How To Write a Letter of Resignation

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As much as you enjoy your job, there is likely to come a time when you and your employer will choose to part ways.  Perhaps it's for a better opportunity, to spend time at home with your kids, or to start your own home-based business.  Whatever the reason for your leaving, it's important to know how to write a professional and concise letter of resignation.

  1. Be Professional  No matter what your reason for leaving your position, set your animosity aside when your write your resignation letter.  If you're still angry, wait an hour (or a day) before writing your letter.  In addition to being polite, make sure that everything in your letter is spelled correctly and is grammatically correct.  Remember:  Resignation letters stay in your employment file for years and years.  Make sure what you write will still represent you favorably in five-or ten-years.
  2. Include Necessary Information  Your resignation letter needs to include some basic information, such as the date you will be leaving or if you agree to other terms, such as working until a replacement can be found.  Professional standards ask that employees give at least two weeks notice of their departure, although employers have an option whether or not to accept that notice.
  3. Keep It Simple  The ideal resignation letter is short and to the point.  Avoid rambling letters that seek to explain your departure.  The  ideal resignation letter should include: 
    • An opening paragraph stating that you are leaving and the date.
    • A second paragraph thanking your employer for his consideration and employment. 
    • A closing paragraph, wishing your employer best wishes (if applicable) or simply summarizing the letter.
  4. Strive for a Positive Tone.  A resignation letter is no place to rant about your co-workers, subordinates, your low pay, or other perceived or real injustices.  Strive for a positive tone to your letter.  You are leaving; you can offer to be magnanimous toward your employer.
  5. Thank Your Employer  Your boss hired you, trained you, and paid you for years (or months).  As difficult as it might seem at the time, thank your employer for your time with the company.  It's a rare job where you can't find at least one nice thing to say.
  6. Do Send a Resignation Letter  Sending a resignation letter-or delivering it in person-is the professional way to end a business relationship.  Don't be tempted to just walk out.  If you are unsure of your letter-writing skills, ask a friend or family member to write it for you. 

Most of us will have to write a resignation letter at one time or another during our working careers.  Don't let the prospect cause you stress.  Simply follow the steps above and then move forward and concentrate on your new job opportunities.


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