Writing a Letter of Resignation

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Unless you intend to stay at your company until retirement (certainly a viable option, even in the fast-evolving world of tech), sooner or later you’re going to have to resign from your position.

The key element in that resignation is the letter you write to your soon-to-be-former employer. Whether or not you’re departing the company on good terms, it’s important that this letter accomplish three things:

  • Make it clear that you’re leaving
  • Help you leave on an upbeat note
  • Cement positive relationships

With that in mind, the first paragraph of your letter should state the situation: You’re leaving the company by a certain date. You don’t need to mention where you’re going, or why you decided to leave, or who gets your books and desk knick-knacks after you’re gone.

Your second paragraph should be upbeat. Even if it’s not wholly true, state that you’re grateful for the opportunities that the company presented you. Be supportive; suggest you’ll do everything in your power to help with the coming transition. And resist any urge to go negative, or point fingers; your resignation letter isn’t an opportunity to air (or settle) grudges.

Your concluding paragraph should thank the company for the experience, and close nicely. Ending on a positive note will help if you reach out to your former employer for a reference at some later date; it’s also not outside the realm of possibility that you could end up working for them again, so a warm conclusion is often in your best interest.

As with a cover letter or résumé, make sure you proof your document before submitting it. With regard to prose style, keep things professional; emotion should stay at a minimum; and if you must vent, do so in some other medium—preferably one that doesn’t go directly to your company’s HR department.

One Response to “Writing a Letter of Resignation”

  1. laura luongo

    Thank you for a great guideline on how to quit a job without burning bridges and keeping up good relations. In this world, you never know when or where you will meet someone from you past and it is always very important to leave any situation, no matter how hard, harsh or unfair in the best way possible. Show Class not Crass