Careers & Education

How to write a letter of resignation

By Ryan Walters
Info Guru,

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What you write when you resign can come back to haunt you, so think carefully about your letter of resignation.
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Tips on how to write a letter of resignation

The first thing you should do before you draft (emphasis on draft) your letter of resignation is to consider all your options at your current place of employment. Could your employer offer you something that would make you want to stay? If you have certain issues, think about discussing them with your employer; or if you have received a better offer from another company, talk to him/her about meeting that offer before you commit in writing your intention to leave.

Keep in mind that you should be very certain that you wish to leave your job before tendering a letter of resignation. Once you submit it, it cannot be taken back.

Follow these simple guidelines and you'll learn how to write a letter of resignation like the pros:

Type your letter on a computer or typewriter. Handwritten letters are not as professional. Even though you are leaving the job, you should care what the letter looks like because it will stay in your file and may be referenced by other prospective employers.

Use proper business letter format, with your name and address, the date and your employer's name and address at the top.

Address the letter to your supervisor.

State that you are resigning and give the date the resignation is effective. Indicate the date your resignation becomes effective; for example, indicate if you are giving two weeks notice or if you are resigning immediately. Check your contract first to see what your company's policies are regarding resignations.

Thank your employer for the opportunities he or she provided and indicate that you are grateful to the company. Although you may not feel that this is the case, you do not want to make enemies. You may need this person to give you a recommendation at a later date. While a statement of thanks to the employer is appropriate in many cases, it may not be in your best interest if you intend on pursuing any sort of claim against your employer. If you intend on pursuing a claim against your employer, your resignation letter need only state the effective date of your resignation.

Other tips about resigning and how to write a letter of resignation:

Refrain from explaining why you are leaving, why you hated your job, where you will be working, how much more they will be paying you, etc. Do say that you are willing to help with the transition your resignation will cause. Expect your supervisor to want to talk to you about your decision. Be polite and don't use this as an excuse to vent; try to leave on friendly terms. Be sure to specify the vacation days which you may be entitled to. Otherwise the employer is under no obligation to pay you for them.

Sometimes, two weeks is not enough time for an employer to find a replacement for you. If it is an important position you are leaving, 30 days notice may be better suited. You want to leave on good terms. This may make the employer more inclined to give you a good reference, or perhaps, offer you a raise or new contract in order to keep a professional employee.

If you would like a letter of recommendation, request one. Have it mailed to you.

If you prefer not to say where you're headed, a simple "taking time off" will do.

Sign your letter "Sincerely" or in some other formal manner and sign your name.

Proof read your letter, and then proof read it again!

Seal the letter in an envelope addressed to your supervisor, and then give it to him or her or have it delivered. If your employer has a human resources department, copy the human resources department on the letter.

Now that you now how to write a letter of resignation, good luck!

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