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UNEMPLOYMENT / AUG. 07, 2015
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10 Things Your Resignation Letter Should Not Include

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Writing a resignation letter can be one of the most important letters you write because it is the final document you will be sending to your employer. Unless you want to completely burn all professional bridges, you need to exclude certain things. When writing this letter, you can get carried away and allow your anger to sour the tone of your words. However, that will not serve a long-term purpose of continuing to further your professional career. Writing a resignation letter that is extremely negative, rather than effectively informing your employer that you are resigning, will only serve to further fuel the fire of negativity. This article will address 10 things that you should never include in your resignation letter.

See Also: 5 Things to Reconsider Before You Resign

1. Criticism of the Company

One of the first things that you should never include in a resignation letter is denigrating words about the company or its services and products. This may be difficult to avoid including, especially if you have hard feelings about the company. However, you need to set those differences aside and avoid saying anything negative about the company in your letter. You may be tempted to include phrases like this company is one of the most unorganized places I’ve ever worked for, but you should refrain from listing your top 10 reasons why the company stinks. Even if your opinions about the company are valid, you need to stay professional in your words and tone.

Remember that your letter legally can and most likely will be kept in your personnel file at the company. You don’t want anything negative that you have written in haste to be kept in a file for the long term. When you leave the company, you need to ensure that nothing negative was said or written about them so that you can begin on a clean slate somewhere else.

2. Criticism of Management and Colleagues

If you were resigning because of irreconcilable differences between you and a manager or colleague, you may be tempted to include critical words about them. However, you should never include any criticisms about your managers, their style of management, or anything negative about your colleagues. Of course, it’s quite possible that every point you feel like hammering out on your keyboard is valid. However, your main goal is to leave your job in a professional manner so that you can start over in another.

There is nothing productive that can come from burning bridges simply to get your point across or even for therapeutic purposes in writing negative things in your resignation letter. If you need to write out your frustrations, put your feelings in a journal but never in a letter to your employer. Some examples of things you should never say are You were literally the most useless manager I’ve ever had or I’ve been working with a bunch of idiots in my department. Remember that resignation letters can be shared all the way up the chain of command, and you don’t want the CEO to see the negative words you thought only your incompetent manager would see. Be smart when writing your letter.

3. Overly Emotional Sentiments and Exaggerations

Don’t get all sappy and include a teary goodbye to your supervisor. Maybe you are resigning to work at another company and there was no conflict causing you to leave. That still does not make it professional for you to become overly emotional in your sentiments in the resignation letter. You may miss all of your colleagues and your manager who was like a mentor to you. Yet, those sentiments should never be included in a resignation letter that will be filed with the HR department and possibly shown to upper management. Remember, your goal is to continue to maintain a professional presentation in everything that you do, and that includes your resignation letter. Of course, you want to keep the letter positive in your gratitude for your employment opportunity, but don’t take the appreciation level to the extreme and write a resignation letter that would make your manager uncomfortable.

4. Immature Complaints

Avoid including any negative complaints that show your immaturity level. You may have been extremely unsatisfied with certain aspects of your employment, but that does not give you the right to act immature and list all your complaints. If you had valid complaints, those should have been discussed with your manager through the proper channels while you were employed at the company. There is no point—besides satisfying your own immaturity—for airing out a long list of complaints against the company.

Watch the tone of your words while including content in the letter. You want to maintain a positive attitude so that you are not deemed a resentful employee whom management needs to watch out for possible retaliation from. If you have complaints about the company, air them out with your friends who don’t work for your previous employer. Even if you hated having to deal with your lazy boss and covering up for all his mistakes, save it for the next time you hang out with your friends.

5. Details About Your Next Job in All its Glory

If you have found a wonderful new job and you want to shout about it from the rooftops, that’s great, but don’t say anything about it in your resignation letter. You need to write a concise and professional letter, but your employer does not need to know that you’re getting a 20% bump in salary or that you will have your own reserved parking spot in the company lot. Relish those perks yourself but refrain from rubbing the details in the face of your employer. Remember that maturity counts and every time you continue to behave like a professional, you add one more level to the foundation of your future career success. Don’t waste time in getting back at your employer. Write the letter and get started enjoying your new job.

6. Spelling Mistakes and Grammatical Errors

This will be the last communication you’ll have with your employer. However, that doesn’t mean that all sense of professionalism should go out the window. Make sure that you avoid all types of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors in your resignation letter. You want to continue to maintain that professional presentation at all times.

Do you want to give your previous employer (whom you thought was incompetent) the satisfaction of finding mistakes throughout your resignation letter and marking it up in red ink just for the fun of it? Probably not! So, be diligent and write a letter that reflects your professionalism and serves the purpose of letting your employer know that you are resigning.

7. Attempts at Future Retribution

If you feel that you were wronged in some way by your employer or one of your colleagues, your resignation letter is not the place to include any attempts for future retribution. For example, if one of your colleagues interfered with your efforts to get a promotion and that is your reason for leaving the company, don’t get petty and whine about it in your resignation letter. More importantly, never include negative words that express your desire to find a way to get retribution at some point in the future for the wrongs committed against you.

Any time you include such negative comments, especially using the word retribution­, you only defeat your purpose of not burning any bridges. Any type of inflammatory words can be deemed as intimidation tactics and may cause your employer to start having serious discussions with their team of lawyers. You may not be interested in suing your employer or colleague in the company, but using such provocative language in your resignation letter can set off red flags with your employer, which could become a problem for you in the future.

8. Requests to Be Informed of Future Employment

Even if you are leaving the company on good terms, it would be in poor taste to include a request to be informed of future employment in your resignation letter. You made the decision to resign from the company; don’t look back but instead move ahead toward your next career move. Don’t think that including this request would be viewed in a positive way by your employer since you had a good relationship with management and all your colleagues – it is simply quite a ridiculous request to make.

9. Accolades to Your Many Accomplishments

Whether you leave the company on good terms or not, you may be tempted to include some accolades to your many accomplishments at your job. Everything you would write may be true, but your boss does not need to read through all of your accomplishments since you’re leaving the company and will no longer be in their employ. Demonstrating your accomplishments should be saved for proving your value to future employers and not included in a resignation letter.

10. Refusal to Assist with Training Your Replacement

You may not be asked to assist with the training of your replacement, but if you are, refusing to help out during the transition period should never be included in your resignation letter. Unless there are dire circumstances and you need to leave the employment immediately without giving two weeks’ notice, your refusal to help will be deemed an extremely unprofessional attitude. You can include details in your resignation letter about your willingness to train your replacement, but you should never actually include a refusal to help. Remember that you want to be professional in everything that you do.

See Also: Funny Resignation Stories

A resignation letter should be viewed as a serious document that ends your employment with one employer and frees you up to work for another. Stay professional in your presentation. Did you ever regret any content that you included in a resignation letter? Let us know in the comments section below!

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