Five tips for writing a letter of resignation

At one time or another, we’ve all had to write a resignation letter, either because we’ve received a better job opportunity, felt that it was time for a change, or have just decided that someone else needs to run the annual Cub Scout Pinewood Derby. But writing a letter of resignation isn’t always easy. Too often, emotions take over, and the author may be tempted to fire a parting shot at management or coworkers. In other cases, the author may not say enough. Here are five tips to help you notify your employer the next time you plan to leave your job:

1)      Lose the emotions. Never do, say or write anything when you’re emotions (good or bad) are running amok. Sure, you may be angry with your employer and want to tell the boss exactly why you think he/she is a nincompoop, but your resignation letter isn’t the right place to do that. In fact, with a cooler head, you may decide not to resign at all.

2)      Resign in person. It’s tacky to be fired by e-mail or a letter. It’s just as tacky to resign by the same means. Inform your supervisor face-to-face of your decision, and then follow up with a formal letter of resignation. This way, no one will be surprised or have hurt feelings.

3)      Keep it brief. Taking a cue from tip #1, remember that the resignation letter is not the place to vent your anger. Simply state that you’re leaving the organization. Whether or not you go into details regarding your next career move is up to you, but remember that a letter of resignation is largely a formality—something that goes into your HR file. If you’d really like to share your plans, do it in the face-to-face meeting with the boss.

4)      Be gracious. Failing to thank your employer for the opportunity the company provided can make you appear ungrateful. Even a bad job comes with some learning opportunities, so be sure to acknowledge them. And at the same time, add that you appreciated the chance to learn, grow and mature.

5)      Don’t send the letter by e-mail. A hard copy (printed), well-crafted resignation letter on good paper stock speaks volumes about you and your professionalism. It will be a reminder to management of the contributions you made and the great job you did.

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