs, you can verbally put in your two weeks notice. In some cases, most often for public sector jobs, you’ll be required to submit a resignation letter along with your two weeks notice. The way to be sure is to review your employee handbook before putting in your two weeks notice.

Can You Virtually Put in Your Two Weeks Notice?

virtual meeting

Yes, for most private sector jobs, you can virtually put in your two weeks notice. In fact, that is becoming more common as jobs are increasingly turning remote. 

Basically, you can think of submitting your two weeks virtually as if you were putting it in verbally and in person, but in a remote context. The same rules would apply.

Do I Have to Put in Two Weeks Notice?

No, there are no federal or state laws requiring you to put in a two weeks notice before quitting. It is simply standard practice, a way to be helpful to your employer, and a way that you’re more likely to maintain positive relations with that employer moving forward.

Can An Employer Deny Your Two Weeks Notice?

In general, no. That’s because most employee relationships are at will, which means that employers and employees can leave whenever they want and without reason. With that being the case, you can leave whenever you want without an employer having a legal basis for stopping you.

However, if you’ve signed a contract to work for an employer for a fixed period of time, the specifics of your ability to leave the company and get out of that contract will be dictated by the language of the agreement.

Can An Employer Fire You For Giving Two Weeks Notice?

Technically, yes, an employer could fire you for giving two weeks notice. That’s because most employee relationships are at will, which means that they could choose to end the employment relationship at any time.

That said, it generally will be in the company’s best interest to keep you around for two weeks so that you can help them with the transition process.

What is a Two Weeks Notice Letter?

two weeks notice letter

A two weeks notice letter is the same thing as a resignation letter. It’s a written document letting an employer know that you’re leaving your position and your intended end date.

What is Considered Two Weeks Notice?

Two weeks notice is generally considered to be 10 business days.

However, it’s important to note that two weeks notice is generally a courtesy and there is not a set number of days that you’re required to work prior to leaving. The best practice is to find a departure date around the two week period from your resignation and negotiate with your employer if that works for them.

How to Calculate Two Weeks Notice?

Put simply, you count 10 business days from the first full business day after you put in submit your resignation to your manager.

If you have additional questions, we have a full article that details how to calculate your two weeks notice.

Conclusion

Putting in your two weeks notice can be a hard thing to do. But if you follow the recommendations above, you can put in your two weeks professionally and hopefully leave your employer on good terms.

About the author

Dan Slocum

Dan is the founder of Best Fit Work and is a business professional with over 10 years of experience. He has been a hiring and people manager on multiple occasions, and has also gone through the hiring process himself at a variety of different companies. Dan serves as a career counselor on the side. He writes to share content, tools, and resources to help people discover and thrive in their own best fit work.

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