11 steps to kindly tell your boss you got another job offer

Updated on August 9, 2023
how to tell your boss you got another job offer

The excitement of a new career opportunity can be overshadowed by the daunting task of informing your supervisor about your resignation due to a job offer you’d like to take.

Especially if you’ve worked with the person for quite some time and you’ve come to know them on a semi-personal level.

So let's take a look at what is the best way to tell your boss about a new job offer and everything else that this entails.

Should you tell your boss you got a job offer?

You should tell your boss you have another job offer only if you have serious intentions of taking the job. Otherwise, sharing this information might be perceived negatively by your boss. They might think that this is some kind of an attempt for personal gain on your end.

Telling your boss you have accepted another job offer in a timely manner is common resignation etiquette. This way, they will be able to make arrangements for your resignation, such as deciding who will be taking on your responsibilities or start looking for a new hire.

Still, if your sole objective is to leverage this new job offer that you’ve got in the hope of getting a pay raise or a promotion, then you should maybe approach your boss more openly about this.

In other words, there are better ways to negotiate your role and salary with your current employer than twisting their arm into presenting you with a counteroffer.

Your boss is likely to see through your hidden agenda, which can easily damage their trust in you and your reputation at work.

That said, there’s always the scenario where you genuinely share with your boss your plans to move on and try a new job opportunity while staying open to possible negotiations regarding your current employment.

When to notify your employer of your new job

Notify your employer that you would like to resign and take a new job when you are 100% certain that this is your final decision.

You have to be sure that this is the right move for your career and employment situation and that you are prepared to take all the associated risks of a job switch.

If you’re pretty certain about accepting the new job offer, it’s only fair to inform your employer of your decision right away.

It’s respectful and professional to do this in person if you are somewhat close to your boss. However, in some cases, a polite email before an official letter of resignation will also suffice.

It is customary (although not officially required) to give your employer at least two weeks' notice, so the sooner you have that preliminary conversation with them, the better.

Also, it’s not a good idea to notify your supervisor about quitting your position at the end of the week. No one appreciates disconcerting news just before the weekend.

Monday is also usually a bad day to hold an important meeting with a superior at work as they might be quite busy.

Instead, ask your boss to meet them on a Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon to give them your resignation, for instance, and share your news in the most positive and courteous fashion.

How to tell your boss you have another job offer

Should you tell your boss you got a job offer

Here are 5 simple steps that you can follow to tell your boss that you will be taking another job.

Follow this approach with confidence, as it will give you a pretty good idea of what to expect every step along the way.

1. Evaluate your objectives and be honest with yourself

To navigate smoothly through the delicate situation of telling your boss that you’ve got another job offer, you better clarify to yourself why you want to make the change in the first place.

  • Are you after a more responsible and better-paid position?
  • Is your boss unbearable to work for?
  • Are you tired of the toxic work culture?

Knowing your future career goals will make it easier for you to plan your strategy before you talk to your employer.

After all, the last thing you want is to be lost for words when you suddenly get a counteroffer for a substantial pay raise if you stay.

2. Arrange to meet your boss in person

Although not always possible, try to schedule a meeting with your employer or direct manager to inform them of your intention to take another job offer.

This will give you the opportunity to explain the reasons for your decision to leave your current position in more detail.

A one-to-one conversation gives better scope for negotiation (if that’s what you hope for) or offers you a greater opportunity to leave on amicable terms and keep the door open in case things with your new job don’t pan out as you expected.

If you are unable to meet your boss, then texting them is also fine. Of course, if you haven’t been that long in the company and you’ve really made up your mind about quitting, you may prefer just to hand in your written notice of resignation.

Your boss might be a bit sad to see you go, especially if they liked you a lot. But this is no reason not to further your career.

3. Prepare mentally for the meeting

Attending a potential resignation meeting with your manager unprepared can turn out badly for a number of reasons.

You may get so anxious that you say the wrong thing or get “starstruck” all of a sudden and forget to mention important points you wanted to make.

So jot down on a piece of paper everything you wish to say to your boss, whether it’s about how you’ve come to the decision to move onto another job or you want to tell them that you’re still sitting on the fence because such a decision is so hard for you to make.

4. Stay confident and respectful

No matter how sure you are about resigning from your current position, your approach and demeanor are important when telling your manager about having another job offer.

You should talk about your new career objectives confidently yet, in a positive manner. Don’t make the mistake of leaving on bad terms as you never know when you’ll need a positive reference from a previous employer.

