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So you’re quitting your job. Many of us have fantasies where, at the door, we give everyone who’s injured us a piece of our mind. But of course, that’s not a good idea, given how small the world really is and you could end up meeting one of these co-workers at an event.
The only way to quit is to do it gracefully and with sophistication. And to do that, you must write a resignation letter that formalizes the process.
Some would suggest making it a practice of writing resignation letters no matter the job. Even if you’re working a part-time job, it’s a good idea to thank your co-workers and bosses, and let them know that you want to quit and when.
How do you write a fantastic resignation letter that establishes your reputation as a pro? Here’s how. But first, let’s get some things out of the way.
Email versus hard copy
You may think this is the digital age, so why not send an email? You could send an email instead of a physical letter in an old-fashioned way. But typing out a resignation letter onto a physical copy is always a better, more formal way of resigning. Plus, you can take it with you when you go to meet your boss and tell her that you’re leaving.
The paper trail may make it easier for your company during the transition process. So, we suggest you keep emails for job inquiries and stick to paper for your resignation letter.
Now, let’s take a look at what your resignation letter should and should not be.
The Elements of a Good Resignation Letter
These are a few of the things your letter must have in order to come across as professional:
Even if your letter will end up with HR, it should be addressed to your boss. If you work with them on a daily basis, you don’t have to be extremely formal and address them as Dear Mr Smith. It’s okay to start off your letter with a Dear Sam. Strictly stay away from the oddly formal To whom it may concern or an extremely informal Hey Sam.
Your letter needs to begin with your intent. Instead of beating around the bush, you need to be direct, specific and clear about what you’re doing. You’re going to leave. This is not a letter to help a counteroffer come your way. Your letter clearly needs to reflect your decision to leave. Jump into the letter with a line that clears up all ambiguity about your decision:
I resign my position as Assistant Baker.
Try not to write more than is necessary, and don’t write things like I will not be coming in after January 15.
You are not obliged to mention where you’re in the letter. If you want, you can tell your co-workers or your boss about that. But it’s one piece of information that doesn’t belong in a resignation letter, especially if you’re off to a competitor.
Your Last Day at Work
You also need to mention when your last day at work will be. You may have to give a minimum notice of two months or two weeks, depending on the policies at your workplace. You don’t want there to be any confusion about this. So, if your last date is going to be January 30, and you have to give a notice period of two weeks, then mention that date when you write your letter two weeks earlier.
Mentioning the date in the letter will help your boss start off the transition period of hiring, training and generally preparing for change.
You need to mention clearly, in unambiguous and direct words, what your last day will be.
I am leaving my position as Assistant Baker effective January 30.
There’s no need for superfluous lines like Here is my required notice as required by company policies.
Keep your Tone Professional and Graceful
Even if you’ve had a bad experience at work and don’t feel too fondly about your boss or co-workers, your resignation letter is not the place to talk about it. A simple ‘thank you’ to your co-workers and boss will keep things gracious. This is true even when you’ve had a wonderful experience and want to talk about how life-changing your time with the company was. Don’t go there. Keep your letter simple and professional. A compliment to the company is fine, in words such as,
Thank you so much for the opportunity to work with and grow as part of the kitchen at ABC Bakery.
You will have time to vent your grievances before you leave but you gain nothing by putting it all in your resignation letter.
Your Plans for Transition
A good professional resignation letter will also contain a salve to let the company know that you’re not leaving them in the lurch. Clearly mention your availability to help during the transition period. Don’t say things like, I will be available to train a replacement. That is too vague. Be clear, as in
Over the next two weeks, I would like to work with you on any necessary transition duties while I wrap up my time here.
Don’t say anything vague. And don’t say that you’re going to be too busy to help the company transition. That will be unprofessional and possibly come back to haunt you later when you need a letter of reference from your employer.
Finally, end your letter with a simple, professional ending such as Sincerely, or Best Regards. There is no need to go over-the-top with sentimental or overly formal sign-offs.
Here’s an example of a good resignation letter to set you off on your new journey as you wrap up your old one.
Please accept this letter as notice of my resignation as Assistant Baker. My last day at the office will be January 30.
Working here has been a wonderful opportunity and it was a difficult decision to leave to pursue another opportunity. Thank you for playing the role of boss and mentor for the last five years that I’ve called this company home. I have learned a lot here, and know that the company will continue to grow and prosper.
In the two months that I am here, I would like to help you with training or any necessary transition duties as I wrap up here.
Thanks again for the opportunity to be a part of this team!
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“People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed. Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can even become a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
— Tony Robbins