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.