Express your gratitude for the opportunity to work and develop your expertise at the company. Leaving a good impression always pays off.

5. Don’t rule out a surprise counteroffer

You should also be ready for a more lucrative counteroffer and have a strategy for responding to it. It’s often hard to replace experienced staff, so your boss may be unwilling to lose a valued employee to a competitor.

This is why you need to be clear about your career-related priorities before you have that meeting.

This means deciding in advance whether you’d be open to negotiating your current position if presented with a counteroffer. Or writing your resignation letter will be in view, regardless…

To remind you again, it’s a bad idea to use another job offer purely as a negotiating tactic with your boss.

If you’re after a salary increase, promotion, change of job roles, or transfer to another department, be straightforward about it and request a career advancement meeting with your boss instead.

You will be surprised to find out what an employer is willing to give you if you are able to present them with a clear plan of how you can bring them more value as an employee.

6. Start with gratitude

When you finally meet your boss to tell them you got another job, kick off the conversation by expressing your appreciation for the opportunities and experiences you've had while working together. This sets a positive tone and demonstrates your thankfulness.

7. Honesty is the best policy

Be upfront and explain that you've accepted another job offer. Share the necessary details, but avoid diving too deep into the reasons behind your decision.

And keep it classy! During the conversation, maintain a professional and respectful tone. Your boss will appreciate your maturity and sincerity.

8. Be a team player

Offer to help with the transition by training your replacement or wrapping up any ongoing projects. This softens the blow and demonstrates your commitment to your team.

Also, focus on the exciting aspects of your new opportunity, rather than any shortcomings of your current job. This keeps the conversation upbeat and forward-looking.

9. Be prepared for questions

Your boss may have questions about your decision, so be ready to provide thoughtful answers. This shows that you've considered your choice carefully.

Some of the questions you might expect to hear include:

  • What are your reasons for leaving?
  • Is there something that has impacted you negatively here recently?
  • Is there anything that I can do to change your mind?

10. Stick to the script

Even if you are harboring some negative emotions toward your current workplace, avoid getting sidetracked by personal issues or grievances. Simply keep the conversation focused on your new job and the steps you're taking to ensure a seamless transition.

11. Empathize with your boss

Understand that your departure may be challenging for your boss and coworkers. Show empathy by addressing their concerns and reassuring them of your willingness to help during the transition.

And do your best to end on a high note! As you wrap up the conversation, reiterate your gratitude and express your hope to stay in touch as professional contacts. This leaves the door open for a positive relationship in the future.

How to tell your boss you accepted another job via email

How to tell your boss you accepted another job

Talking to your boss face-to-face about your strong intention to accept another job offer is ideal, of course, but not always feasible, especially if you’ve been working for a large company or corporation.

Or maybe, you’ve already accepted the new job and what’s left now is to inform your boss politely and officially in writing.

Then let’s help you with this by offering you a sample letter of resignation, inclusive of an easy-to-follow checklist:

  1. Start with the date and your contact details
  2. State your job title and department
  3. Address your manager by name
  4. Don’t forget to include your resignation date
  5. Explain your reasons for leaving
  6. Consider offering your gratitude for the experience you’ve gained
  7. Offer your assistance with the onboarding of any new recruits

Here’s an example email of how to tell your boss you accepted another job.

Dear (Name of your boss),

I am writing to inform you that I have been offered a new job opportunity, which I have accepted, and I will be resigning from my current position as (Job title) at (Name of the company) effective (Date).

I have truly enjoyed working as part of your team, however, the new employment offer I’ve accepted opens up opportunities for my further career and personal development.

Thank you for the valuable experience and skills I’ve gained at your company. Furthermore, don’t hesitate to count on me if you need my help with the onboarding of any potential replacement for my position!

(Your name)

Oh, and since you will be leaving soon, here are some useful tips on surviving your last two weeks at work.

How to tell a company you've accepted another offer example

As things don't always go to plan, let’s explore the scenario of you getting an enticing counteroffer from your current boss that you can simply not refuse. And that is after you’ve already said YES to that new job opportunity.

Check out this example letter of how to tell the company you’ve accepted another offer or in other words, to decline their offer after you’ve initially accepted it. Keep the letter to the point and be sincerely apologetic.

Dear (Name of the manager),

I am writing to let you know that unfortunately I had to change my decision and I am no longer able to take the job position I recently accepted.

Please, accept my sincere apology for any inconvenience caused.

