How to Write a Professional Resignation Letter


Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Photo : mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

When you make the final decision to leave your current job, it can feel like a great weight is taken off your shoulders. However, even if you have resigned in person or over the phone, it's important to take one more professional step -- write a resignation letter.

A respectful resignation letter can help smooth out the awkwardness of your departure and pave the way for an ongoing professional connection.

This article will go over the basics of writing a professional resignation letter.

What to Include in a Resignation Letter

A resignation letter is a document that serves as a formal notice that you are leaving your current job. You can deliver it as a printed letter or an email message. 

The standard period of time for a resignation notice is two weeks. However, the timing of when to issue the letter depends on your organization, your position, and the work agreement you have. 

Regardless of your reason for leaving your position, a resignation letter should be brief and concise. Here are some resignation letter examples you can review and then adapt to your job scenario. 

Here are the basic components to include in your one-page letter:

  • The date of the letter

  • The name and address of the appropriate manager 

  • A brief explanation of your intention to resign

  • The date of your last day at work

  • Your contact information for any questions or later communication

  • Your signature above your typed name

It's not required, but you can include an offer to help train your replacement or otherwise assist your team in the time you have left. You also can use this letter to express your appreciation for the job and to request a letter of recommendation.

What Not to Include in a Resignation Letter

Your employer is likely to keep your resignation letter on file, so, in that sense, this communication will have a long life. You need to choose your words and the information you share with the utmost care. You don't want anyone who reads the letter to view you as merely a disgruntled employee.

Here is what not to include in the letter:

  • Reasons for leaving. While you may have discussed why you are departing with your manager in a meeting, it is unnecessary to include them in this letter.

  • Negative feelings. This letter is not the place to air your grievances about the job, your bosses, or your co-workers. Instead, aim to emphasize the positive with a brief sentence such as, "Even though it is time for me to move on, I will value what I have learned from this company and from my team members."

  • Your new position. This information is not relevant and could contribute to hurt feelings. If you have landed a great new role somewhere else, avoid the temptation of bragging about it in this letter.

  • Errors. As with all your professional communication, you should carefully proofread your resignation letter for mistakes and typos and make sure the letter sets the right tone.

  • Flowery language or unnecessary praise. While you want to avoid including negative feelings in your resignation letter, you want to avoid going to extremes. If you and your manager did not get along, calling that person a visionary or lifelong role model is likely to be viewed as sarcasm.

Resigning Without Giving Notice

Although it is the customary practice to give your employer two or more weeks' notice of your departure, there are some situations where that extra time is impossible. A letter of resignation is still appropriate - maybe even more so - under these circumstances.

Here are some situations when you may need to resign without advance notice:

  • Personal or family illness

  • Personal or family emergency 

  • Unsafe or unhealthy work environment

  • Harassment at the workplace

  • Lack of payment

  • Ethical, moral, or legal concerns

Despite the less-than-ideal circumstances, your letter of resignation should follow the same steps as we have already described. You do not need to detail your departure in this letter. And be sure to keep the tone professional and the content brief. Strive to be courteous and sincere.

Although word will get around - particularly in a small company - there is no need to announce your upcoming departure to the entire company. Your resignation letter should be addressed to your immediate supervisor and your human resources manager. You'll have plenty of time to inform your co-workers. 

In conclusion, you need not see your resignation letter as a major hurdle to overcome. Instead, think of it as a straightforward document that shares you are leaving your job and when.


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