People leave their jobs for a whole host of different reasons, to accept a better offer, to escape a toxic work environment, to move to a different place, to start their own business or perhaps to ditch the rat race altogether and go travelling the world.
While the reasons for leaving a job are varied, the correct way to hand in your resignation is pretty standard no matter what sector or career you are working in.
So, if you have decided to move on to bigger and better things, follow our guide on how to write the perfect resignation letter.
It shouldn’t look like an email, or even worse, a text message. Lay out your resignation like a proper formal letter including your manager’s name and the company address (see below). Space out your paragraphs and avoid any grammar or spelling mistakes. Ask a friend to read it for you if you’re unsure.
Get to the point
This is not the time to waffle. Your resignation should be brief and to the point (without being blunt).
Legally, there are two main things that you absolutely have to include.
- A sentence stating that you are leaving the company.
- A line detailing your last day of work.
A simple thank you goes a long way. Use your resignation letter to express your gratitude for the opportunities that were presented to you during your time at the company. You can keep it to one or two sentences. Adding in a few words of thanks can make a positive difference to how the letter reads.
Offer to help
Always offer to help your boss with the transition period. Make it clear that you want to make the whole process of finding and training a replacement as easy as possible for them. This will put their mind at ease.
Now is not the time to retaliate with a sarcastic remark or hidden insult. Even if you are leaving the company on bad terms you need to remain professional.
Remember that this letter could be kept on file and revisited if you ever need a reference. Always err on the side of caution. There is nothing to be gained from lashing out.
Tailor the length
The length of your resignation letter will depend on the industry that you work in. In careers where employees are required to leave right away like banking and law, sometimes the notice period and a brief thank you are all that you need to include.
Control the delivery
Ask your manager for a one on one meeting. Bring the resignation letter with you and explain to them that you are handing in your notice.
While they probably won’t open the letter there and then at least they have a hard copy to refer back to. You should also email them the letter after the meeting in case they need to send it on to the HR department. This also important so you have a timestamp as a reference.
When you hand in your letter of resignation your boss might offer you more money or a better position. Be prepared for this conversation. Know your bottom line and exactly what you want before you meet them so you are not caught off guard. If you’re presented with an offer always let them know that you will get back to them the following day. Never answer there and then.
Here is a sample resignation letter that you can tailor it to fit your own circumstances.
Town / City,
Dear (manager’s name),
First paragraph: Cover the basics
I am writing to resign from the position of (job title) at (company name). My last working day will be (leaving date).
Second paragraph: Express your gratitude.
During my time with (company name), I have really enjoyed ________ or I’m grateful for the opportunity you’ve given me to ________.
Final paragraph: Offer help and remain positive
In the lead up to my departure, I’ll prepare handover notes for all of my current responsibilities. I would also be happy to assist you in finding a replacement.
Thank you for my time with (company name). I wish you and (company name) all the best for the future.
Your first and last name
Contact number or email address