How to Write a Resignation Letter

Posted 08/21/19 Lindsey Tanner

About Lindsey Tanner, Vaco Birmingham

As a former Big 4 public accountant, Lindsey is able to utilize her experiences and network to help her clients and candidates find solutions. When she’s not at the office, she spends her time with friends and family. She’s also actively involved in a number of non-profit organizations and finds that working alongside and playing in life with smart community-minded people is incredibly rewarding.

Here you are. You have to submit a resignation letter. You draw a blank. What is a resignation letter? Basically, a resignation letter is a formal way of quitting a job. Even if you’ve already had the conversation with your supervisor, companies often require these formal documents for human resources’ purposes. Now, how do you put these words on paper?

Writing this type of letter is like walking on a fairly flat path only to see a mountain looming ahead, knowing you have to climb it. The task itself is undoubtedly intimidating, but by following the guidelines below, you can write a professional resignation letter.

Let’s cover the basics of what to include when you’re writing your resignation letter. The following are must-haves.

  1. How long will you work? Two weeks is standard notice for most companies. But if you are working on a project or oversee a team or a division, you may want to allot more time; depending on your circumstances.
  2. Be clear. You’re resigning. Include a statement that clearly explains that you are, in fact, resigning. You don’t want to have to explain yourself further due to miscommunication.
  3. Share your personal contact information. If necessary or beneficial, include your future contact information. You may look forward to staying in touch with your colleagues, or your company may need to contact you later to sort out details of your departure. Again, it’s not necessary to include this contact info, so do what feels right for you.

Now that you know what to include, here are a few details to consider when you’re writing your resignation letter. The following are considerations.

Avoid negative comments.

A resignation letter is not intended to be a full-page rant about your negative experiences with fellow employees or the company itself. You should avoid including any negative comments about specific people, and especially don’t criticize the company! You’ll end up destroying your own self-image on your way out the door.

Always be polite and professional.

Should you still be polite if your boss was a bully? Yes, there’s no question about it. It’s never reasonable to burn bridges. Despite how difficult it may be, you should remain professional from your first to your last day working at a company. Business circles are smaller than you realize, and people make connections constantly, no matter how unusual or unexpected. Like your parents told you when you were younger, always be the bigger person, even if you are moving on to something better.

Short and sweet is ideal.

Your resignation letter isn’t the next great American novel. There’s no need to write 10,000 words to explain your situation. Be considerate of people’s time and understand that a concise letter is sufficient.

Resignation letters are not always necessary, but it’s a small gesture to show appreciation for a company. Again, clearly communicate your terms and always remain polite, professional and gracious throughout your letter, even if you’re moving onward and upward. You don’t want to leave a bitter taste after you leave!