How to Write a Letter of Resignation

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There are many reasons why employees quit their job. Whatever your reasons are for quitting your current job, whether you are changing careers, looking for a career promotion, or experiencing unforeseen life events outside work, writing a letter of resignation is the most professional thing to do.

What is a letter of resignation?

A letter of resignation is a document that you present to your employer, notifying them that you are leaving your job role. It formalizes your departure by expressing your intent for leaving and the reason why. Your letter can be an email message or a printed letter. 

A rule of thumb is that you have to notify your employer 2 weeks or more. You can also check your contract about the termination policy.

Why should you write a letter of resignation?

Submitting a resignation letter is a proper thing to do when leaving a job. One reason is that there are also some legal considerations that both parties should comply with. Also, submitting a resignation letter helps avoid burn bridges, maintain relationships, and resign on a positive note.

What should you consider before submitting a letter of resignation?

Take note that when you submit a resignation letter, it becomes a permanent record. So before taking the plunge, here are some of the things you should consider for a smooth departure.

Think ahead and about your future

You may never know what will happen after you submit your resignation letter. The first piece of advice is that you should think about your future. Do you have a source of income when you leave your job? Are you financially ready to support your needs in case an emergency happens? Make sure that you are covered and can live comfortably for at least six months.

Begin some light cleanup and packing

Before you submit your resignation letter, you should clean up your computer. Delete any personal files in your computer, personal email messages, log out personal accounts, and clear browsing history, cookies, and saved passwords. Do some light packing, clean your table and desk where you keep your personal items.

Save some of your work samples

Document and make a portfolio of non-proprietary files of your work. You also need to save your colleagues’ contact information for those you want to stay in touch with and those you can use as your reference in the future.  

Update your files in preparation for your handover 

Fill the void created by your resignation by preparing your handover files so that the new team member can settle into the position more quickly and easily. Helping with the transition shows that you are respectful of your teammates and employer. You will leave a positive note and close off this career chapter with a clear conscience and clear mind.

Some companies will ask you to pack up, cut off your computer access, and escort you out of the office when you inform them that you are leaving your job role. So before you submit your resignation letter, you need to clean up and gather all of your important files and information.  

Tips in writing a letter of resignation

1. Follow the formal letter format

A resignation letter is still a formal letter. Therefore, you need to outline some key details. Here are a few formatting tips:

  • Add a heading using a block format. It should consist of your address and date and placed in the top left-hand corner of the page.
  • About four lines below the heading should be the inside address. This part is for the name and address of the specific person you are addressing in your resignation letter.
  • One line after the inside address should be your salutation. A salutation is a word or phrase of greeting or courtesy and comes immediately before the body of a letter. The most usual greeting is “Dear” followed by the person’s name.
  • Skip one line after your salutation and begin the body of your resignation letter, which is your main part.
  • After the body of your letter, skip another line for your closing and signature.

2. Be straightforward or direct and to the point

In the first paragraph, start your introduction and notice of resignation. State clearly why you are writing a formal resignation and state your last day of work. However, regardless of how much you hate your boss or your manager, don’t write about it or put anything negative. You should choose your words wisely. Remember that your resignation letter is a permanent record, and it can come back to haunt you.

3. Have a good professional reason to quit your job

Be polite in giving a reason why you want to quit your job. It can be difficult to share such information with your employer behind the reason why you are leaving your job. And it is okay because you don’t necessarily have to provide other personal details. However, if you would like to provide your employer a reason for your resignation, here are some samples you can share to leave on a positive note.  

  • Career change
  • Health reasons
  • Family circumstances
  • Better opportunity
  • Relocation

4. Thank your employer for the experience

Express your sincere appreciation by thanking your employer for a rewarding experience. This demonstrates your thoughtful gesture to your boss when you are leaving the company. Thank them for their support and opportunity and for the positive memories of your job. By doing this, you make your employer feel that you had a positive experience, and it minimizes the animosity that you may encounter during your departure.  

5. Keep it short

You want your resignation letter to be short. You will be judged based on what you will do in your resignation letter. It should simply state that you are leaving your job, the reason why, the date of your departure, and a brief appreciation message to your employer. A resignation letter should not exceed one page.

No matter how you feel about your company, boss, job, or colleagues, showing them respect when you leave your job will benefit you in the long term. Writing a letter of resignation allows you to show your respect and your eagerness to maintain a professional relationship.

Learn how to build healthy relationships with people using emotional intelligence with Build Healthy Relationships Using Emotional Intelligence online course. You will discover how you develop trust, manage conflict and work within ethical boundaries.

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