The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Resignation Letter | Top Executive Recruiters

      The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Resignation Letter

      When it comes time to leave a position you’ve held for several years, you may wonder whether you need to write a resignation letter. After all, you’ve likely already told your boss and colleagues you’re leaving. So, is there any reason you need to document your transition further?

      Writing a resignation letter isn’t like writing a cover letter. It’s different because it solidifies your decision and ensures that there isn’t any miscommunication between you and your company. Below are several reasons why you should write a resignation letter and how to make sure that your letter covers what you want to communicate.

      Breaking Your Resignation to Your Boss

      If you’ve decided to leave your role in a company, you’ll want to speak with your boss. They shouldn’t find out you’re leaving via email or written note; instead, schedule time to talk to them. If you’re working remotely, you can schedule a video call. If you’re in the office, try to find time to speak in person.

      Unless your boss knew you were looking for other positions, the news that you are leaving might take them by surprise. Make sure to think about how you’ll break the news and how you’ll explain your reasons for leaving. It’s best to leave on a good note, whenever possible.

      Convey the positive aspects of working for the company. You can talk about the skills you learned in your role or the most exciting projects you got to work on. It’s also a good idea to discuss your positive relationships with colleagues and your manager.

      After your discussion, your employer should understand why you’re leaving. Employees typically leave in search of a higher salary, an opportunity to expand their knowledge or skills, or a better work environment. 

      However, if you’re leaving because you’re unhappy with the environment, it’s best to keep your thoughts to yourself. Instead, try to highlight the beneficial aspects of your experience and make a graceful exit.

      When to Write a Resignation Letter

      Following your discussion with your boss, you may not see a reason for a resignation letter. But in most instances, it makes sense to write the letter.

      It Documents Your Exit

      Some companies require employees to write a resignation letter to document their exit. Typically, organizations that require an exit letter will look for several things:

      • Your notice period
      • Your reasons for leaving
      • The date of your planned departure

      Of course, you don’t have to tell your employer your reasons for leaving. If they seem set on getting details from you and you don’t want to give them, simply say your reasons are personal.

      A resignation letter that documents your exit can also help ensure that your final paycheck covers your last few weeks. Make sure to keep a copy for your records.

      Letters Are Traditional in Your Industry

      In some industries or locations, a resignation letter is customary. If you’ve spoken with your boss concerning your departure, you can ask HR whether a resignation letter is appropriate. HR should be able to tell you what they expect you to include in your notice.

      You Don’t Feel Comfortable Talking with Your Boss First

      Occasionally, people worry about how their boss will react if they decide to leave. If you’re nervous about sharing your news with your boss in person, you can send them a written notification of your departure. However, you should speak to them in person once they’ve had time to process the news.

      What to Include in Your Resignation Letter

      A resignation letter shouldn’t be lengthy. It should be forthright and concise. 

      You should begin your letter with a short introduction that indicates your plan to leave the organization. Note your expected departure date and explain your plans for the future. If you don’t have another job lined up, you can describe in general terms what you’ll be doing in the months ahead.

      Some people choose to leave their careers to care for family members, embark on a new path, or work on building their own businesses. Whatever your reason, feel free to share as much as you like with your employer.

      If you enjoyed your role, highlight the projects you liked or the skills you learned. Remember, your employer will likely need to hire someone to fill your position. Finding a new employee takes time and effort. They’ll also need to train them to handle the work you did. 

      It will be to your advantage if you can reduce any bitter feelings concerning your departure.

      If your notice period is long enough, you can indicate that you’re available to help with training over the coming weeks or months. If the person taking your place isn’t likely to join before you leave, use your time to develop a training package. 

      A training package should contain information about your responsibilities and details on how to perform your tasks. Provide the details of any programs you use for your work, including websites and applications. 

      Give your boss a copy of the training package so they can deliver it to their new hire or assign your tasks for others to handle during the transition period.

      What Not to Include in a Resignation Letter

      Above all, avoid criticizing the company, your managers, or your colleagues in the letter. Even if you were unhappy in the work environment, now isn’t the time to air your grievances. Instead, keep things positive and straightforward. 

      If your company offers an exit interview, you can share your complaints with HR, but realize that they’re unlikely to take action unless your concerns are severe. Sometimes, it’s best to leave things alone and move on to greener pastures without dwelling on the past.

      Your Resignation Letter: The Start of a New Future

      After leaving a job, it’s common to have anxiety. You’re venturing into the unknown and shifting away from a place where you spent many waking hours. A resignation letter can help finalize your departure and eliminate miscommunication between you and the company. If you write one, keep it positive and concise.

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      With our executive recruiters, you get senior partner-led searches, due diligence-run networking, meticulous candidate vetting, and so much more, all geared towards one goal — placing the very best talent as soon as possible, all while ensuring a seamless fit with your company culture, your big-picture objectives, and other factors. Plus, we have one of the highest candidate retention rates in the industry while consistently delivering world-class talent faster than the competition. 

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      Contact us to see why we are continually ranked as one of the best executive search firms around and why we have so many repeat and long-term clients, as well as referrals.

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