What should I include in my resignation letter?
Whether you can't wait to escape the clutches of your current employer, or will genuinely be sad to leave, writing a resignation letter is a key career tool. Get it wrong and you could leave with bad feelings – you never know when your paths may cross again.
Putting pen to paper
Even if you verbally hand in your notice, you must formalise it with a letter. This is a great opportunity for you to maintain a positive relationship with your soon-to-be ex-employer, and explain your reasons in a clear and rational way.
Begin as you would any other formal latter, suitably addressed and dated. People leave their jobs for different reasons so get to the point at the beginning of your letter. Explain your intention to resign along with a brief explanation of your reasons for leaving.
It's best to keep this to the one main reason – you're employer doesn't want to read through a long list of why you hated your job so much. If it's a combination of factors, try and stick to whichever is most poignant.
State the date that you believe will be your official leaving date which can be calculated by looking at the notice period stated in your contract. Typically it will be a month but could be much longer for senior positions.
Also state your willingness to work your full notice period. It's not your decision whether you will have the luxury of ‘greenlining leave' or not and any negotiation on leaving earlier than your official notice should be done verbally.
If you are leaving in good circumstances then it is a good idea to thank your boss for the opportunities that they presented to you or for the experience gained whilst working for the company. After all, you may need to get a reference from them.
Even if you are leaving under a cloud, resist the temptation to bad mouth and let off steam. Remember the old adage, ‘don't burn your bridges'.
Handle your resignation letter like you would any business document – professionally. Make sure you leave behind a lasting positive impression of yourself. Unless you want to undo everything that you have accomplished since you first started in this job, your departure must be as deliberate as your arrival.