Ready to Quit Your Job? Here’s What to Include in Your Resignation Letter

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The Great Resignation” has been dominating the news as of late, but the decision to leave your job is a significant one at any time. Crafting a respectful resignation letter and showing class during your departure saves you from going out on a sour note — and makes you look professional as well as trustworthy.

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According to Entrepreneur.com, there are a few must-dos when it comes to the contents and intent of your resignation letter. A well-crafted resignation letter allows you to leave the situation with closure and a sense of respect and amicability.

The resignation letter is more than a formality. It is an official document informing of your resignation, the details of your departure and a record of your employment with the company.

What you shouldn’t do within such a letter is easy to detail. Don’t provide complaints, critiques or venting of frustrations about the job. Being negative only makes you look petty. You may meet someone down the road who remembers you solely for the way you conducted yourself during a past resignation. You may also need a good reference from your employer.   

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There are countless searchable templates that can help you formulate the look of your actual letter — and some common-sense essentials you should include within it (date and statement of resignation, signature, etc.). As far as decorum and purpose are concerned, here are some tips for your letter of resignation.

1. Deliver the letter in person if possible.

Like a break-up, filing your resignation is something that should be done in person. Scheduling a meeting to discuss and deliver your resignation is appreciated by all parties. If you are working virtually, schedule a video chat and then send off the letter immediately afterwards.

2. Give your last date of employment (but plan for immediate departure).

Two weeks’ notice from your resignation announcement is the standard amount of time given to management to allow for your departure. It allows ample time for the company to fill your vacated role and it shows you aren’t willing to leave your colleagues in a complete bind. Often, your employer will be fine with your chosen end date, but don’t be surprised if you’re asked to leave immediately. It might be company policy (or sour grapes) but plan accordingly for the possibility that your resignation day turns out to be your last workday, too.   

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3. Show gratitude and keep it positive.

Always aim to part on good terms and maintain professionalism in your letter and during the resignation process. Being positive reflects well on you in the moment and in the future, regardless of the reasons you’re leaving. Always show decorum and respect, and go out of your way to thank your supervisors (and anyone else that has helped you during your time at work).

4. Offer to help with next steps.

Your manager might ask you to help with a transition plan when you leave. You should always offer to help with recruiting or training a replacement, or to finish up any outstanding work or projects (within reason). Your soon-to-be-former employer will likely be grateful that you helped right up to the end, rather than “phoning it in” during your last days with the company. The offer alone may be a smart gesture of professionalism and cooperation.

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5. If a reason for leaving is helpful to the company, share it.

You are under no obligation for sharing the reasons you are leaving a company, especially if they are of a sensitive nature. However, companies generally want feedback from their employees, and are keen on knowing what they can do to improve retention.

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About the Author

David Nadelle is a freelance editor and writer based in Ottawa, Canada. After working in the energy industry for 18 years, he decided to change careers in 2016 and concentrate full-time on all aspects of writing. He recently completed a technical communication diploma and holds previous university degrees in journalism, sociology and criminology. David has covered a wide variety of financial and lifestyle topics for numerous publications and has experience copywriting for the retail industry.

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