When you leave a job, for whatever reason, you don’t want to burn bridges. You never know when you may need to use the company as a reference, or if you’ll need to return to it one day. If you were in a bad work situation, keeping your letter of resignation diplomatic can be tricky. Here is how to write such a letter and a sample to help you get started.
Addressing the Letter
Addressing the letter properly is essential and looks professional. First list your name, address, telephone number, email, and, if applicable, your employee number and position. Follow this information with the date. Finally, include your employer's name, title, the company's name, and the company's address followed by two blank lines before the main body of the letter. Begin the letter with “Dear Mr./Ms. _____.”
Writing the Body of the Letter
- The First Paragraph
The first thing to include in the body of the letter is a statement saying you are resigning and the effective date of your resignation. The minimum amount of time you should give your employer before leaving is two weeks, but this length of time can depend on company policy. Check your employment contract to verify how many weeks in advance you need to give notice. You should never leave your employer in a bind.
- The Second Paragraph
The second paragraph should express your appreciation for the opportunities and experiences the company has provided. Here, you can describe some of the key things that impacted you while working there, including some of the colleagues you enjoyed working with. This letter is not the place to bring up grudges. Never mention mishaps during your resignation letter. Keep in mind that you need a reference from this company down the line.
- The Third Paragraph
In the third paragraph, explain that you will do anything you can to help ease the transition, but don’t make promises you cannot keep. Generally, you should offer to train the next employee if possible, but you need to allow enough time to train him or her before resigning. At this point, you should also ensure your employer that you will wrap up any outstanding projects or duties left to you.
Sample Letter of Resignation
[Your Telephone Number]
[Your Email Address]
Dear Mr./Ms. [Supervisor’s Last Name],
Please accept this letter as a formal resignation from [Company Name] effective as of [Effective Date]. I am giving you one month’s notice to ensure a smooth transition and completion of all goals and projects, as well as ease things for [Company Name].
I would like to thank you for the opportunities and experiences I have gained while working for [Company Name] over the years. I appreciated working with my colleagues and supervisors and will miss them after my departure.
Please let me know if there is anything I can do to further assist in the transition to a new employee in my position.
- Don’t slack off while you are still working for the company.
- Finish all projects and duties before you leave.
- Try to resign at the end of a pay or commission period to make things easier for you and your employer.
- Don’t make promises you cannot keep before your departure.
- Handle things professionally—your human resources manager will be impressed and will be more likely to give you a positive reference.
- Be sure to thank everyone you’ve worked with, even if there are certain people you were less-than-happy to work with.
- Before you resign, review any agreements you signed. Check for binding agreements and non-compete clauses.