How To Write A Resignation Letter The Right Way

Sometimes the employment relationship between employer and employee breaks down.

Sometimes the employee finds a job better aligned to their career goals.

Other times, the employee experiences a life event causing great change.

Regardless of the reason, the employee should announce his or intention to resign. This announcement usually happens via a resignation letter. The importance of ending the employment in a professional, diplomatic way can provide benefits in the future.

Let’s explore how we can properly write a letter of resignation to preserve a professional employment relationship. The overall structure should be a four paragraph letter including the closing.

Why You Should Write A Resignation Letter

How To Write A Resignation Letter The Right Way - Correct Address

Depending on the reason for the resignation, one can choose to leave on good terms. Why may one do that? If one leaves on a positive note then the possibility for re-employment at the same company remains high. Another good reason is receiving a positive letter of recommendation from your supervisor. Finally, it is professional ethics and demonstrates your professionalism.

It provides a good memory to the company who may promote you in some way in the future. With the increasing importance of network, bosses and other managers talk to each other. They compare notes and may ask for an informal reference.   You never know what the future holds, so preserving that positive relationship is key. It is always nice to receive a positive recommendation from your direct manager or their peer by doing things the proper way. Let’s see how we can draft that letter.

The Resignation Letter – Addressing it correctly

You may be unsure of who the letter goes to. It’s important to double check. If the letter addresses the wrong person, then they may feel disrespected. It may also go against the cultural norms of the company or society. For this reason, the letter must be addressed to the correct person or department. Usually, the letter is addressed to the direct manager who later delivers it to the HR department. In any case, before addressing a letter, the resignation should be discussed with the direct manager.

It can be a shocking surprise to have no warm-up before delivering the news.

The Resignation Letter – Start / Formal Resignation

How To Write A Resignation Letter The Right Way - Formal NoticeAt the beginning of the letter, the intention to resign must be clearly stated. It usually can start with your name, followed by your title and the intent to resign. The next sentence should include the effective date of the resignation, and the notice period that is given. it is important to state these details so it is clear. There should be no ambiguity at this point.

Even if the resignation has been discussed previously, the formal intent should be made clear via the letter. In addition, you want to make sure that all parties agree to the resignation so there are no doubts.

The Resignation Letter – Second Paragraph/Thanks

How To Write A Resignation Letter The Right Way - Offer ThanksIn this middle section, one should take the opportunity to thank their direct manager and the team. It softens the blow of the resignation and adds a positive note to the resignation letter. At the same time, the sense of humbleness demonstrates your attitude to the company through appreciation. It shows your professionalism.

The direct manager contributes (at least they should) to your personal development. That personal thanks shows the manager they did a good in terms of helping you grow. You can take your experiences with you to another company or whatever you do later on. Why not appreciate it?

The Resignation letter – Third Paragraph / Offer To Help

How To Write A Resignation Letter The Right Way - Offer Help

This paragraph aims to provide some reassurance and relief to the direct manager. It also shows professionalism until the end. In this section, the transition to the new person in the case of replacement or to existing people is described. There should be the affirmation from your side that you will do your best to handover the responsibilities of the role.  You may also want to ensure that you make yourself available to answer any questions.

The willingness to help others should be mutual. If you found yourself on the receiving end of new work being handed over, it would make your life easier to have a smooth transition. At some point, you probably will have that experience. Remember “what goes around comes around and bites you when you least expect it.”

The Resignation Letter – Closing Off

As with anything else, one needs to close off the resignation letter.  The point of this section is to offer a final thanks for all the support and opportunities and sign it off. One should take this opportunity to offer the direct manager to approach you with any questions. If the letter comes as a surprise, then it’s really important to allow for questions and demonstrate your willingness to co-operate. In addition, this also provides a personal commitment and sense of ownership. The company cannot do anything in terms of disciplinary action, but it provides you with a moral obligation to finish out strongly.

A resignation letter provides the formal intention to terminate the contract of employment. It usually compromises of four paragraphs. The first paragraph announces the initial intention. The second and third paragraphs cover appreciation for opportunities and supporting the handover and transition of the responsibilities.  Finally, the last paragraph covers a last thanks followed by openness to answer any questions. Always ensure to address the letter of resignation to the right person or department to avoid any undue bad feelings.  If the letter is done in a professional, correct way then there are still many benefits that can come.

Author Profile

Hardhome Gavin
Gavin has 15 years experience as a HR Manager and Leader within large and growing companies. During this time Gavin has seen thousands of resumes and conducted just as many interviews. Gavin has turned his knowledge and passion in this space into a full time profession and launched Jobs in Bradford his career advisory and consulting website.