Writing a resignation letter

Your job search has been successful and it’s time to move on, so how do you say goodbye?

Writing a resignation letter

You may have hated your old job, disliked the boss and had a hard time with your colleagues and you wouldn’t be human if you weren’t a little bit tempted to even the score, but the measure of a professional is how you behave when the chips are down.

We’ve put together a few tips on how you should structure a letter of resignation to help you through what can be a difficult time for people on both sides of the fence.

Have an informal conversation - Nobody likes surprises and dropping a letter on the desk of your immediate line manager’s desk could fairly be described as a bit of a shock so prepare the ground and let them know in advance.

Get the format right - Depending upon the policy of your organisation you’ll need to address your letter to your immediate superior, head of department or to the HR department and you should write it in a neutral business format, typed on plain white A4 in a simple font as it’s likely your letter will be scanned into a system.

Remember your HR file - your letter will be placed on record and whilst that objectionable supervisor may leave in a few months your HR file will always be around. Keeping it amiable and cooperative will be useful if you ever find an opportunity opening up later on so don’t be tempted to burn any bridges.

Keep it simple - There’s no need to be curt but include the important information and save the background for conversations. You aren’t required to give a reason for leaving but if you do then make sure it’s a positive one and most certainly not a personal attack.

Things to include – make sure you have the obvious things such as your name and home address, but also your job title, department and for the larger organisations a payroll or staff number. You may wish to check your company notice period policy and then state what you expect your final day at work to be so that there are no misunderstandings.

Mention the future – part of the professional way of leaving an organisation is to make sure that the handover process goes smoothly. Ensure you give your soon to be former employer as much time as you can and state your commitment to ensuring an effective handover process. If you have a particularly complicated and long term role or are part of a project then it may be appropriate to offer back up after you leave although this is very much personal preference.

Leaving an organisation is often a traumatic time for those involved. Being professional and cooperative will make the whole process a lot easier for all concerned and in the short term may cause your former employer to consider a counteroffer and in the medium term may open other doors back in the old firm later on.

Remember it's a small world and the managers you're leaving today could be part of your future somewhere or some time in the future.


No comments posted on this content.