So, you are planning on leaving your current job. Congratulations? Good luck? Whatever the reason for leaving may be, you want to do it right. Therefore, you need to spruce up your resignation letter. Your future is bright, but it’s time to cross your t’s and dot your i’s.
If you are new to leaving, welcome to the bittersweet goodbye. A resignation letter is an official document provided to your current (and soon to be former) employer. Usually, it is provided two work weeks before your ending date with the organization and used as a legal document confirming your separation from the organization.
It’s tough to do, but you want to do it right. Here are some tips and examples.
When to Use a Resignation Letter
Always. Next tip.
In all seriousness, you should always use a resignation letter when leaving a job. Whether a small coffee shop or a large office, giving notice of quitting is the professional and correct thing to do.
Now, let’s not act all high and mighty. Sometimes things go awry with workplaces. This may lead to a situation in which quitting is more abrupt than expected, leaving a letter and two-week notice out of possibility. It happens, but remember, if things end sour, don’t plan on using that employer as a reference in future jobs. Unless a bridge is specifically rebuilt, count it as burned.
Regardless, letters and two-week notices are standard practice. While a full notice may not be applicable in all situations, a letter should be. It’s critical, simply put.
Regardless of how close you are with your boss or manager, the resignation letter should be as professional as possible. After all, it is a document that may be used if a legal dispute ever comes up (hopefully it doesn’t, but still).
Firstly, the letter should be formatted as a letter. Not a handwritten letter like a civil war veteran and not a text message. Use your word processor’s standard letter template or create your own. Overall, it’s not a difficult task.
Open with the name of the person you are addressing and the business information. Then include the content and end with a salutation and your information. The letter should not be longer than one page. Easy peasy.
Keep It Positive
It is impossible to say whether or not your quitting is positive. Not all breakups are clean and happy. Your notice to quit should maintain a positive tone, though. If, for some reason, that is entirely impossible, then just keep emotions out of it.
Ultimately, this is not the opportunity to go on a rant crushing and bashing every member of your former team. This is not the time to express your grievances or bring up your reasons for leaving. If necessary, that should all be done face-to-face.
As the old saying goes, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it. If there is nothing positive to write, keep the letter as professional and to-the-point as possible. Do not make this any more than it needs to be. Simple and sweet.
When to Deliver Your Resignation Letter
There is a common theme forming here. Keep everything professional. You should be delivering your letter of resignation to your boss in person. If worse comes to worst, an email is acceptable, but this is only in necessary circumstances. For example, if it is a health issue or emergency in which you can not report to the employer in person, then an email will suffice. But, giving the letter in person should always be a priority.
Also, timing is everything, too. Let’s be real. Delivering a quitting letter can be a stressful situation. Some of us don’t like confrontation. Take a deep breath and get it over with. You will feel better afterward. Do not stew on the possibilities. If you are utterly terrified of the situation, deliver the letter at the end of your shift.
Just make sure to deliver your resignation as soon as possible after your decision is made. You do not want to push it off until the day of your resignation. Not only does this look bad, but it also puts your employer in an unnecessary situation. You got this. Get it over with.
How to Deliver Your Resignation Letter
If you have had a toxic job, you have dreamt of quitting with fireworks and cool sunglasses. No, you do not need to make quitting a theatrical event. This situation is not a movie.
Make things simple. Ask your boss for a one-on-one meeting, tell them you are turning in your letter of resignation and let them know you are there for any questions. If they have questions or concerns, answer them professionally. Once everything has been handled, thank them for the employment opportunity and return to work. You do not have to provide any reasoning unless they ask. In fact, you should not provide any reasoning unless they ask.
Basically, put the ball in their court. It may seem like a controversial take, but there is no need to raise the possibility of a messy quit. Telling them why you are quitting before they ask can lead to an emotional response. Tell them you are resigning and ask if they have any questions.
Once again, always thank them for the opportunity. Even if things were sour, they still did provide you with a job. Be the bigger person if you must.
What to Include in Your Resignation Letter
Let’s break it down piece by piece. This is what your letter should include in order.
Include the employer’s name, the company’s information and the date of the letter. Even if you are emailing, write the letter in your word processor and attach it to the email. Do not write this in the body of an email.
The first paragraph should be simple. Write that you are resigning from (job title) at (company name) as of (quitting date). As stated, the official quitting date should be two workweeks out from the day of handing in the letter. If this is impossible, write a short statement apologizing for not providing two weeks.
If you feel that your reason for quitting should be stated, and it isn’t negative, do so in your first paragraph. Make it one sentence. State you are leaving because you accepted another job, have to move or have a health situation, etc. This does not, and should not, be detailed. Leave that for the conversation afterward.
The second paragraph should include expressions of gratitude. Thank the employer for the opportunity. If you have positive things to note, do it here. Let them know what you appreciate from them and the business. If you have nothing positive to note, thank them and move on.
The third paragraph should state how you plan on leaving, as in, how you will ease the process. If you are willing to help train your replacement, state that here. If you have things or projects to do before you leave, tell them you plan on finishing them.
Your final line should state that you want to thank them again and that you wish them luck in the future. You may also want to state that you are available for any further questions if you do not plan on saying that in person.
Any letter ending works here. “Thank you again,” or “Yours truly,” and your name and contact information.
Just avoid anything informal like “Love.” That’s weird.
February 28, 2022
Business Phone Number
Dear Boss Name,
This letter is to inform you that my last day working as a software engineer at Company Name will be 3/7/22. Unfortunately, I have decided to move to another state at this time. Hereby, this is my formal resignation.
I would like to thank you and Business Name for the opportunity. I have enjoyed my time working with you and my fellow peers. I appreciate the opportunity to help with your company and grow my skills in the position. It has been an absolute pleasure.
While I know that filling the position may be a difficult task, I am here to help the situation. I will finish all of my current projects and am available to train my replacement for the next two weeks. I will also include notes for the replacement, letting them know of current projects and future details.
Once again, I want to thank you and Company Name for the opportunity to work with you. I wish you all the best of luck in the future. I am available to answer any questions about my reassignment.
My phone number
What Not to Include
- Negative Experiences: Don’t take this as an opportunity to rant. You want to be professional, not a toxic employee. Leave minor grievances to the wayside. If you experienced a concerning situation that you feel needs to be addressed, handle it with the HR department, not the resignation letter.
- Too Much About the Future: Don’t brag about your new position or your new living situation. It’s none of their business and it’s better left unsaid. Ultimately, it looks braggadocios and unprofessional.
- Critiques: If your boss wants to ask you about any critiques on them as an employer, they will ask you. If they do not, then it’s unnecessary to tell them. This is not a review. As mentioned, if your boss did something egregious, there are other ways to go about that. A letter to your HR department is an entirely different subject.
- Speaking of Other Employees: Just like your boss, this is not the time to critique your peers. This is not the time to go on a rant about your former team.
- Negativity: We can’t say this enough. This is not the time to be negative. Try to stay generally positive. If impossible, then just state the facts.
- One Page Only: Staying within the confines of one page will save you from the potential of ranting or going into unnecessary detail. No one wants to read a long letter about leaving. One page or less is sufficient.
Resignation letters can be a bittersweet and nerve-wracking experience. Overall, stay polite and professional. This is not the time for emotions to get in the way.
If your former job looks great on your future resume, you want to keep all of your bridges intact. Be tactful and respectful.
You’ve got this. Once again, congratulations or good luck.