A letter of resignation is one of those documents that many of us do not have the chance to write on a regular basis. That said, everybody has had to turn in a letter of resignation at one time or another – and most of us will have the chance to do so again.
The prospect of writing a letter of resignation can be a little scary. What’s worse is that, in many cases, the letter of resignation comes in the context of a potentially negative situation.
Regardless of whether you need to turn in your letter of resignation for good reasons or not so good ones, you will want to leave with class, on a high note. To do this, the first step is a well-written letter of resignation.
In this how-to we’ll cover what it takes to write classy letter of resignation.
Here’s what we’ll learn to do:
Know the structure
Get it done on time
Keep it short
How to write a letter of resignation tip #1: Know the structure
A letter of resignation should generally follow the widely held format of a business letter. Simply modify the format to fit a resignation.
To do this, front load the content so that the first sentence explains that you are leaving. The usual flow of the body of a letter of resignation is as follows:
Opening states politely that you are leaving
Next, state a reason for your departure as candidly as you feel comfortable
Then, move on to describing your role in the transitional period
Conclude with gratitude
Always be sure to close on a respectful and gracious note, even if you have had a bad experience that has led you to leaving the job. Since a letter of resignation is generally a form of “negative news,” you have to try extra hard to make sure you conclude your letter of resignation on a positive note, especially if you think you might need a letter of recommendation from the employer in the future.
If you need help getting your letter of resignation organized, check out our convenient resignation letter template which allows you to simply fill in the blanks.
Bonus Tip: Don’t make your letter of resignation a “boilerplate!” Refer specifically to your employer, your role, and yourself throughout to make the message more personal and meaningful.
How to write a letter of resignation tip #2: Keep it short
The short version of this tip is: don’t say more than what needs to be said.
You should be able to cut down the resignation to a handful of sentences. The more you say, the more likely what you write is to come off as patronizing or bitter. Keep it professional and fact-based.
As we always advise, keep it simple (stupid!).
How to write a letter of resignation tip #3: Stay positive
In many job transitions, there is at least some negative connotation associated with resigning from a job. This places an increased need to keep it positive.
Even if you are mad about your ill-treatment at by the employer, resist the temptation to use the letter of resignation to vent your frustrations.
Keep it professional and nice. Remember, a letter of resignation goes into your employee records and an incendiary one won’t help you in the future, should you need a professional reference.
I’m fed up and I quit this stupid job. Your ineffectual management style and lack of leadership has been the tipping point. I just can’t do it. I’d say “see you later” but I really hope I don’t!
Please accept this letter as notification of my resignation from my role of ::JobTitle:: at ::CompanyName::, effective on ::Date::.
How to write a letter of resignation tip #4: Get it done on time
You want to give your employer as much time as possible to replace your role in the company before you leave. This can mean that you will need to help with training during the transitional period or continue to fulfill your duties until a suitable replacement can be found.
The customary time frame for a period of “working out your notice” is two weeks, so make sure you get your resignation letter turned in two weeks out from the date you plan to no longer report for duty. Make sure the exact date is clear, so that you avoid any awkward misunderstandings.
Bonus Tip! How to write a letter of resignation with immediate effect
“M, I hereby tender my resignation with immediate effect. Sincerely, James Bond" – 007’s exceptionally concise letter of resignation from Casino Royale
So what do you do when circumstances conspire to make it necessary to leave your job right away? Keep it ultra-unbelievably short.
Since you won’t have the whole two weeks to save face by working out a notice, there’s no point in a long-winded explanation. The message should be that, for whatever reason, you have to go – now! Keep it short, don’t be mean, and make it clear that you are leaving “with immediate effect.” Just be certain that that’s what you want to do, before turning in the letter.
There you have it, Panda pals! The next time you have to turn in a letter of resignation, we hope that you’ll use our tips and our handy resignation letter template to take some of the pain out of the process.
Photos: New Old Stock