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How to Write an Appropriate Resignation Letter

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 8 Nov 2021

Letter of resignation Hero Image

A Microsoft survey (2021) of more than 30,000 global workers showed that 41% of workers were considering quitting or changing professions this year. Some economists have called it the Great Resignation. The pandemic may have forced you to leave your past job, or you may feel like after a lot of time off, or stuck doing the same thing, you’re just not satisfied with your job anymore. This April alone, more than 4 million people quit their jobs (BBC, July 2021), which became the biggest spike on record.

Are you thinking about leaving your current role and finding one better suited to you? For whatever reason you are restarting your job search, you’ll need a resignation letter.

Why are you resigning?

A lot of workers are leaving their job because of how their employers treated them during the pandemic, some had a positive experience where their employer did everything in their power to help them as employees and others, got left with the short end of the stick. There are also people that may have found a different passion during lockdown, with all the extra spare time, they were given the opportunity to explore different things. So why are you thinking of leaving your role?

Whatever reason you have for resigning, it is relevant. Everyone deserves to feel like they have room to grow in their job, has the right to feel taken care of by their employer and has the right to be happy in what they do. So, think about why you are handing in your resignation and if you think it has a place, let your manager know. You shouldn’t have to leave your job on bad terms and giving honest feedback might be a good way to end things. Plus, having a reason can help drive you to find the job you really want, so use it as motivation.

Your resignation letter

When writing a resignation letter, you should stick to the basics. Try and keep it simple and professional, keeping the process as easy as possible for you. The basic elements that should be included start with your name and address. The date is another important aspect, your employer should know the exact date you have handed in the letter, often for HR or filing reasons. You should know your notice period, if not, check your contract for these details to ensure you can highlight them in the letter. Give them your final date of work, keeping in line with your notice and keep this as a reference. Finally, a signature. If you have sent this online, make sure you are adding an electronic signature, it is much more professional that just signing your name.

The template should be simple but if you are struggling or this is your first time writing one, there are loads of examples and templates available online for you to use. As long as it is laid out correctly, not cluttered, and easy to read, you can’t go wrong. If you include all of the above, you will be able to produce a professional and visually appealing letter.

What to include in your resignation letter?

  • Paragraph 1: It’s important to get to the point. State that you are resigning from your current job post and include the date in which your contract will end, using the notice period stated in your contract. You will also want to make a note of the date in which your resignation will be effective.
  • Paragraph 2: If you feel comfortable and feel like it is relevant, you can state the reason why you have chosen to leave the role. (Leaving for a new job, career break etc) However, you don’t have to add this if you would prefer not to. When you are giving your reasoning, make sure you stay positive. Don’t include anything negative or impolite in your letter. If you want, you can discuss this at a later point with your manager.
  • Paragraph 3: Make it clear that you will try to make the transition as easy as possible. You are still working for your employer and should always put in 100%. So, unless you have reasons for being unavailable, let them know you are willing to help the new starter or prepare handover notes.
  • Paragraph 4:  Thank your manager for the opportunity to work for the company. If you have positive things to say, feel free. However, if your experience with the employer was negative, keep these out of your letter.

Of course, all of these ideas are optional and if you feel like they don’t say what you want to put across, try something your own way.

Remain polite

Whether you are leaving for a negative reason or not, make sure that the letters tone remains polite throughout. It can be extremely unprofessional if you are taking all your negative thoughts and feeding them into your resignation letter. It is probably in your best interest to try and remain unbiased and don’t destroy any ties you may have at the company. Being negative can only bring more negativity. If you do have any concerns or a negative reason as to why you are leaving, make sure you bring it up with the correct person. It can damage your career if you were to put any personal criticism in your resignation letter. Try and avoid it at all costs.

Short and sweet

The length of your resignation letter is something that some people may struggle with. Some employees may feel like they have to include every little detail on why they are leaving. This is unnecessary and can cause the letter to feel a bit lengthy. Try not to overdo it and keep it short and sweet.

What’s next?

When you hand in your resignation letter is up to you. However, it is probably best to wait until you have a confirmed job offer, if you are job-seeking. This means that when your notice period is over, you aren’t left without a job. Although, if you feel like it is your time to leave, then that is your decision. So, what do you do now? – You continue your job, as you were. It can have negative effects if you were to treat your notice period as time to relax. Just enjoy your notice period and make sure you are getting ready for your next job!