If you’ve decided to leave your job, it is common courtesy (and often a requirement) to formalize the process by writing a resignation letter. This is an official document that states your intent to leave and informs your employer of the reasons behind your decision to resign. Not all departing employees draft a resignation letter, but it is recommended to leave on good terms.
Leaving a job is never easy, especially if you’ve worked for the same company for a long time. Whether you are quitting a job you love, hate, or feel indifferent about, it’s a good idea to keep things civil.
What is a Resignation Letter?
A resignation letter is a written document that gives the employer notice of your intention to resign from your job. A resignation letter should be addressed to your manager or the person who oversees your position; it doesn’t have to address the CEO or upper management. Today, a resignation email is more common than a printed or handwritten letter.
What Should a Resignation Letter Contain?
While you may choose to include a personal message or give thanks to your manager and colleagues, a resignation letter doesn’t have to be long or overly detailed. It should be simple and fact-oriented, stating the key points surrounding your decision to leave. The most important information to include in your formal resignation letter is:
Your Intent to Leave the Company
Open your letter by stating that you intend to leave your role at the company. Be formal and polite, even if you are leaving because you’re unhappy.
Open with a sentence similar to the following:
“Please accept this letter of resignation from my current role as project manager for XYZ limited. I am resigning from my position, effective from June 10th.”
While it’s not mandatory, it’s often beneficial to give a reason for moving on as it typically facilitates a more pleasant departure. You don’t have to go into much detail regarding your motives.
Some good reasons for resigning include career advancement opportunities, a career change, a challenge in a new industry, professional development, family circumstances, or improved compensation. If you have started a new business venture, you could also state your difficulty in balancing careers.
Your Final Day of Employment
A resignation letter should also inform your employer of when your last day of employment will be. In the United States, employers usually don’t enforce a specific notice period agreement. However, there are some exceptions depending on your location or the organization you work for. Read through your contract and check whether you are obliged to give a certain amount of notice before your resignation.
If you’ve worked for a company for over one month, but less than two years, it’s recommended that you give at least one week’s notice. If you’ve worked for a company for over two years, you should offer at least two week’s notice. This gives the organization time to find a replacement and orchestrate a smooth transition as you depart.
Volunteer to Help with the Transition
Offering to assist with the transition following your resignation is not only beneficial for the company, but it can also help your colleagues and team members. If you’re leaving in the middle of a big project, you may need to help your replacement get up to speed or integrate with the team.
Training and adaptation to complex software and systems may also be accelerated if you agree to work alongside your replacement during the two-week notice period.
Note of Gratitude
Although you may not want to, it’s important to extend a message of gratitude, thanking your employer for the opportunity. Make a short note of the important things you’ve learned, experienced, and enjoyed in your role.
Networking and positive professional relationships can be crucial in securing future jobs, so you should focus on leaving a positive and lasting impression.
Final Details and Contact Information
Finish your resignation letter by stating you will continue to perform to your usual high standards until your final day of work. Include your contact information in case the company needs to get in touch with you in the future.
Summary of Letter Structure
Your resignation letter template should be structured as follows:
- Formal greeting (Dear Ms. / Mr. / Mrs.)
- Intent to leave the company
- Reasons for leaving (optional)
- Your notice period
- Offer to help with the transition
- Statement of gratitude
- Signature and contact information
What to Avoid in a Resignation Letter
There are several things to avoid when writing a resignation letter:
- Overexplaining your reasons for resigning
- Expressing your dislike for the job and company
- Speaking about your boss negatively
- Criticizing co-workers
- Using inappropriate language
- Providing excessive information on future career opportunities
- Being emotional and sentimental
- Spelling and grammar errors
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