There has been a change in my personal circumstances that led to my decision.
May I thank you for your time and understanding, and I wish you only the best with your company’s endeavors.

Best Regards,
(Your name).

It’s up to you whether you give your true reasons for declining the new job offer. Not giving too much away is a wise move in case you reconsider in the future.

My experience telling my boss I accepted another job offer

Over a decade ago, I was a bright-eyed intern at a small start-up, eager to learn and grow in my chosen field. The start-up was filled with wonderful coworkers, and I was fortunate to have a boss who was supportive, understanding, and a mentor to me.

However, life sometimes takes unexpected turns, and I found myself facing a difficult decision when I was offered a job at a prestigious international tech company.

The opportunity presented by the big company was nothing short of amazing. It was the kind of chance that doesn't come around often, and the potential for career growth and development was immense.

As much as I loved the small start-up and respected my boss, I knew deep down that I couldn't let this opportunity pass me by. So, with a heavy heart, I accepted the job offer.

Now came the hard part: telling my boss.

I was filled with anxiety and uncertainty, wondering how I could explain my decision without seeming ungrateful or disloyal. With that in mind, I approached the situation thoughtfully and carefully.

First, I made sure to choose the right moment to speak with my boss. I wanted to ensure that they had enough time and attention to devote to our conversation, so I scheduled a meeting when they were likely to be less stressed.

As we sat down to talk, I started by expressing my heartfelt gratitude for the opportunities and experiences I had gained while working at the start-up. I made it clear that I valued my time there and that I had learned a great deal under my boss's guidance.

I then explained, with honesty and transparency, that I had been offered a job at an international tech company. I shared my excitement about the opportunity, while also acknowledging the difficulty of leaving the start-up and the relationships I had formed there.

My boss, of course, had questions and concerns. I did my best to address them, showing empathy for the impact my departure would have on the team and reassuring them of my commitment to help with the transition.

I also made sure to provide ample notice of my departure, in accordance with company policy, and offered to assist in training a replacement or tying up any loose ends on ongoing projects.

This gesture demonstrated my respect for the start-up and my commitment to making the transition as smooth as possible for everyone involved.

Throughout our conversation, I maintained a positive focus on the future, emphasizing my excitement about the new opportunity and my hope that we could stay in touch as professional contacts.

In the end, my boss was understanding and supportive, recognizing that I had to make the best decision for my career.

It wasn't an easy conversation, but by approaching it with professionalism, honesty, and empathy, I was able to maintain a positive relationship with my former boss and coworkers, even as I pursued new opportunities.

And so, as I embarked on the next chapter of my career, I carried with me not only the lessons I had learned at the small start-up but also the knowledge that I had navigated a difficult situation with grace and respect.

Frequently asked questions about telling a boss about another job offer

Should I tell my coworkers about my new job offer?

Yes, but it's important to inform your boss first. Once you've had the conversation with your boss and they are aware of your decision, you can share the news with your coworkers. Be respectful and considerate when discussing your new job offer, focusing on the positive aspects of the new opportunity rather than any negative aspects of your current job. And here are the steps that you can take to say goodbye to your coworkers.

How should I handle any guilt or anxiety I may have about leaving my current job?

It's natural to feel guilt or anxiety about leaving a job, especially if you have close relationships with your coworkers and boss. To handle these emotions, remind yourself that it's normal to pursue new opportunities for personal and professional growth. Focus on the exciting aspects of your new job and the valuable experiences you've gained at your current position. Additionally, offering to help with the transition and maintaining positive relationships can alleviate some of the guilt and anxiety.

What should I do if my boss reacts negatively to the news?

If your boss reacts negatively, stay calm and professional. Acknowledge their feelings and emphasize that your decision to leave was not made lightly. Reiterate your gratitude for the opportunities you've had while working with them and your willingness to help with the transition. It's important to remain respectful and empathetic during the conversation, even if your boss is upset.

What if I change my mind about leaving after discussing the job offer with my boss?

If you change your mind about leaving after discussing the job offer with your boss, it's important to communicate this as soon as possible. Reach out to the company that offered you the new job and inform them of your decision. Then, have a conversation with your boss to explain your change of heart and your desire to continue working at your current job. Be prepared for the possibility that your boss may have concerns or reservations about your commitment moving forward, so be prepared to address these issues and reassure them of your dedication to the company.

Written by:
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co-founder / office worker
Alex has been an office worker for more than 10 years. He is dedicated to helping other office workers to achieve the perfect life-work balance through well-being, effective communication, and building productive habits.

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