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HOW TO WRITE A RESIGNATION LETTER

A resignation letter is formally advisers an employer that you are leaving your job and states when you plan to depart. It’s typically written to notify someone in human resources or your superior that you intent to leave and gives advance notice so that the company can start the process of looking for your replacement.

The intention of a polite and courteous letter of resignation is to maintain a positive relationship with your employer so that you leave on a good footing. It’s not an opportunity to vent your frustrations or criticise the company if you’re leaving because you’re unhappy in your position.

You will need a letter of recommendation or a reference letter from your employer so keep in his/her good books. Keep your resignation short and to the point; all they need to know is you are leaving and when you will be leaving. Be professional and gracious.

What information is included in a resignation letter?

A resignation letter typically covers the following:

  • your intention to leave
  • the last day you will work
  • a request to terminate your employment early if necessary
  • a short explanation of why you are leaving and where you are going
  • gracious thanks for the support and opportunities you’ve received

Remember to date your letter of resignation, and provide a forwarding address for the Human Resources department in case they need to contact you regarding your pension payout etc.

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Tips for writing a professional resignation letter

Keep your letter short and to the point. Don’t waffle in the letter; you’ll have an opportunity to speak to your boss or HR after you’ve resigned to explain why you’re leaving and where you’re going.

Be gracious and professional. Reign in any hard feelings and get through the last 2 or 4 weeks without badmouthing or criticising your boss or the company. Make sure you keep the door open in case you ever want to come back to the job.

Remember, you need your boss or HR to write you a reference letter or letter of recommendation. Be polite and professional, and they should write a good letter for you.

Never write a resignation letter in haste or in anger; take a day or evening to think carefully about the consequences of resigning. Preferably, never resign from one job without having another one lined up.

Show your appreciation for the support and opportunities you received; take the high ground even if you are unhappy or disgruntled.

Hand deliver your letter of resignation. If you have to leave it on your boss’s desk, return later to make sure he’s read it and accepts your resignation. Only resign by email if you are located in a different office from your supervisor or HR.

Give a copy of your resignation letter to someone in HR. There’s a process involved in terminating a person’s employment and HR will need notice to get documents signed.

What to do and not do after resigning

Do…
  • clean out your computer and your desk
  • leave behind what doesn’t belong to you
  • write notes or provide detailed information for a handover
  • be gracious and show your appreciation to the people who have supported you and may be disappointed that you’re leaving
Don’t…
  • bad mouth your supervisor or employee
  • slack off and misbehave in your resignation period; last impressions are lasting impressions
  • brag about your new job to your employees
  • leave without saying goodbye
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