Are you one of those lucky people who loves his or her current job? Perhaps you belong to the other group, anxiously browsing for your next career move. Whichever group you belong to, chances are you aren’t working in your final job position – according to the latest statistics, the average person holds around 12 jobs in his or her lifetime.

The majority of those changes won’t – hopefully – occur because you were fired, but rather because you were jumping in on another opportunity. Indeed, there are many reasons for quitting your job and all those reasons require you to write a resignation letter.

A resignation letter tells the employer you’re voluntarily terminating your contract. While it might not be mandatory, it does make the whole process less messy and ensures you don’t burn the bridges with your previous employer.

Indeed, according to an OfficeTeam survey around 86% of HR managers say the way you’ve quit your previous job affects your future career opportunities. You don’t want to do it the wrong way.

So, how do you write a resignation letter like a pro? Here are the five keys to a good resignation letter, the main things to consider when writing one, and an example template for you to use.

THE 5 KEYS TO A GOOD RESIGNATION LETTER

When writing a resignation letter, your focus must be on five things:

Keep it short

Don’t turn a resignation letter into a novel. You shouldn’t use it as an opportunity to explain your life story and you definitely don’t want to make excuses in your resignation letter. This is not a document for lengthy explanations as to what happened and why you’re resigning.

If further discussions are needed, you can ask to do so with the manager face-to-face. Your resignation letter should inform, not explain.

Recognize the contract

You should also show an understanding of your employment contract in your resignation letter. This shows respect towards your current employer and highlights a level of professionalism in dealing with the issue.

You, ideally, need to show in your resignation letter that you are not in violation of it by resigning. For example, you might have a term that determines how long you must work from the moment of the resignation letter.

The general guideline is to provide a two-week notice, which means working for two weeks after your resignation letter. However, be also prepared for the employer for asking you to leave immediately. It’s important to leave your employment contract to fully understand your rights and responsibilities in this situation.

Remember the formal stuff

It might seem a bit obvious advice but remember the resignation letter is an official document. You show professionalism by including the elements of an official letter into it. These include:

  • The date of the letter
  • The position you are resigning from
  • The last day you’ll work for the organization
  • Your real signature at the end

It’s a good idea to check who you’re supposed to address the resignation letter to. In many organizations, it might be your closest manager, while in others it might be the head of the department or HR. You can check the company policy with the HR department or your manager.

Be thankful for the opportunity and avoid personal criticism

You should never turn the resignation letter into a critique of the organization, the position or the management. If you have issues you want to talk about, then do this in a conversation – such as the end of employment discussion – but not in the letter.

Instead of criticizing the employer or your colleagues, you want to thank them for the opportunity you were given. Even if you didn’t enjoy working there, you don’t want to burn bridges – after all, the employer did take a chance on you and hired you. Even though things didn’t work out, you had an opportunity to work and grow.

Offer help

Finally, you want to make it clear you want this transition to be as smooth as possible. No matter what you think about your employer, they are going to have a disruption since you’re leaving – your job is to try to make it as pain-free as possible.

Offer assistance in possibly helping with this transition period or even training and finding the new employee. You should also show your willingness to talk about the resignation – it doesn’t mean you should change your mind, but it can help your employee improve if they know your reasons behind it.

However, when offering help, only offer it in a way you are comfortable giving. Don’t promise to do this and that if you know you won’t do it.

2 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN WRITING A RESIGNATION LETTER

When writing your resignation letter, you have to consider two key things: how quick your resignation is going to be and the reason you’re leaving your job.

How to professionally reflect on these two points with your resignation letter?

The timeline for your resignation

Depending on your contract, you could be quitting your job immediately or after a specific period. This will naturally influence the wording on your resignation letter.

Now, when deciding the last date of work, you need to focus on two things:

  • What does the contract say? Read the employment contract and understand your rights and responsibilities.
  • When do you want/need to stop? Your reason for quitting might also influence your date of choice – for example, is the family relocating or do you start in a new job on a certain date?

When you’ve considered the above points, you can start thinking about the wording of your letter. Below are a few examples based on your resignation timeline:

The basic two-weeks notice 24-hours/Effective immediately
I’m writing to announce my resignation from my position as Accounts Manager, effective two weeks from this date.

 

I’m writing to inform you that I’m resigning from my position at Accounts Manager due weeks from this date.

 

Please accept this as my formal notice of resignation from my position at Accounts Manager at ZYX. My last day will be May 17, 2017, two weeks from today.

Please accept this letter as notification that I am resigning from my job as Accounts Manager effective tomorrow. I apologize for not being able to give more notice.

