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Leave a Lasting Impression: Resignation Letter 101
Deb Ward / MAY 26 2021
Summary

So, you found another job and you’re ready to move on. Now what? How do you resign in a positive and professional manner so you don’t burn any bridges and can hope for a good reference and to leave on good terms?  You never know when you’ll be working with some of the same people again in the future. It’s worth spending some time to polish your resignation letter, give the appropriate notice, and set the tone for your remaining time in this job.

Writing the resignation letter: First of all, it doesn’t need to be a long letter… just state the basics in your first paragraph, There’s no need to go into the reasons you’re leaving, just list the position you’re resigning from and the effective date. Keep it simple.

Next, you should include a short paragraph thanking your employer for the opportunity and maybe list a few key things you’ve enjoyed or learned on the job. Remember, you may need these people later on for a good reference and you want to leave a positive impression.

Close by stating your willingness to help with the transition of training other team members if needed and to do whatever is required to show you’re still supporting your colleagues until the very end.

Here’s a sample letter showing you how to put it all together:

August 7, 2020

Mr. James Smith, Manager

XYZ Hotel and Resort

2465 Main Street

Any town, USA 44123

Dear Mr. Smith,

Please accept this letter as notice that I will be resigning from my job as Front Desk Manager at XYZ Hotel and Resort two weeks from today’s date. My final day will be August 21st.

Thank you for the support and the opportunities you have provided me over the course of the last six years. You and our team have created a climate that makes it a pleasure to come to work each morning and serve our guests. I will miss you all.

If I can do anything to help with the transition to finding and training my replacement, please let me know.

Sincerely,

Karen Jones

Feel free to adjust this letter a bit to match your own experience and job title. It will formalize the details of your departure in a professional and positive way. You may also want to include your personal contact information so the company can easily get in touch with you if need be.

What NOT to include in your letter: This isn’t the place to express your complaints or critiques of any co-workers or your boss. Keep it simple and stick to the facts. 

Mentioning a better salary as the reason you’re leaving is not a good idea, either. Any salary negotiation should be discussed directly with your manager. 

There’s also no need to brag about your new position in terms of salary, benefits, perks, or prestige.

Of course, no inappropriate or overly emotional language should be used.

Finally, having a negative tone (however veiled or subtle) to your letter may be perceived as you being a disgruntled employee with an attitude problem. The key is to remain diplomatic and not turn your letter into a list of grievances.

Best practices for your resignation:

  • Talk to your manager first. If possible, do it in person and inform him/her about your decision to resign before you submit your letter. This is a professional courtesy so he/she won’t be caught off-guard. Gain agreement about how the team will be told.
  • Your resignation letter is a professional and appropriate way to terminate your employment. It helps you leave on the best possible terms and formalizes the details of your departure.
  • Be sure to provide the proper amount of notice to your boss. Before you write the letter, review the company policy and give the exact amount of notice or more than required. State the exact date of your last day.
  • When you speak to your boss about resigning, offer a transition plan. Other team members will need to cover your work and may need some training or some written instructions about what you do.
  • Give your manager a short explanation about why you’re leaving. You can mention you’ve found another opportunity elsewhere, you’re moving away or you’re going back to school.
  • Express gratitude for the opportunity and an appreciation of what you’ve learned. 
  • Work hard until your very last day.  Be positive. Help your colleagues understand your projects and assist in the transition.
  • Stay in touch. You never know when your colleagues or manager will reappear in your future. It doesn’t hurt to keep in touch, even if it’s once a year with a card or phone call.

In any case, quitting your job can feel awkward and uncomfortable. You need a clear plan so you can depart gracefully and professionally. Use these tips to exit the right way with class and gratitude.