Resigning from a job is awkward at best and can get downright ugly in some situations. Whether you are leaving for money, career advancement or personality differences – offering a polite, professional resignation is always the best course of action.
So you have gone through the long process of applying for jobs, interviewing, perhaps facing rejection multiple times along the way, and you finally have landed your dream job. Now you are faced with the inevitable task of telling your current employer that you are leaving. There is no “right” way to give notice because it will often depend on the circumstances. If you have a close, personal relationship with your boss then an in-person meeting is probably the best way to break the news. In such a situation, it is also advisable to have a written letter prepared so the employer can actually have a notice of resignation for your employment file. If you have a poor relationship with your boss and cannot stomach the idea of confronting that person directly then simply providing a letter of resignation (whether by person, mail or email attachment) is probably the best route in order to avoid any heated personal encounters.
Even in situations where animosity is almost unavoidable (taking business from your firm to a competitor), you should act with civility and professionalism. If your employer accuses you of being a cheat, traitor, etc. – just do what you came to do and make a quick exit. Not only will it help down the road if you encounter that person (legal markets can be fairly small) but it also can work to your advantage if you still need something from your former employer (client file transfers, personal items, etc).
Just remember, you cannot lose by taking the high-road when resigning but it is very easy to torch some bridges if you treat it as an opportunity to get in some parting shots.