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Writing a Resignation Letter the Right Way to Avoid Burning Bridges

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Crafting a proper resignation letter means maintaining good relationships and not burning professional bridges. This is essential as you grow and progress in your career.

Here’s everything you need to know about writing a resignation letter, including sample text you can copy directly.

The Basics of Writing a Resignation Letter

Firstly, make sure you speak with your manager directly before submitting your letter of resignation. Although technically not required, doing so is considered professional courtesy; this helps avoid any ill will. 

When you speak with your manager, tell them verbally why you’ll be writing a resignation letter and when you plan to depart from your current role.

Plan on including this basic information in your employment resignation letter such as:

  • Date, so your company has a formal record of how much notice you provided
  • Name of the addressee 
  • Statement of gratitude – express why you’ve enjoyed your time at this company
  • Next steps and your promise to help with the transition
  • Departure date
  • Signature with personal contact information for questions that arise post-departure

If we had to sum up writing a resignation letter in a sentence, it would emphasize the importance of being grateful, humble, and offering to help with the transition in any way possible.

What to Leave Out of Your Letter of Resignation

There may be more resignation letter “don’t’s” than there are “do’s”. Make sure to leave the following out of your resignation letter.

Money

When writing your resignation letter, there’s zero reason to mention a better salary or anything financial. 

If you’re hoping to remain at your current company and use a new offer as leverage (check out our guide on counter offers), meet with your manager and discuss privately. Make sure you’re willing to accept the other offer if your manager can’t budge. Avoid springing this on your boss in the resignation letter.

Negative Personal Feelings

Did you hate your job? Your boss? Your coworkers? They don’t need to know that. Leave critical personal feelings out of your resignation letter – you’re leaving anyway, so you want to do your best to maintain these professional relationships. Don’t criticize – or even imply criticism – onto your coworkers, boss, subordinates, or anyone else. 

Justification

Although it may be tempting, you shouldn’t justify why you’re leaving in your employment resignation letter. It’s your right to quit a job whenever you want, and explaining your departure makes you appear to lack confidence. Be firm in your resolve, and don’t justify why you’re leaving.

Typos

When writing your resignation letter, proofread multiple times, as you would with any professional communication. You want this letter to come across well, and submitting one riddled with typos won’t help your case.

Writing a Resignation Letter: The Detailed Breakdown

Part 1: The Formal Intro

Start with a tried and true intro paragraph. This should be short and to the point, and there’s no need to get creative. Use some iteration of this (or copy it directly):

Dear [Boss’ First Name]

Please accept this letter as my formal resignation from [Your Position] at [Company Name]. My last day will be [Month, Date, Year – usually two weeks from when you submit this notice].

Again, don’t get fancy here. Include your position, company name, and final date.

Part 2: Express Gratitude

Remember that your main goal when writing a resignation letter is to remain thankful and humble. Express your gratitude succinctly.

I want to express my deepest thanks for the opportunity to work at [Company]. I’ve learned a lot in this position and appreciate the opportunities I’ve been given [feel free to list specific ones here]. All of this will stay with me throughout my career.

Part 3: Offer to Help with the Transition

Quitting your job can leave your coworkers and company scrambling if the transition is not handled correctly. This is incredibly stressful for those you’re leaving behind, so make clear to everyone that you won’t leave them high and dry. Offer to help however you can.

Before my departure, I’ll make sure to complete or hand off all outstanding projects. I’d be happy to assist in this transition however I can to ensure it’s as smooth as possible. Please let me know how I can best help during my final two weeks. 

Part 4: Sign Off

This is the easiest part! You can immediately sign your name and insert contact information, or you can end with a concluding thought.

I wish you all continued success, and I hope to keep in touch.

Sincerely,

[Your Signature]

[Printed Name + Contact Info]

Here are some more simple resignation letter samples you can draw from.

Essential Tips for Writing a Resignation Letter

Tip 1: Stay Positive

When writing a resignation letter, make sure its tone remains positive. No matter why you choose to resign, you should do your best to depart on good terms, and staying positive will help.

Tip 2: Consider Staying in Touch

Building a professional network is essential throughout all phases of your career. This is a large reason why you want to stay positive and not air dirty laundry during the resignation process. Consider taking this one step further by mentioning that you’d like to keep in touch in your letter of resignation.

Tip 3: Prepare for Immediate Departure

Although somewhat uncommon, it’s not unheard of for an employer to ask you to leave the day you submit your letter. If you’re starting a role elsewhere, prepare for this and accommodate gaps between positions (meaning no pay).

Also, pay attention to your team and your projects and assess what would happen if you left suddenly.

Tip 4: Deliver Your Letter In Person

If you’re working 100% remotely, this won’t apply. However, if you have the chance, deliver your letter in person. This is more personal and takes a bit more courage, both of which will be appreciated. 

Want to Resign, but Not Sure Where to Go Next?

You may be at the point of deciding to resign but aren’t sure where to go next. That can be a scary place, but don’t fear! We can help.

Are you in a senior leadership position and looking to resign? We have decades of experience matching senior leadership talent with their ideal company. If you want some guidance figuring out your next role, contact Jennings Executive

Related: Video Conference Etiquette: Use These 8 Tips to Avoid Getting Fired for Improper Conduct

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