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What to Include in Your Resignation Letter

Posted on Nov 19, 2021

A resignation letter is the most professional and appropriate way to officially terminate your employment. Using proper resignation etiquette will help you to leave your job on the best possible terms. 

You want to ensure that you maintain good relations with your soon-to-be former employer. This is important because you might wish to utilise them as a reference in future and you also don’t want them to damage your reputation within your industry.

What to Include

Short Explanation

You need to give a succinct explanation of why you’re leaving. You can mention reasons, like the fact you’ve found a new opportunity elsewhere, or you’re returning to study or relocating. Don’t include negatives about your manager, colleagues or the company. Even if you have been feeling frustrated and have grievances you want to air, it’s important to keep your letter professional so that you don’t burn bridges. 

Correct Termination Notice

There is a standard two-week notice period however it’s important not to assume this is the amount of time you’re required to give. Check your contract and ensure that you give your current employer the exact amount of notice required or more. Your letter should specify your exact finish date.

Gratitude

Expressing gratitude can be a challenging one if you’re leaving because of systemic issues or a difficult boss. However, it will put you in good stead to include a brief reflection on the positives of your experience working at the company, such as by mentioning the skills you’ve learned and opportunities you’ve had.

Transition plan

It’s a good idea to include a document with your letter that outlines the work you’ll be completing up till your final day and the work that will need to be reassigned after.

Resignation Etiquette Tips

  1. Talk to your direct boss first. It is ideal to first arrange a meeting with your direct boss so you can resign in-person before giving them your resignation letter. This is a professional courtesy and might also be a good opportunity for you to ask for a reference.
  2. Be professional. It’s important to keep in mind the formality of your resignation letter and make sure you use the appropriate language. Keeping your language polite and professional will help ensure that your letter is well received.
  3. Keep it short and simple. Stay on topic!  You may feel inclined to expand on your reasons for leaving but your resignation letter is not the right format for doing so. There will be a few key          points that are necessary but anything beyond this should be saved for the exit interview or other discussions.
  4. Use a business letter format. This formal format shows that it’s an official document but it also serves the purpose of including your current personal contact information so that your current employer has it on file should they need it in future.
     
  5. Proofread it and keep a copy. It’s important to carefully proofread your letter to ensure there aren’t any errors, especially around details such as the date you will be finishing. For example, it could be potentially damaging to your relationship if you need to leave earlier than the date you specified on your resignation letter.

Below is the resignation template we use. Referencing this along with the above information should help you to feel confident that your resignation letter is professional, polite and follows the correct procedure.