Writing a Letter of Resignation
Congratulations! I assume if you are reading this then you have found a position in a new organization. You most likely have a cocktail of emotions flowing through your veins, causing your stomach to both jump with excitement and churn with anxiety. Something big, something new is headed your way and you are now required to tell your current boss you will be leaving the company.
This is not something that has to be over-engineered, so I encourage you to be as concise and cordial as possible as you write your letter of resignation. Let’s talk through a few professional tactics to ensure you don’t leave any loose ends untied when you leave. These will also help build the basis for your letter of resignation.
First and foremost, you need to determine what your last is at your current company. Typically you should give a two weeks notice, anything more than that is generous on your part. I encourage you to take a week off between positions to clear your head and relax, but that is entirely up to you.
2. Develop a tentative transition plan
Pull together a slide depicting your different project deliverables and how you anticipate to hand these over to certain team members. This will show your boss that you have given thought to how this transition could be seamless for the organization. This might also give them incentive to keep you onboard for the next two weeks.
3. Know your why
People will ask why you are leaving a company, so you need to prepare a response. You may be leaving the organization for a much cooler company, but there are many other professional ways to communicate that. Tact is important as you communicate your reasons for choosing this new company. I would argue that if you are angry with your boss or at an organization, then you should talk about why you are choosing the new company instead of identifying any negative reasons for leaving the company (see Section 4 for more help).
4. Be careful what you say
Even if you are frustrated with your organization I encourage you to focus on the positives of the new role as you communicate your resignation: I’m being offered a position that will allow me to quickly grow into a managerial role. They are offering to pay for XYZ certifications so that I can become a subject matter expert. The company is also allowing me to work remotely, which is most important for me and my family right now.
I say these things because the last thing you want to do is gain an enemy in your industry - they are much smaller than you think! In German they have a saying, “man sieht sich zweimal im Leben.” Translated this means, you will meet someone twice in your lifetime. Don’t burn the bridge, it isn’t worth it.
5. Be thankful
Even if you are leaving your company because you despise your boss, you have still learned something - even if it is what not to do. Be grateful that you can take this new knowledge and apply it to your future business experiences.
Let’s take a look at what an example letter of resignation looks like:
Please accept this letter as my formal resignation from my position as (position) at (name of current company), effective Month DD, YYYY (<— this is your last day at the company). I have prepared a transition plan for your approval, which will help ensure a seamless project transition. Please do not hesitate to let me know if there are any further ways I can help facilitate this.
I am very grateful for the past xx years – for everything I have learned, the connections I have made within the organization, and the growth opportunities the company has offered me throughout my tenure here. Contributing to the growth of (company name) has been an immensely rewarding experience for me and I want to thank everyone for the support they have given me.
I have decided to take a position within a startup company, where I will be afforded the opportunity to gain experiences in a variety of departments, making me a more well-rounded professional.
I wish (company name) nothing but the utmost success.
Your Name Here
Once you have a completed letter of resignation, schedule a meeting on your boss’s calendar and get ready to announce your move. I wish you a mountain of luck on your new adventure!
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