So, you’ve made up your mind to quit and move on from your job? Congratulations. Now, there’s just one piece of business between you and the exit – your resignation letter.
Apart from being part of the standard exit process for most businesses; your resignation letter can also have an impact on your future references. Don’t forget that once you leave; your business will move on and in a year or two they may not remember you but they will have your file and your resignation letter.
A polished professional resignation letter will give your former employer’s HR team a good impression of you and make it easier to write a reference.
So What Goes Into a Good Resignation Letter?
The good news is that your resignation letter doesn’t need to be an essay. It just needs to contain some very simple information that allows your employer to make use of the letter:
- The date that you are resigning on (usually the same as the date you submit the letter)
- A statement of resignation (you don’t have to give a reason but you do have to resign)
- The date that you believe your notice period will come to an end and you will be free to leave
- A signature (not always compulsory if you send the letter by e-mail)
Positive Considerations for Your Statement of Resignation
The ideal statement of resignation is relatively short but full to the brim of positivity. Not only should that lead to glowing references in the future; it will also help ease the transition in the here and now.
- Say thank you. Thank your boss for their efforts (even if you don’t mean it) and thank your colleagues for their support and the company for giving you the opportunity in the first place. This is a great way to make people feel happy for you as you move on as well as showing them that their investment in you wasn’t wasted.
- Offer to help out with a replacement. Be sure to mention that you’ll be happy to help train and orient the person who takes over your role and that you’ll put together a formal handover process too. This can take the sting out of the hiring process. Though in many cases by the time they’ve found a replacement; you’ll already have left –recruitment takes time.
- Explain that your decision is final. Companies quite often react to a resignation letter by putting in an offer to retain you; the trouble is that better money won’t change the reasons you had for leaving in the first place. So try and keep the decision final unless you are leaving because of the money and only the money.
Next up is our list of don’ts – it’s important to remember that your resignation letter may be a formality but somebody, somewhere will be keeping it on file and somebody, probably your immediate superior, will be reading it while you still work there. So try and ensure that it neither upsets your boss (unless you want a horrible last month) and don’t burn bridges for the future either.
- Explain why you’re leaving. There’s no need to tell your employer why you are leaving. There’s nothing positive you can say here – “more money, better package, nicer location, etc.” are all ways of telling your current employer that they suck. It’s OK to say you’re moving on to pastures new but even that’s not really necessary this is doubly so if you’re moving to a competitor. Bosses have been known to sabotage moves when they learn that they’re losing a good team member to the opposition.
- Explain why you hate your current job. Don’t bring up grievances with your boss or your colleagues or the company at large; though if your resignation is designed to trigger legal action for harassment or discrimination – you might want to talk to a lawyer about the language you use. There are, in some parts of the world, legal presumptions which can be drawn from a resignation letter.
- Get emotional. Keep things completely professional. Even if you feel hurt or aggrieved there’s nothing to be gained by letting it out in your resignation letter. The good news is that you are moving on now – so don’t waste a second of your day on an emotional outburst that you may come to regret at a later date.
Sample Resignation Letter
This is a simple resignation letter that you can adapt to your own purposes and use to resign. Keep things simple, short and to the point and ideally get someone else to read it through before you hand it in – use our guidelines above to help them work out what you want to say with you.
Dear [Insert Your Boss’s Name],
Please take this letter as confirmation of my formal recognition from [Job Title] at [Company]. My last day with the company after serving my [Insert Notice Period Here] notice will be [Date of Leaving]. This is my final decision on the matter.
To make this process as easy as possible; I would be happy to help with training a replacement during my last few weeks here and will ensure I leave written instructions as part of a handover process.
I’d like to take the opportunity to say thank you for your help and support as my supervisor and to thank my colleagues for their professionalism and support too. I’ve enjoyed my time at [Company] and am pleased with the relationships I’ve built here. I wish you all the best for the future.
[Signature or Printed Name if E-mail]
You can also find some good resignation templates here:
A Little Light Entertainment
Here you can find some of the more creative ways to resign but in truth while they may be memorable; we don’t really recommend them. Written letters are the best way to resign even if they aren’t the tastiest.
And whatever you do; don’t resign like this woman did – we love her boss’s response to it though.