Amid the excitement of preparing for a new role, drafting a resignation letter may seem like just one more hurdle to cross before you can move onto the next stage of your career.
However, like every aspect of resigning, it is important to maintain a professional approach. If you're not sure on what to say in a resignation letter, here are the overview tips to remember:
- Date your letter
- Address it to the appropriate person
- Explain your intent to resign and last day of employment
- Offer assistance to train a replacement
- Finish on a positive note
How to write a resignation letter - a template guide
The key to writing a professional resignation letter is to remain diplomatic.
Don’t turn your resignation letter into a list of grievances. You may want to work for the company again at some stage, or you could cross paths professionally with your current boss further down the track. At the very least, you may need your employer to provide a reference for you. So keep your letter positive and tactful.
Bear in mind, your resignation letter should follow up to a face-to-face meeting with your manager. So draft the main points of your letter in advance but wait until you have had a conversation with your manager to fine-tune the wording so that it reflects the main points of your conversation.
What your resignation letter should include
Your resignation letter doesn’t have to be long or complicated but some aspects should be standard. Date your letter the day you hand it to your manager. This will provide written evidence of how much formal notice you have given the company.
Ensure the letter is addressed to the appropriate person, and keep the opening paragraph short and to the point. Explain your intention to resign and the date of your last day with the company. This can help jolt your manager’s memory when plans are being made to find your replacement.
Extend an offer of support
Make it clear in your letter that you are willing to assist with training your replacement and preparing your team for your exit. Explain that you will aim to complete your current tasks before you leave and provide key information in writing about contacts or dates when regular tasks such as reconciling statements or performing account rollovers need to be completed. Take a look at our resignation letter example below to see how this can be done.
Note your appreciation in writing
Even though you may not always have enjoyed positive experiences in your current role, it’s likely your employer has invested time and money training you for the position. This makes it courteous to thank your manager for the opportunities you’ve been given.
No job is smooth sailing all the time, and it can help to think back to some of the best times with the company to set the tone of your thank you. It’s all part of adopting a professional approach to your resignation letter and leaving behind a good impression.
What not to say in a resignation letter
It’s likely your employer will store your resignation letter with other employee files, and it may be referred to in the future if another company requests a reference. This being the case, a poorly written or overly critical resignation letter has the potential to impact your career long after you’ve moved on from your current job.
So keep things short and concise, and stick to the basics. As our resignation letter template demonstrates, it isn’t necessary to explain why you are leaving, nor is it the place to vent about the downsides of the job, your colleagues or the company.
Keep the tone positive and professional, and your resignation letter can’t work against you at any point in the future.
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Resignation letter template example
Dear (Manager’s name)
Please accept this letter as formal notification of my resignation from (Company name). My last day with the company will be (date).
Before I leave, I will ensure that all my projects are completed as far as possible, and I am happy to assist in any way to ensure a smooth handover to my replacement.
I would like to thank you for the opportunity to work at (company) for (years of service). During this time I have thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere within the team and I will miss our interactions.
While I am excited by the new opportunities that I will be pursuing, I will always remember my time at (company name) with affection. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need further information after I leave, and I would be delighted if you stay in touch.
(Your printed name)