Here’s the good news……

Congratulations! You just landed your dream job.

You’ve accepted a firm offer from your new employer and have settled on a start date.

Here’s the bad news……

You’ve got to resign.

No matter what kind of relationship you have with your current employer, resigning is never pleasant.

Before you walk into you boss’ office and deliver the bad/good news, you need to draw up a resignation letter.

While it doesn’t have to be long, you must ensure that you have included some key things and that it maintains a clear and decisive tone.

The main must-haves in a resignation letter

Be clear

Clarity is necessary in many things in life, including resignation letters.  The last thing you need is for the employer to claim that you didn’t give them enough written notice because you didn’t specify dates.

Be clear about the resignation date.  Even though it might be the date of the letter it’s a good idea to clarify it in the letter.

Address the letter to the appropriate person such as your direct manager.  Include their title, the name of your employer and address. You might have to c.c. the HR Manager or other persons.

You should be clear as to what is your last day of employment.  This is usually 2 or 3 weeks in the future.

Be clear about what position you are resigning from (your job title).

End with your full name and sign the letter.

Keep it short

Probably the biggest mistake people make with writing a resignation letter is that they make it too long. There’s no need to get into any detail beyond providing the basic information (see above).

A good rule of thumb is to keep the letter to roughly two or three short paragraphs.

Don’t get into details

Another big mistake that many people make is including things in the letter that really shouldn’t be there.

Things like:

The name of their new employer

The rationale behind their decision to leave

Why they accepted the new job

What their new duties and responsibilities are

What their compensation package is

When the start date is

This is confidential information and shouldn’t be shared with anyone, especially who is soon to become your new employer’s competitor, for lack of a better term.

Divulging too much can also work against you.

If your employer isn’t happy with you leaving, they might say disparaging things about your new employer to get you to change your mind.

Even when an employer means well, any negative remarks can make you second guess yourself which is the last thing you need during a resignation.

In more extreme cases, employers have contacted the new employer and said negative things about the candidate so that the new employer rescinds the offer.

In any event, the less people know, the better. That way no judgment is made and you can go on your merry way.

Don’t be overly apologetic

There’s no reason to say “I’m sorry but….” Or “I regret to inform you that…”    It sounds negative and suggests that you’re doing something “wrong”.

You have every right to resign from a job and shouldn’t feel bad about it – no matter how great your current position is.

If anything, your employer should be the one who’s sorry that they didn’t do what they could have to keep you happy –  you had to quit to get what you wanted.

If you feel you need to apologize, you could leave that for a face to face meeting and don’t go overboard.

Mum’s the word

Unless there’s a compelling reason why you must spill the beans, it’s better to NOT give any details about your employer, your job function/title, or even the start date of your new job.

Why?  You don’t need your boss to judge where you will be working and what you’ll be doing or the fact that you won’t be starting your job for another two months.

Any less than supportive comments that stir up doubt in your mind about your decision is NOT what you need right now.

Once you’ve passed your probation period and you feel confident about your new job, you can let everyone know where you landed and update your Linkedin profile.

Be gracious

While a resignation letter is best served direct and unapologetic, you want to be gracious.

There’s nothing wrong with including some kind of short “thank you”. You don’t want to come across as an ungrateful grumpy pants.

At the same time, avoid being uber thankful or grateful.  There’s a danger that this can be perceived as disingenuous or patronizing, particularly if you didn’t get the support or opportunities you felt you deserved.

Now, if you had a great working relationship with your boss and the company was supportive, there’s no reason why you can’t fully express your gratitude during a face-to-face meeting.  Just keep it out of the resignation letter.

Don’t vent

I don’t care how much you hated your job, NEVER EVER EVER say anything the least bit negative in the letter.

This is NOT the time to vent about your frustrations or to even hint about them.

Keep the tone and language professional and neutral.

 

Example letter:

 

Dear Boss,

I am tendering my resignation as (enter job title) effective (enter date of resignation).  I am giving two weeks notice of my intention to leave (enter current employer name).  My last date of employment will be (enter your last day)

Thank you for the professional development and support that you provided over the last (enter number) of years. 

I wish you and (enter your current employer name) continued success. (Even if your employer was horrible and did nothing for you, try to come up with something so that you aren’t perceived negatively. Be the bigger person.)

Please let me know what I can do to help with the smooth transition of responsibilities.

Sincerely,

Optional #1:

If you feel you need to give some kind of “reason” (without getting into any detail) you can include something like:

I have accepted a firm offer with another entity and am committed to starting my new position in due course.

I have decided that it’s time for a new challenge and I am confident that this new opportunity will provide the kind of career development I am seeking.

Optional #2:

If you want to be 100% clear that you are committed to leaving and not accepting a counter-offer, you need to come across as decisive. You could say something like:

I am committed to starting my new position in two weeks. I  am confident that it is a beneficial move for me and my family and as such, my decision is final.

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