Good Tips for Writing an Effective Resignation Letter
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Good Tips for Writing an Effective Resignation Letter

A letter of resignation also called a notice to terminate employment--- is a formal letter that notifies a manager that his employee will be leaving the job and/or the company to pursue other career interest or whatever the case may be. The letter should be concise and respectful, depicting a positive tone overall.

First, let’s start out by defining what a resignation letter is.  A letter of resignation, also called a notice to terminate employment--- is a formal letter that notifies a manager that his employee will be leaving the job and/or the company to pursue other career interest or whatever the case may be. The manager should receive the letter at least two weeks prior to the individual’s departure.  Giving a two-week notice is deemed considerate by employers and will also provide the manager some time to begin looking for a replacement and perhaps ask the employee to assist in the training of the new hire or temporary worker.  The letter should be concise and respectful, depicting a positive tone overall.  The letter, once received by the manager, should be forwarded to the Human Resource department to be placed into the former employee’s files.

Why do I have to give a letter of resignation? 

Actually, you don’t have to submit a resignation letter when you decide to quit your job, but it’s good business etiquette to do so. Think about it for a moment…when you applied to work at the company you sought to make a good first impression with the recruiter and hiring manager so that you could land a job. So likewise, you should leave a good last impression with your manager by showing class as you submit a resignation letter prior to your departure, even if you have ill feelings about the company.

Are you sure you want to quit your job?

First, you must decide if you really want to leave the company before you write and submit your letter. If you already have a better job lined up, or plans to go to school full-time, or relocating to another state…then you might not regret it later.  But if you are angry with your manager or your co-workers for the time being, you might have a change of heart later on.  So be sure you are certain about leaving.  Also, if you decide to quit because you were offered a better salary elsewhere, your manager could possibly make you a counteroffer if he/she wants to keep you on board.  This might be something to consider before making a final decision to resign.

What to include in the letter?  This is a formal letter and should contain the following:

  • Heading- current date, your company name, and address
  • Salutation- start with Dear, prefix of Mr. Ms. Or Mrs., followed by the manager’s last name, and colon.  Example; Dear Ms. Brown-Hawkins:
  • Opening paragraph- two to three brief sentences explaining when (2-week notice) and why you are resigning.  You could mention, that you found a better job, retuning to school, or simply…to pursue other interest, or for personal reasons, if you don’t care to mention why you are resigning.
  • Body- keep your bridges intact! Briefly mention positive aspects and fond memories of the job and company, any acquired learning, and the accomplishments you achieved while working at the company. Don’t mention negative experiences you had with co-workers or bad-mouth the company in any way. Keep the letter brief, professional, and polite.  In many cases, you will need to ask your manager for a reference or you might have to go back to that company…so don’t burn down any bridges.
  • Closing paragraph- wrap up your letter with compliments and thank your manager for the opportunity to work for such a great company.
  • Signature- space down twice after the closing paragraph and type Sincerely, Yours truly, Respectfully submitted, Warmest regards, or other formal ending followed by a comma.  Space down twice and type you first and last name.
  • Last, print and proofread your letter.  Manually sign your name before you place it in a business envelope. Properly address the envelope and make sure your manager receives it two weeks before you plan to officially leave the company.

 See sample format below:

 Tips:

*You could meet with your boss first to resign, then follow-up with the letter

*Although some opt to sending an e-mail rather than a letter, personally, I would recommend a formal letter…simply because it’s more professional. 

* To maintain professionalism, place your letter in a business envelope rather than an inter-office envelope.

*Hand delivery rather than postal delivery will ensure that you give a 2-week notice

image credit: docstyle.info

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Comments (13)

Excellent presentation and contents too.thank you.

Good advice, thanks Donata!

Donata, great advice, glad I no longer need this! Voted & tweeted!

Practical and useful tips for writing a letter of resignation.Thanks.

Nice work!

Very professional information

I guess a recording of Johnny Paycheck's classic "Take This Job and Shove It" would be deemed inappropriate?

Excellent tips.

Good article, Donata. I agree that it's good business etiquette to write a proper resignation letter. Voted and buzzed up.

Very good advice and explination of how to write a letter of resignation. Voted.

I have had to do this several times in my life, thanks for the tips.

I have had to do this several times in my life, thanks for the tips.

Good information

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