Career Testing
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How to Write an Effective Resignation Letter

Beautiful latina businesswoman resigns from job

Finally made your mind up to quit your job? Congratulations! All you need to do now is submit a resignation letter so you can move on with your career.

So, you have finally decided to move on. You have signed everything at your new job, and now all that’s standing in between you and your cool new gig is that dreaded resignation letter you have to submit at your current job. You can’t just clear out your desk, stand up and walk out the door; your employer needs a formal letter of resignation because no matter how redundant this may be they all require it as proof of you voluntariIy terminating your employment.

I know; it’s not easy.

Even if the HR manager or your boss do not ask for one, it is always recommended to submit one. It is a way to maintain a good working relationship with your previous employer while paving the way forward - but more on that later.

What is a Resignation Letter and Why Do You Need One?

Before we move on, let’s remind ourselves what a resignation letter is. It is a short letter used to formally advise your current employer that you are quitting your job. It is your chance to preserve a positive relationship with your boss and organisation by leaving a great last impression. You also need this letter for yourself to help you move forward in your career.

As mentioned previously, a resignation letter is a way to announce to superiors, human resources and colleagues your plan to leave your position. It is good practice to submit this letter in advance (especially when required by your contract) with two weeks as the minimum requirement.

What to Include in a Resignation Letter

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All resignation letters should be written in a simple and straightforward way. Career expert, at Monster, Vicki Salemi explains that 4 key points must always be present in a resignation letter:

  • The date of submission should be clearly shown in the heading
  • Your formal statement of resignation
  • The proposed end date of your contract
  • Your name, surname and signature

Beyond the 4 basic points, it is always a good idea to also express your gratitude in the letter. Even if you don’t agree with some things and had some differences with your employer, do the kind thing to thank your manager for giving you the opportunity to work for their organisation.

It would be nice to show the company that they haven’t wasted their time on you and that your time at the job was a beneficial experience for both parties. Let them know that they were a great boss, even if that’s a lie. Who knows; you might get a good recommendation letter out of it.

If you want to show them how professional you are, you can offer them your assistance in training your replacement and preparing everything in time for your departure to you make your teams lives a little bit easier. Make sure to clarify you are willing to do all this in your two-weeks before leaving.

You may also want to inform them that your decision is final in case your employer offers you an increase in salary to stay. If you won’t be interested at all in a counteroffer - since the reasons for quitting a job usually go beyond a salary - let them know not to waste their time or even yours.

Although in some cases, such as quitting your job for parenting reasons or a cross-country move, you may want to disclose the reason behind your resignation, in most cases there is no point in sharing the details of you quitting your job. It is better for you to keep it as brief and straightforward as possible.

How to Write and Format Your Letter

Length: keep it short and sweet. There is no point writing several pages about how great your new job is or why you hate your current position. Most letters should be kept to one page.

Font and Size: just like a CV, you should use a traditional font such as Arial, Times New Roman or Calibri. The size should be between 10 and 12.

Format: it should be single-spaced with only one space between the paragraphs. Your margin should be 1’’ and alignment should be to the left as you would do for almost all professional and business documents.

Accuracy: just like all professional documents, your resignation letter should be thoroughly proofread and edited before mailing it. The best thing would be to show your letter to a career adviser or a friend to review it before you hand it in.

Email or Mail?: Neither. The best way to resign is always in person and then follow up with your letter of resignation. But, if due to the circumstances you are not allowed to speak to your manager in person and it is important for you to let them know right away the next best thing would be to send your letter via email.

What Not to Include in Your Letter

resign istockphoto

Okay, we have talked about all the things you need to include in your letter but what about the things you should not include? Maybe some of you would say that the following things are a no brainer, but mistakes do happen, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

  • Don’t be vague about your resignation
  • Don’t say you’ll be leaving immediately
  • Don’t mention the salary at your new job
  • Don’t use negative language showing you are unsatisfied with the organisation or your position
  • Don’t criticise any of your coworkers or subordinates in your letter
  • Be as sincere as possible
  • Do not mock the company, the supervisor or their products and services

Resignation Letter Template

So, based on the above advice and several expert sources, here is a basic, yet all-purpose resignation letter template that you can use as a starting point. Make sure not to copy this one entirely, just use it as a prompt to get your creativity flowing.

Remember: less is more when it comes to this kind of letter. Even a single paragraph would do the job as long as you have dated the letter and clearly indicated your proposed last day. And in case this date changes, make sure to resubmit the new letter with the new date and proposed end date.

See? At the end of the day, it is not so difficult to write an effective resignation letter, right? The hardest part of this procedure is to be brave enough and arrange that one-to-one meeting with your boss and let them know about your departure. But remember why you are doing this in the first place; your new job or new career path is waiting for you.

Have you ever written a resignation letter before? Do you have any other tips? Let us know below…

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