There can be a plethora of reasons to be moving on from your current role but despite the circumstances surrounding your resignation, it’s important to leave in a professional manner. That means working your full notice period, not bad mouthing the company or your colleagues and handing in your resignation with a formal letter.
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Even if you’ve already had a face-to-face or phone meeting to discuss calling it quits, you still need to follow certain protocols. A resignation letter is not only the first step in making your departure official, it also contributes to the lasting impression you leave on a company.
It doesn’t need to be too elaborate but there are certain points that need to be covered.
Here are some easy tips to help you get started.
Your resignation letter is an official document. It shouldn’t look like an email, or even worse a text message. Lay it out like a formal letter including your manager’s name and the company address (see below). Space out your paragraphs and always double check your grammar and spelling.
Keep it simple
When writing your resignation letter you don’t have to over-complicate things. Keep it short and to the point. A well-written letter allows you to cut through any confusion that may result in a lengthy discussion with your manager or supervisor.
There are two main things that you have to include.
- A sentence stating that you are leaving the company.
- A line detailing your last day of work.
All other information is a bonus.
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An added extra
It’s always a good idea to include a thank you in your resignation letter. Express your gratitude for the opportunities that were presented to you and everything that you learned.
Be personal, where appropriate
It’s not completely necessary but if you are serious about leaving the company on a high, it can be helpful to give your resignation the personal touch. Your manager will appreciate you going beyond the generic template. (A manager you may one day need a reference or recommendation from.) You don’t need to go overboard but mention a highlight of your time in the role or a project that was of particular significance.
In addition to thanking your manager, offer them assistance during the transition period too. Whether it’s helping them to find your replacement or getting involved in the training process of said replacement, it’s good to show that you haven’t just disengaged from your team and responsibilities. Even the mention of a thorough handover can make a really positive impact as you leave a company.
Tailor the length
The length of your resignation letter will depend on the industry that you work in. In careers where employees are required to leave right away like banking and law, sometimes the notice period and a brief thank you are all that you need to include.
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Regardless of your reasons for leaving, it’s important to keep the critique to a minimum in your letter of resignation. Resist the temptation to criticise your colleagues, your boss, the working environment or the company in general.
Even if you have valid grievances, it’s best to raise these with the HR department in the context of an exit interview. Your resignation letter is not the place to make negative comments about the business, however satisfying it may be. Diplomacy is key!
Handing your employer a physical copy of your resignation might seem just a little bit old-fashioned but there are many reasons why you shouldn’t send it via email.
Having a physical resignation letter means you can control when you give it to your employer and you can also prepare them for what they are about to read.
Control the delivery
Ask your direct manager for a private meeting. Bring the resignation letter with you and explain to them that you are handing in your notice. While they probably won’t open the letter there and then at least they have a hard copy to refer back to.
You should also email them the letter after the meeting in case they need to send it on to the HR department. This is also important for your own digital records should you require proof of submission.
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It never hurts to play out the possible scenarios you may face once you deliver the news. Your boss might offer you more money or a better position to remain in the company. They might put you on garden leave while you work out your notice.
They might ask you to stay on for an additional project or they might (unfortunately) react poorly to your decision. Be prepared for these conversations and consider your options.
Here is a sample resignation letter that you can tailor it to fit your own circumstances.
Town / City,
Dear (manager’s name),
First paragraph: Cover the basics
I am writing to resign from the position of (job title) at (company name). My last working day will be (leaving date).
Second paragraph: Express your gratitude.
During my time with (company name), I have really enjoyed ________ or I’m grateful for the opportunity you’ve given me to ________.
Final paragraph: Offer help and remain positive
In the lead up to my departure, I’ll prepare handover notes for all of my current responsibilities. I would also be happy to assist you in finding a replacement.
Thank you for my time with (company name). I wish you and (company name) all the best for the future.
Your first and last name
Contact number or email address.
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