How to Write a Resignation Letter

The importance of leaving a job on good terms with your former employer cannot be overstated. While the need to leave a place of employment may involve negative emotions or experiences, intelligent workers will always put future opportunities ahead of fleeting personal issues. By leaving on positive terms, you gain an advocate for yourself in the future.

Your resignation letter should leave a good last impression

You never know what may happen in the years to come. You may want a good reference, you may need a letter of recommendation from a previous employer, or you may even need to return to your previous job. The last impression an employer gets of you is as important as the first impression. Burning bridges is never good business practice, especially in an uncertain employment environment. Follow these tips to make sure your resignation letter leaves a good last impression.

Keep it Brief and Businesslike

A resignation letter is always going to be a touchy subject. One of the most dreaded questions in an interview for a new job, especially if you are currently unemployed, is, “Why did you leave your past job?” Generally, this question demands a neutral answer. You don’t want to present a bad attitude, but you also don’t want to sound too sycophantic. The same goes with a rejection letter. You want to present the facts minus the emotions behind them. Simply use your letter as a vehicle to deliver the important information: your statement of resignation, your final day and your future plans.

The Art of the One-Sentence Explanation

Less is more when it comes to explaining the specifics behind your decision to resign. If you are resigning due to a bad experience, a vague sentence like, “My decision to resign stems from personal and professional reasons” can work wonders when paired to a positive statement like, “however, I have enjoyed my association with [business name].” Vague is also better than direct when it comes to decisions to leave regarding money, hours or interpersonal conflicts. However, a more direct explanation will work when you have a neutral or positive reason for your resignation such as medical issues, a desire for further education or a new career opportunity. Still, you should be sure to sum it up in a single sentence.

Close with Intent to Keep in Touch

Emphasize the transitional aspect rather than the ending aspect in your closing. This will assure your former company that you want to maintain a networking relationship as you move on to bigger and better things, and it will help remind the business of everything you’ve done for it.

Ultimately, rejection letters are best when they read like thank you letters. A combination of gratitude and businesslike neutrality will showcase your best side even as you are heading for the door.

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