The 6 parts to writing a resignation letter

July 7, 2020

Congratulations, you found a new job! Now, you need to tell your boss you are leaving and hand in your resignation letter. You might be tempted to yell, “I quit” and walk out.

Resist the urge! Your resignation letter is your formal goodbye, and it should be done with consideration. You will want to resign in the most professional way possible. Your goal is to give your resignation and leave on good terms.

While the primary purpose of a resignation letter is to inform your employer that you are leaving, you can also use this as an opportunity to cement any good work relationships and leave on a positive note. Here are the steps you will need to follow.

1. The opening

A resignation letter is often tricky to write. You want to be direct and honest yet maintain your professionalism without being too formal.

Your first paragraph should state that you are handing in your resignation, effective the day of your resignation meeting. Be crystal clear and confident in your intent. You don’t want your boss to think there is room for negotiation.

As a conversation around your resignation will accompany your letter, you do not have to go into too much detail. Your resignation letter should be concise and straightforward.

2. Give proper notice

Let your employer know that you will work your notice period and your last day of work. If you have the option to work out your notice period, do it. It will allow you to finalise tasks in your last week of work before you leave.

If you hold a higher-level position or you are finishing off a large project, you may need to provide additional time in your notice period. Make sure you give adequate notice.

Where possible, ensure your company has enough time to hire and train your replacement. However, note that you are not obligated to stay any longer than a standard notice period, particularly if it will jeopardise your new position.

3. Give your reason for leaving

It is a nice gesture to state your reason for leaving. While this is optional, know that you don’t have to be too thorough on this point.

Keep it positive. If you are leaving because of retirement or, more commonly, because you have found another position, then state this to give a better idea of the situation causing your departure.

4. Clarify your intention to help with training

Make sure to state that you will be willing to help train your replacement and ensure all your work is handed over on time.

While this sounds like an obvious point, stating it in your resignation letter helps your boss understand your intentions.

You may already have been working on finalising all your work before your resignation, but outlining your plan helps direct the conversation around your notice period.

5. Thank them for the experience

Avoid saying all the negative things you have been holding back. This is not the time or the place. Instead, focus on the positives you have had in your role.

Outline areas you grew, opportunities you had, or overall great experiences with co-workers. You want to be remembered as grateful.

If you cannot find any kind words to say, keep it simple and say, “I appreciate the opportunity afforded to me at Company XYZ.”

6. Wrap it up professionally

If you are open to staying in contact with your boss, or the team, say so in your resignation letter. Include your personal contact number and email address if you want these details passed on. Another option is to connect on a social media platform like LinkedIn.

End your resignation letter with “Warmly,” “Kind Regards,” or something similar just before you write your name. “Sincerely” makes your letter too formal, while the others are warm but professional.

Sample resignation letter

The example below is an excellent place to start when writing your resignation letter. However, make sure to tailor it to your individual circumstances.

Dear [Manager/Boss’ name]

Please accept this letter as resignation from [your position] effective [today’s date]. I am giving my [length of time] notice per our company standards. My last day will be [Day, Date. Year].

I will make sure that all my current work is finished, and ongoing projects are handed over to my assigned co-workers. Should we find a replacement for my position, I am happy to get them trained and up to speed before my last day. I will gladly assist in this transition in any way possible.

Working with you and the team for the last [period of time worked] at [Company name] has been a pleasure. This has been an incredible opportunity to grow my career. I will always appreciate [two or three things that you helped with or accomplished in your time there].

Thank you for the opportunity and support. I wish you and the team the best and hope we can keep in touch.

Kind regards
[Signature] [Your name] [Telephone number and Email address]

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This post was written by: JC Cornell, Renewables and Growth Marketing Manager