Sally is a business communications coach who gives workshops on how to keep your professional reputation squeaky-clean and drama-free.
Have you decided to quit your job? How do you tell your boss you're leaving? In person with a polished letter. When writing a letter of resignation, keep your letter brief and to the point. Treat your resignation letter with the same tone and formality that you would a cover letter accompanying your resume for a job application. Here’s a step-by-step outline of a resignation letter, along with some sample phrases, that can help you maintain a professional tone when you quit your job.
Keep your resignation letter short and simple.
Reminder: Your resignation letter will stay in your employee file after you've walked out the door. Make sure the letter is well written, courteous, and respectful.
Leave Your Job Gracefully
When writing a letter of resignation, keep your letter brief and to the point. Treat your resignation letter with the same tone and formality that you would a cover letter accompanying your resume for a job application.
Your resignation letter should include these four components:
- A formal salutation
- The official statement of resignation and the date you intend to leave
- A brief explanation of why you are leaving
- A closing to thank your employer for any guidance and support he or she has given you during your time with the company
Here’s a step-by-step outline of an effective resignation letter, along with some sample phrases, that can help you maintain a polished, professional tone when you quit your job.
Part 1: Salutations
Write your resignation letter on your own letterhead, never on your employer's letterhead. Include the date, followed by the name and title of your supervisor (or the person you will be submitting your resignation letter to) and the full address of your employer.
Ms. Jane Doe
Anywhere, Any State
If you are submitting your letter to a higher level supervisor that you aren’t on a first name basis with, use his or her full name plus address (Mr., Mrs., Ms., etc.). If you have had a close working relationship with the person you are giving your letter of resignation to, feel free to use his or her first name.
Your letter of resignation will be included in your employee file after you leave. Make sure that you keep it clean, optimistic and professional. You may need a reference later and when your former employer opens your file, you want to leave a trail of professional correspondence behind.
Part 2: Statement of Official Resignation
Be clear and upfront about your intentions. There is no need for you to delay telling your boss that you are quitting. Identify the date that you intend to leave, keeping in mind that for most employment contracts, you should be giving your employer at least two weeks’ notice.
Please accept this letter as two (2) weeks’ formal notice of my resignation from the employ of ABC Corporation. My final date of employment will be Month __, 20__.
If you do not need to leave your position within two weeks, you can provide the latest firm date that you must leave by. Your employer may appreciate having you on longer than two weeks to help transfer your job to a new recruit.
As of today’s date, I am formally tendering my resignation from my position as ________. I have some flexibility regarding my last day of employment but I must leave no later than May ____, 20___.
Part 3: Your Reason for Leaving
What you choose to disclose about your next career step is entirely up to you. If you are leaving for deeply personal reasons (to take care of family needs, health issues), you may choose to keep these details private. You are not obligated to tell your employer why you are leaving, however, if you wish to maintain a professional, mutually respectful relationship with your employer, it would be wise to disclose your future intentions if you are leaving to pursue other career opportunities. To move to a competitor without sharing this information could cast a negative light on your reputation.
For example, if you are moving to a competitor, you should let your employer know so that he or she can make prudent decisions about how to protect sales leads, pricing information and other proprietary information. You may simply be asked to leave immediately and given two weeks paid vacation at the employer's expense.
In sharing your reason for leaving, be clear about what you are willing to do to assist with the transition process.
While I have enjoyed working under your direction, I now have an opportunity to further develop my career in ways that are more inline with my future life aspirations. I have accepted an offer at XYZ Company.
During the next two weeks, I am willing to help you in any way necessary to make the process of filling my vacancy as easy as possible. I can assist with recruiting and training my replacement as (your job title here).
Part 4: Expressing Your Gratitude
The final part of your letter, before your closing signature, is where you should reaffirm your positive feelings and good will towards the company. Even if your experience with the company hasn’t been a bed of roses, try to find something positive to say. Remember, your letter of resignation will become part of your employee file. It's wise to leave a positive, professional paper trail after you leave.
In the eight years that I have been here at EFG Company, I am proud to have worked alongside some of the most professional workers in this sector. I will always be grateful to you for providing me with such a wonderful work experience with wonderful colleagues.
I greatly appreciate the past _____ years I have worked here with XZY and Associates. My experience here has contributed immensely to my growth and professional development as a _________. I am grateful for the substantial support and encouragement I have received from my peers, and most of all, from you and the management team.
Hold Your Hand Out and Your Head Up High
Take the time to write your resignation letter so that it shines as a positive, lasting example of your professionalism.
For further assistance, consider hiring a professional career coach or resume writer to assist you in clearly communicating who you are and what you do as you take your next steps along a blooming career path.
You've just handed in your resignation letter. Now what?
- Should You Participate in an Exit Interview When You Quit?
Are exit interviews required? When you quit your job, your boss may ask you to do an exit interview. There is a downside to doing an exit interview, so think carefully before you say agree to one.
Funny Ways to Quit Your Job (Hint: Don't do these things!)
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2012 Sally Hayes
daisyflowrs from Richmond, VA on March 17, 2012:
Well, I resigned much differently. By reading this, I'm guessing giving the finger and well, you can picture the rest, was wrong. However, I did get a standing ovation.
JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on March 15, 2012:
very concise and the examples are great. When I read resignation nltters of my employees i simply look at the reason and hope that I can provide a better workplace for the rest. Although I do have my share of rants and vulgarity. Which makes it easier for me to accept their resignation.
But I agree that leaving a company with your integrity and professionalism intact is very important.