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How to write a resignation letter that leaves a positive impression

Resignation letter template and tips for resigning professionally to leave on a positive note.

Resigning from your job can be a challenging and nerve-wracking experience. But with the right approach, you can ensure that you leave on a positive note. One of the key components of a successful resignation is a well-crafted resignation letter. In this article, we will guide you through how to write a resignation letter that is professional, positive, and gracious.  

What is a resignation letter? 

After accepting a new job offer and signing the contract, your first priority is to inform your manager of your decision to leave. While you may have already discussed it verbally, it's important to communicate your resignation in writing. This can be done either in the body of an email or as an attached letter. 

Your resignation letter serves as a formal document stating the date you intend for your notice period to begin and when your last day of employment will be. Since this letter will be kept on file by your HR department, it's crucial to structure it professionally, even if you're used to more casual forms of communication with your manager. 

Why is a resignation letter important? 

A resignation letter provides formal evidence of your departure from your current job. From your perspective, it allows you to specify the effective date of your resignation, the required notice period, and your intended last day at work. This ensures that your exit is clear to your employer. It's a good idea to keep a copy of your resignation letter for your own records as well. 

What to include in a resignation letter

When writing your resignation letter, make sure you include the following key information.

1. Start with a formal introduction 

Most resignation letters are now sent in email form, but you can either write your resignation in the email body or attach a formally formatted letter. For your email, be sure to write a clear subject line that states "Resignation letter: Your Name."

If you're formatting your resignation letter and attaching it to the email, begin your document with a formal introduction. Include the current date and your contact details, such as your phone number and personal email address. 

2. Address the right person 

Address your resignation letter to the appropriate person, either your current line manager or the HR department. Avoid using generic salutations like "To whom it may concern" as they are considered unprofessional.  

Download our free resignation letter template

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3. Clearly state your intention 

In the opening statement of your letter, clearly and concisely state your intention to resign from your position. Keep it simple and direct.  

4. Outline the key dates 

State your notice period, which should align with the terms of your contract. Review your contract if necessary to confirm the required notice period. Additionally, provide the date of your last working day to ensure there are no disputes in the future.  

5. Express willingness to assist in the handover 

Demonstrate your professionalism by expressing your willingness to assist in the handover process. Offer to help train a new employee or provide support to a colleague who will be taking over your responsibilities. This will leave a positive impression and show that you value a smooth transition.  

6. Acknowledge positive experiences 

Take the opportunity to thank your employer for the opportunities and experiences you have had during your time with the company. Highlight any specific projects or learning experiences that you are particularly grateful for. Expressing gratitude can go a long way in maintaining good relationships.  

7. Sign off appropriately 

Conclude your resignation letter with a polite and professional sign-off. Use phrases like "Yours sincerely" or "Kind regards" followed by your name. This adds a personal touch and shows respect. 

Not sure where to begin? No worries! We've got you covered. Download our simple resignation template and you'll have everything you need to craft a professional resignation letter that leaves a positive impression. 

How to resign professionally

Resigning professionally is essential to depart on good terms and maintain positive relationships. The following tips will assist you in resigning gracefully and leaving a lasting positive impression.

1. Have your letter ready

Prepare your resignation letter in advance if you plan to meet your manager in person. This will allow you to email it immediately after the conversation. 

2. Arrange a face-to-face meeting

It is important to have a conversation with your manager before sending the resignation letter. Schedule a meeting to discuss your decision, clarify any uncertainties, and express your gratitude for the opportunity to work with them. 

3. Rehearse your verbal notice 

If you are nervous about delivering your verbal notice, take some time to rehearse your reasons for leaving and any additional points you want to mention. This will help you feel more confident during the meeting. 

4. Decide what information to share

Consider whether or not you want to disclose the details of your new job or employer. While you are not obligated to share this information, if you have a good relationship with your manager and feel comfortable, you can choose to share the name of the organisation and your new position. However, sharing this information is entirely up to you.  

5. Be prepared for a counteroffer 

After communicating your decision to resign, be prepared for the possibility of a counter offer from your current employer. Take the time to carefully consider your options before making a decision. Reflect on the reasons why you wanted to leave in the first place and whether accepting a counter offer aligns with your long-term goals.  

6. Follow up after sending your letter 

A few days after sending your resignation letter, follow up with a short email to reiterate your commitment to ensuring a smooth transition. Offer to tie up any loose ends and provide any necessary support to your colleagues and the person who will be taking over your role. This shows professionalism and a dedication to leaving on a positive note.  

7. Keep your departure confidential 

Until your manager decides to inform the team about your departure, it is essential to keep the news confidential. Allow your manager to have control over when and how the information is shared with your colleagues. Respecting their decision demonstrates professionalism and allows for a smoother transition period. 

8. Leave on a positive note

Leaving your job on a positive note is crucial for your professional reputation. By writing a well-crafted resignation letter and approaching the process with professionalism and gratitude, you can ensure that your departure is seen as a respectful transition rather than a negative event. 

Remember that most people, including your manager, have been in your shoes at some point in their lives. While you may have been a valued member of the team, the organisation will continue to thrive without you. Trust in your decision and embrace the exciting new opportunity that lies ahead.

Interested in exploring new opportunities? Register your CV here or apply for jobs here.

 

 

FAQs

  • Can I email my resignation letter?
    Yes, emailing your resignation letter is a widely accepted method. You have the option to include your resignation letter in the body of the email or send it as an attachment. A simple email copy such as "Please see my attached formal resignation letter" is sufficient. The most important thing is to have your resignation in writing. However, it is always advisable to check your company's policies or consult HR to ensure compliance with any specific requirements they may have.
  • Can my workplace reject my resignation letter?
    Legally, your workplace cannot reject your resignation letter. Once you have submitted it, it is considered a formal notice of your intention to leave. However, they may discuss alternative options with you or ask for clarification on your reasons for resigning. They can reject your last working day if it does not comply with the notice period in your contract - so make sure you check this before submitting your resignation.
  • Who do I write my resignation letter to?
    Address your resignation letter to your immediate supervisor or manager. It is also courteous to copy HR or any relevant department as per your company's protocol. Avoid using phrases like "to whom it may concern" as this is impersonal and considered unprofessional. Make sure you address it properly to the appropriate individuals.
  • When should I submit my resignation letter?
    You should submit your resignation letter immediately after you notify your manager of your resignation in your face-to-face meeting. Ideally, you should submit your resignation letter at least two weeks before your intended last working day. However, if your contract requires that you give at least 4 weeks' notice, then you will need to do so. Providing adequate notice allows your employer time to find a replacement and facilitates a smooth transition.
  • Why does my employer want a resignation letter?
    An employer typically requests a resignation letter because it serves as a formal record of your decision to leave the company. It helps HR and management process your departure smoothly, including finalising paperwork, arranging for the handover of responsibilities, and initiating any necessary exit procedures. Having a resignation letter on file ensures that all legal and administrative procedures are followed correctly.
  • How much notice do I need to give when I resign?
    The notice period required for resignation typically depends on your employment contract or company policy. It is commonly four weeks, but it could be longer for more senior positions or as stipulated in your contract. To determine the specific notice period, it is best to check your employment agreement or consult HR for clarity. They will provide you with the necessary information regarding the notice period you need to adhere to.

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