 

I’m writing to inform you my resignation from my position as Accounts Manager, effective tomorrow.

 

I regret to inform you that I am resigning immediately from my position as Accounts Manager. My last day will be tomorrow. I apologize for the short notice.

The important thing to remember here is to add regret to your more immediate resignation letter. You don’t want to just inform your resignation, but show you understand the disruptiveness of such a sudden statement. Whether you should dive into the reasoning of this sudden move is discussed next.

The reason for resignation

While you don’t need to provide a reason for your resignation, you might still want to consider it – especially, if you are leaving with immediate effect. The reason might help make the resignation a little less painful for the employer and ensures you don’t have to quit and burn your bridges.

As mentioned, there is no need to provide a reason but it can be more professional to reflect on it. When thinking about reflecting on the reason for quitting, keep in mind these points:

  • You don’t want to mention your real reason for quitting if it’s something negative about your current employer – remember this wasn’t the place and time for putting forward complaints but a letter to inform.
  • You don’t want to mention your new job or employer in detail, especially if they are the direct competitors of your current employer.
  • You might want to mention your reason if it’s a family reason, such as a death in the family, sickness, or relocation.
  • You might want to mention your reason if it’s a complete lifestyle change or you are going after your dream – again, this should be something completely different to what you are doing now and involve no career change to a competitor.

Again, it’s important to maintain a level of professionalism and formality – you don’t need to explain or justify your reasons here. However, if you think the reason will help the employer understand and reflect on your decision and you are comfortable to share it, you can do so.

In terms of how to talk about your reasons, here are some example statements you should include to your job resignation letter:

Generic reason letter (usually for change in career) I feel my career has now taken a move into a different direction and it is time for me to move on to new opportunities.

 

I have accepted a new opportunity that gives me a chance to continue to grow professionally, as well as stay close to my family.

Relocation I will relocate to the ZYX area in the near future.

 

I will be relocating to ZYX in order to be closer to my family.

 

My family has made the decision to relocate to ZYX, which is why I’m offering my resignation.

Further education I plan to return to my studies and finish a higher degree in Accounting at XYZ University.

 

I’ve decided to pursue my academic interests further and I have accepted a place at XYZ University.

Personal/family reasons I’m resigning due to personal reasons.

 

I regret to inform you of this but there has been an illness in my family and I will want to focus on sorting it out.

 

My decision is based on family reasons that require my full attention.

A TEMPLATE FOR A PROFESSIONAL RESIGNATION LETTER

With the above in mind, here is a classic template of a professional resignation letter. It has all the five elements and pays attention to the two key considerations. You can use this in a variety of situations and simply tweak it slightly to better fit your current situation.

Your contact information

 

First Last Name

Home address

City, ZIP Code

Home phone number

Email address

 

The date of the letter

 

Employer contact information

 

Name

Title

Organisation

Organisation’s address

City, ZIP code

 

Salutation

Dear Mr/Ms/Mrs Last Name

Dear Title

 

First paragraph

 

State the purpose of the letter (resignation), mention your position, and identify when the resignation becomes effective.

 

I’m writing today to give my resignation as Accounts Manager and to inform you that my last day of work will be May 16, 2017.

 

Middle paragraph

 

Explain the possible reasoning for the resignation (if appropriate) and thank the employer for the opportunities you’ve had.

 

I have enjoyed working at the company and I will miss working with the team. I’m grateful for the skills I’ve gained over the past four years and will cherish my time.

 

Final paragraph

 

Conclude by offering your assistance during the transition and offer the opportunity for further discussion.

 

If there is anything I can help to ease with the transition, don’t hesitate to ask. I can provide a quick cheat sheet for my follower or temporary replacer regarding the client list.

 

Closing marks

 

Respectfully yours

With regards

Best regards,

 

Signature

 

Handwritten or typed depending on the letter

The sentences in italics are example sentences you can use at each point of the resignation letter. You can use the template as it is or adjust it according to your situation. The key is to focus on sticking to the format above and to use the above tips as your guidance when writing your own resignation letter.

QUITTING YOUR JOB LIKE A PRO WITH A PROFESSIONAL RESIGNATION LETTER

We change our jobs for a variety of reasons. But no matter what your reasons are, you don’t want to burn bridges. Staying professional will always boost your career chances in the future – you never know who you’ll meet from your past to influence your future.
When writing a resignation letter, you want to focus on the main thing: using it to inform. It’s not about explaining, making excuses or trying to be apologetic – you’ve made your decision and now you are acting like an adult, informing your employer about it.

Stick to short, sweet and simple, keeping it polite and professional. These will guarantee your resignation letter helps you quit your job like a pro.