It has been said that it is better to resign in person, which you then follow up with a formal resignation letter. Nonetheless, regardless if it is submitted before or after resigning in person, the letter of resignation has become an age-old tradition through which an employee tactfully informs his employer that he intends to leave the company. As this often signals a busy transitional period, resignation letters tend to be written hastily, often without thoughtful consideration. A well-constructed resignation letter plays an important role in order to maintain good relations with your employer and ensure a smooth transition.
Here are guidelines in writing a resignation letter effectively.
- Collect your thoughts. Look back on your experiences in the company and think of at least two things you liked about your job, your boss, or the company and think of a reason why you opted to move on to the other company. You may use generic terms and statements if you prefer to (“Thank you for the valuable knowledge and extensive experiences you have provided for me to learn and grow as a (job title)”, “The past __ years have been truly rewarding”, “This new opportunity gives me the chance to further grow professionally.”). Regardless of your reasons for leaving or your true feelings about it, once you have decided to move on there is no point in criticizing your employer so be polite and let them know you appreciate your time with the company.
- Write the letter following general standards. A resignation letter is a formal letter so it should be written in a business letter format and in a professional, courteous tone. It should follow most business correspondence standards, i.e. with a header containing personal contact information, date, contact information of employer, salutation, body and signature. Address the letter to your immediate supervisor or department manager who shall in turn forward it to the human resources manager.
- Make the letter short and simple. A resignation letter should be kept as brief, concise, and as focused as possible. Resist the temptation to ramble on and be terribly emotional; keep the tone positive. In the first paragraph, state that you are resigning, your reason and your time frame for leaving. In the second paragraph, thank the company, state your positive experiences, and politely offer your help in the transition.
When writing a resignation letter, remember to be direct, honest, and clear. Keep in mind that the letter will be part of your employment file and may be a reference for future employers so be consistently professional and polite. While the time frame depends with every company, providing a minimum of a two-week notice before resignation will help you have a seamless transition and allow you to leave the company on a positive note. If possible, consider the extent of your responsibilities and tasks and the projected time your company may need to find a replacement, and try to reach a compromise if the two-week notice will not work. This will not only give the company time to process your paperwork but a graceful exit provides for a positive professional reference you may be able to use in the future.