Thinking about quitting your job? Then you’ll want to be sure to do it the right way, and by that we mean without burning bridges. People leave their jobs every day for a myriad of reasons, and yours might be as simple as moving to a new state or even just looking for better career growth.
Whatever your reason for moving on, you’ll want to spend some time crafting a professional resignation letter for your employer before leaving your job. These letters not only help ensure that everyone is on the same page, but will also make it easier for you to leave on good terms.
10 Tips for Writing A Resignation Letter
Ready to learn how to craft the perfect resignation letter before you toss in the proverbial work towel? Keep reading.
1. Be Very Sure
This might sound obvious, but the first step in crafting a killer resignation letter (also sometimes called a notice letter) is making sure that you’re 100% about wanting to leave your job. Take a minute to go over all the reasons you’re quitting, and make sure these aren’t minor things you’ll change your mind about later on.
You should also consider what you’ll do after you quit, and begin looking for new job opportunities if you haven’t yet. While turnover (aka people leaving their jobs) is expected in any company, it’s also disruptive — both to your manager and team, as well as to your own personal lifestyle. So before you put anything down on paper make sure you’re serious about it.
2. Lay Out the Terms of Your Resignation
Once you’ve made the decision to resign, it’s time to lay out the terms of how you’ll do it. These things should be included in your letter, but it helps to figure out the details of quitting your job before you start formally writing them. Start by picking a last day for your work, and make note of any other important details like how you’ll work until then, what projects you’ll finish, and if you’re willing (or able) to help find a replacement for your position. A lot of these things will depend on both your role and reason for leaving, but having them worked out and ready to hand over to your boss will be hugely helpful as you both work through this transition period.
3. Decide How Much Notice to Give
This step happens almost simultaneously with the last, but it’s important enough to warrant its own shoutout. Deciding how much notice to give is both a matter of respect, and principle. Depending on why you’re leaving the company (and assuming it’s on good terms), standard practice is to give at least two weeks’ notice to your employer. If you really like your company or manager, and you think they’ll handle the news well, you might even choose to give more notice — like a month.
The more notice you can give, the better. Just know that anything less than two weeks will make it seem like your departure is urgent. If it is, then that’s just fine. But if you can manage to give them at least those two weeks, it will both look better and increase your chances of leaving on good terms.
4. Include a Reason for Resignation (or Not)
Another thing to consider including in your letter is the reason for your resignation. Again, depending on what that is. If you’re leaving because your manager is a jerk, this probably isn’t something you want to include in a letter. You should feel comfortable sharing that you’re leaving for a new job opportunity at XYZ Co. or because you want to take time off. Keep in mind that no matter what your answer is for leaving (and regardless of whether you include it in your letter), chances are someone will ask you about it. Be prepared to answer this question as honestly as you can, or come up with something else to say that you are comfortable sharing.
5. Ask Questions
While the point of resignation letters is ultimately to share the terms of your resignation, it’s also a good place to ask any lingering questions you may have. Again, a resignation letter can serve as a roadmap for both you and your employer to navigate this transition. If you have questions about things like your benefits, last paycheck or even any company equipment you currently own now’s the time to get those questions answered. By presenting your employer with this list of questions in your letter, it will help ensure that everything is addressed before your departure, and that nothing important gets forgotten.
6. Thank Your Employer
If you’ve genuinely enjoyed working with your current company or manager, a resignation letter is also a great place to thank them. You might consider including this toward the end of your letter after addressing all the knitty gritty details of your departure.
Whether you’re grateful for the opportunity, the experience, or even just the camaraderie of your coworkers, this is a nice occasion to pay a compliment to your boss and thank them. Not only will this help you to leave on good terms, but it will also keep your resignation feeling professional, rather than personal.
7. Include Contact Information
If you plan on moving for your new job, or changing your email address or phone number, it’s a good idea to include the new contact information. Even if nothing will change, consider including your personal email or cell phone number somewhere in the body of the letter or at the bottom under your signature. This will help your coworkers get in touch with you for any questions they may have, and will also help HR and payroll to ensure your final payments and benefits continue without issue.
8. Avoid Burning Bridges
No matter your reason for quitting, it’s never a good idea to burn bridges. Maybe you worked with a bad apple, or you were the unfortunate victim of unfair or lousy company policies. Just remember that even toxic workplaces have good people, and it’s always good to leave on professional terms.
If you had a serious problem with one of your coworkers, take the time to find the right person to report it to. Maybe that’s your manager, or even someone from HR. But do your best to keep any workplace drama or bad feelings out of your letter. It’s a small world, and depending on your industry it’s highly possible that you will cross paths with some coworkers again. Keep your head up, and your letter strictly professional.
9. Don’t Forget about Your Co-workers
While resignation letters are typically for management, you’ll want to take some time to craft a little something for your team members as well. Nothing’s worse than getting ghosted by a colleague, especially if it’s someone you’ve worked with closely for any length of time. Once you’ve hammered out the details of your resignation, and sent your formal letter to management, take a minute to craft an email to your coworkers. Thank them, wish them well, and leave your personal contact info in case they want to be in touch with you later.
10. Get Writing!
With all of these tips in mind, it’s time to actually start writing. Take it from someone who does a lot of this — there’s nothing worse than a blank page. Start by jotting down your ideas, and don’t be too hard on yourself. Once you have a draft of your letter, ask a friend you trust (ideally not a co-worker) to proofread it for you.
Most of all? Don’t overthink it. Chances are your manager has gotten these letters before, and no one will be scrutinizing your word choice or writing a review of your letter in the New York Times. The important thing is that you write the letter, address the big points, and move on. Your employer will appreciate the effort, and having the details of your resignation in hand will help make the transition easier.
Larissa Runkle is a contributor to Codetic.