How to write a resignation letter

How to Write a Resignation Letter

There are a number of different reasons why people decide to resign from work. Some people resign because of a better offer somewhere else, while others run out of patience with management. There are also some who do not want to deal with the stress of their current job.

No matter the reason you’re resigning, it will be a major change in your life. Resigning is about managing what comes next when a relationship created through sharing successes and failures comes to an end.

Whether you had a contentious relationship or not, always aim to resign with dignity and respect.

The best way to do this is to write an effective letter of resignation.

The resignation letter is just like every other kind of business letter in terms of how it is structured. Starts with an introduction, then comes the body, and finish with a conclusion. The challenge, much like with every other form official document, is the content of the letter.

The problem with creating a letter of resignation is that you’re driven to write one because of powerful emotions. You might have been dealing with these emotions for a long time now and you’re ready to blow.

Given how much emotional weight can be put into a resignation letter, you should keep these three reminders in mind when crafting your resignation letter.

Keep a Positive Tone

You should avoid making your resignation letter a way to share all your negative feelings about your previous employer. Such a letter does nothing really. Don’t go out burning bridges because you might need the help of your old employer one day; such as when you need a reference.

Keep it Brief and Focused

You don’t need to turn your resignation letter into a journal or a diary. It needs to have a clear purpose; you’re willfully ending your time with the company. You don’t need to drone on or you could lose the focus of the content. All you need to do is formally state that you are resigning and provide your ex-employer with well wishes.

Keep it Simple

There’s no harm in keeping your resignation letter simple. It shouldn’t be inviting controversy. Don’t put anything that isn’t related to the resignation. You can go into more information in the reasons you are resigning during the exit interview.

There are times when people get overcome with emotions and don’t make smart decisions. Remember that you can’t undo your resignation after handing in your letter.

We’ve provided a resignation letter example below for you to follow and tailor to your needs. In general the following should be included in the resignation letter;

  • The addressee; typically the supervisor or direct manager. Human Resources should also receive a copy of the letter.
  • If you need to then you should include the provision from the contract of employment that validates your resignation
  • Include specific date when your resignation will come into effect
  • Short and official statement about your decision
  • Finally you should write something that expresses your appreciation for the employer while you were employed there. It can be difficult but it is necessary. This is one of the most important parts because it shows how professional you are, maintains the positive tone, and provides great closure for your time with the company.

After reviewing your letter of resignation and signing it, take the original and copy of the letter to officially hand-deliver it. While many companies have their own guidelines on the resignation process, there are some general issues that concern many employees considering resignation. The following are the most common;

Should I talk to my supervisor before resigning?
While you don’t need to talk to your supervisor before resigning it’s a good idea because it is proper work etiquette. It shows that you respect and appreciate the time you spent with them and the relationship you forged with them.

When is the best time to hand out the resignation letter?
The best time to tender your resignation is a Friday because it is the end of the working week and the management will often be more compassionate as the weekend approaches.

Is it okay to email a resignation letter?
Generally you don’t want to email a resignation letter. It’s considered professional courtesy to formally write and hand-deliver your resignation letter. You should also give your manager the formal audience and handshake they deserve. Resigning is also a great time to get honest and candid feedback about your work from your superiors.

Download sample resignation letter for Microsoft Word (docx)
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Resignation letter

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