Written by Rinesa - 6 Minutes reading time
How to write a job resignation letter
Resigning from a job, regardless of the circumstances, is a major life decision and should be taken seriously. Crafting and submitting a professional resignation letter is a key aspect of the resignation process and can leave a lasting impression on former and future employers. Knowing the impact this letter of resignation can have, it is important to understand what should be included in it and exactly how to write it.
What is a letter of resignation?
Employees should give their employer a formal job resignation letter when they decide to quit a job. Pat Roque, career transformation coach at Rock on Success, described a job resignation letter as a formal notification of an employee’s exit strategy.
“It is a required document that becomes part of your employee records,” Roque told Business News Daily. “Think of it as your former company’s last chapter of your story.”
Your letter should have a neutral tone that informs your employer that you are leaving and on what date, plus it should offer to assist in the transition to someone new and thank them for the time you were part of the team. Despite your feelings about your job or your boss, being professional, courteous, and helpful provides closure and a positive path forward. [See related article: Quitting Your Day Job? The Basics on Benefits Coverage for Entrepreneurs]
“Always keep the door open, because you never know when you may want to return or even work with other colleagues in a future role elsewhere,” said Roque.
James Rice, head of SEO at Picked, said that although you will likely be expected to hand in a standard resignation letter, it is usually best to schedule a meeting with your boss to personally give them the letter and discuss your resignation in person.
What your letter of resignation should say
Although the specific contents of your job resignation letter can be tailored to your job and company, a few basic elements should always be included.
Roque suggested including the following elements in your letter of resignation:
- Your end date. Provide your official end date, ideally at least two weeks in advance.
- Help with the transition. Express your commitment to ensuring a smooth and easy transition, including availability to discuss your workload and status updates with your manager or successor.
- Gratitude for the opportunity. Find something nice to say, regardless of your differences with a colleague or how toxic the job may have become.
- Request for instructions (optional). If you aren’t yet aware of the exit protocol at your company, request specific instructions about final work commitments and such. Some companies may ask you to leave immediately, while others may have you very involved in a transition over the two-week period, or they may ask you to work from home and see HR to return your laptop on your last official day.
Alex Twersky, co-founder of Resume Deli, added that offering to assist in training a replacement, preparing the team for your departure and expressing gratitude are important elements of a job resignation letter.
“Conjure up … the best time at your job and have that image top of mind when you write your resignation letter,” said Twersky. “Let your boss think they were great, even if they weren’t. [You might] get a good recommendation out of it.”
What your letter of resignation shouldn’t say
Knowing what to say in a resignation letter is just as important as knowing what not to say. Many employees make the mistake of including too many personal details and emotional statements in their official letters.
When you are writing an official resignation letter, omit the following details:
- Why you are leaving. Although you may feel the need to explain your reason for leaving, this is not necessary to include in your resignation letter. Rice said you may believe that the new employer has a better product, service, working environment, salary or benefits package, but these are not things to state in your resignation letter. Keep your language professional and positive.
- What you hated about the job. A resignation letter is not the place to air your grievances or speak poorly of your soon-to-be former company or co-workers. Roque said to let go of anger before submitting the letter. She also suggested having someone else review your letter before submission to ensure it is appropriately polite and succinct.
- Emotional statements. Twersky stressed the importance of using a calm, professional tone in your letter. An aggressive or otherwise emotional letter will only come back to hurt you. Twersky said that even if you are overworked and resentful, don’t quit angry. Avoid using phrases like “I feel” or “I think,” unless positive statements follow them up.
When writing your letter, try not to burn any bridges, as you may need help from these individuals in the future.
“Your employers may be providing you with a reference, or if you are staying in the same field, you may still network in the same circles or want to return in the future,” said Rice. “It is always good to keep in touch with your old colleagues, and with social networks like LinkedIn, it may be hard to avoid them.”
These are also good tips to keep in mind when you inform your supervisor or manager that you are leaving. Short and simple is fine; you don’t to explain your reasons if you don’t want to. Just stay polite, respectful and professional throughout the discussion.
Benefits of providing a letter of resignation
Since some companies require employees to turn in a formal notice when they resign, it is important to check your employee handbook before saying your goodbyes. Although a company may not have official requirements in place that obligate you to submit a formal resignation letter, it is always best practice to do so.
At the very least, handing in a formal and professional resignation letter makes you look good. It sets the tone for your departure as professional and courteous, reducing the possibility of hard feelings or uncertainty. It also gives you the chance to officially thank your employer and offer to assist with the transition process, if needed.
A formal resignation letter also serves as a paper trail. Some companies may require a specific amount of notice (two weeks is standard), and your resignation letter can serve as physical proof that you provided ample notice. If there are legal problems, like the disbursement of your final paycheck or the last day of employee benefits, you can look to your resignation letter as support for your case.Are you planning to resign? At QTC Recruitment, we understand the importance of career transitions. We specialise in connecting professionals with exciting job opportunities in the Life Science industry. Discover how our experts can support you in your career here.
Also published on Businessnewsdaily.com
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