How to Inform Your Manager You Received an External Job Offer



Ah, the moment you've been waiting for has finally arrived! You're not only resigning, but you're informing your boss the reason why: You landed another job offer.


First, schedule time on his or her calendar for a face-to-face conversation, if possible. Don't overthink it – he or she may anticipate the news, especially if it's rare you meet out of the blue, but schedule it anyway.


Go with the less-is-more philosophy. Provide at least two weeks' notice so you can wrap up loose ends and train your peers and direct reports, if applicable, but the main thing to keep in mind is you don't have to reveal your reasons for leaving. Thank your boss for the opportunity to work there and pull the Band-Aid off: You've landed an external opportunity and your last date in the office will be X.


You don't need to reveal the name of the company, title or salary or its awesome benefits and incredible new boss you look forward to working with.


Be simple, straightforward and succinct. Steer clear from trashing your current company and talking negatively, but you can preface the news by giving context and calmly saying something like, "As you know, I've been attempting to get promoted here for the past two years and was told budgets were on hold. I received an external opportunity I simply can't pass up. My last date is X."


But here's the thing: Be prepared to receive a counter offer. Your boss may begin asking specific questions such as the salary and responsibilities. If this happens, ask yourself why your current employer was unable to pay you or promote you properly while you were an employee and why it takes walking through the exit for them to appreciate your value.


Remain focused on the reasons why you're leaving: If it was due to a toxic boss, regardless of a significant pay increase, that boss is probably not going anywhere and the same issues will be omnipresent. But, if the issue was feeling underpaid and undervalued, will this new increase in pay bring you to where you want to be?


It can be tempting to stay on board, it truly can. But, if you've already accepted the other offer and need to now turn it down, that's not the best scenario either. Further, don't try to get a new job solely to get your current employer to pay you more money to stay; this tactic can backfire.


As you tell your boss you're leaving, you may not even want to pursue a counter offer if he or she brings it up. Simply state another external opportunity emerged that you're pursuing, and focus on leaving on good terms.


As for the kicker, while, yes, you should prepare mentally for receiving a counter offer (not on the spot, your boss will need to get approvals from his or her boss and finance, but it likely wouldn't drag on for many days), you may not get one and then ironically think to yourself, "Am I not counter-offer worthy?"


Don't overthink it. Your mission for leaving is clear. If the counter offer is significantly higher and you tell yourself you'll do it for a year or longer and hang on, that's certainly your prerogative, but overall when you tell your boss you're leaving to pursue a new opportunity, the conversation won't last more than five minutes. Assume you're going into the conversation to shut the door on this current employment situation.


He or she may be resentful, push back, get annoyed or frustrated, but keep your cool. Or your boss may be totally on board and think you're making the right move and may want to stay in touch.


You are one polished professional! Indicate how you'll transfer work – perhaps there's a special project you're wrapping up – and to whom so you can leave on good terms. And then you can exhale, start informing colleagues you're leaving and get ready for your exciting new job!