Your resignation letter should contain three components:
- The effective date of your resignation.
- An explanation for your resignation.
- A brief mention of the positive aspects of working for your current employer.
One of the most important things to remember when creating your resignation letter is that it may be kept on file for future reference. For example, it may be used when future employers request references or in the evaluation of past performance if you re-apply for a new position with a prior employer or company.
Therefore, regardless of the reasons for your resignation, NEVER make negative statements about your company, coworkers, supervisors, bosses, owners, or policies within this letter or in any future interview situation.
The resignation letter needs to remain professional, and, if not positive, at least polite. It should act as a bridge builder, not a bridge burner. There may be lots of things you want to achieve with this letter, but getting even with a past employer or taking out your frustration on the company should not be one of them.
Do not use the company letterhead for your resignation letter. While a resignation letter may seem to fall under “official company business,” it does not. The intended use of company letterhead is to represent the company. The resignation letter is representative of you, as an individual. Your resignation does affect the company, and it may seem to be “company business,” but using stationery the company has paid for in order to tender a resignation is simply poor form.
Provide carbon copies of your resignation letter to all relevant leadership in the company. For example, if protocol requires that you submit your letter of resignation to your immediate supervisor, make sure you provide carbon copy submissions to the department lead (your supervisor’s supervisor), and the director of human resources. Also make sure you keep a copy of this resignation letter for your own records.
Note: It is typical protocol to give at least two weeks notice prior to your date of resignation, but check your company’s policies and what terms you agreed to when you were hired.
Some companies will choose to terminate an employee immediately upon resignation (regardless of what you offer), so be prepared for this. The choice to resign may or may not be an easy decision, but once you have made this decision, understand the potential consequences.
(Your letterhead containing your contact information)
April 23, 2012
John Doe, CEO of ABC Company
123 North Someplace
(Note: include a formal address even if you are hand-delivering this letter.)
Dear Mr. Doe:
It is with both regret and anticipation that I submit this letter of resignation, effective January 19, 2011.
Sample leading statements for a resignation letter include:
It is with great reluctance that I submit this letter of resignation, effective ________.
With regret and anticipation I submit this letter of resignation, effective __________.
Circumstances require that I resign my position as _______________, effective on ___________.
I have accepted a position with CDE Company, as an opportunity to further my current career goals and achieve growth within a supervisory role.
(Note: If you’re leaving this employment for reasons other than accepting a new position, you may be honest in your response, but avoid negative statements. Always refer to the positive things you are moving toward, rather than the negative things you are leaving behind.)
Other examples for cause of resignation include:
I have decided to take this time to evaluate my current goals and investigate new opportunities.
I have decided to further my education in pursuit of (a particular degree or future position).
I have decided to change the course of my current career goals and will be pursuing a new direction in ____________.
It is very important that you include some positive aspects of your time and association with this company. This is true for future interview situations, as well. For some, this can be the most difficult task. If nothing else, consider what this position has taught you, what positive skills it has allowed you to acquire, and how it has helped you determine your career path for the future.
It has been a genuine pleasure working for ABC Company during these past four years. I have enjoyed working with ABC’s fine staff of professionals, and I will miss my associations here. I wish you and ABC Company continued success in all your endeavors.
(Note: If this company is one you may need again, whether in continued work or networking, or you desire a continued allegiance, consider offering to help in the interviewing, hiring, or training of your replacement.) For example:
(Assistance for Closure:)
If I may be of any assistance in the hiring process or training of my replacement, please know that I will gladly make myself available to this effort during the next four weeks (or “until February 14th,” or “until ______”).
End your letter without closing the door on the future:
Thank you for allowing me to serve ABC Company.
Again, I wish ABC Company continued success.
(See example resignation letter – in PDF)
Upon resignation from your current employer, it may be time to collect letters of recommendation from those in authority who can attest to your skills, achievements and contributions to the organization.
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Good luck in your job search! Sue Campbell, 1st-Writer.com – over 18 years experience helping clients achieve their career and business goals. Feel free to e-mail me with any questions you may have. I’ll be glad to help!