WRITE IT DOWN
Before you go in to give your notice, have two letters of resignation ready: One for your immediate supervisor and one for the head of human resources.
WRITING A RESIGNATION LETTER
While it may be an unpleasant task, there’s really not that much to it. In its simplest form, you just date the letter, say when and what you’re resigning, sign it, hand it over, and that’s about it. Five minutes, and you’re done. Unless you possess the judgment of an attorney and style of a professional writer, don’t write much more if you wish to use your employer as a reference. In most cases, there’s no need to explain your reasons for resigning. However honorable they may be, it’s very hard to strike just the right tone in writing. For example, if you write that you’ve found a challenging career opportunity, you’re implying that you’re bored with your current job.
Keeping your reasons and other unnecessary statements out of print is especially wise if you’re leaving under less than desirable circumstances. While you may feel compelled to defend yourself, voice opinions or settle scores, it’s not a good idea, particularly in writing. A simple, “I resign…” statement is powerful enough in itself. Don’t jeopardize termination benefits and any hope of a decent reference just to blow off steam. If you think you have a legal case, then take it to court; but don’t first turn the tables against you by making slanderous accusations. Tell it to an attorney instead. Remember, your employer requires and files your letter of resignation for exactly that reason: in case there’s a legal problem down the road. Never commit in writing what you may later regret!
If you’re leaving under good circumstances and feel that you owe more than just a one-liner, keep it short, simple and positive. Resist the temptation to write too much and keep the intended audience in mind. It’s nice to express your gratitude to your colleagues, but I doubt that they will ever see your letter of resignation. It’s only for your management and HR department to see. If you wish to thank management for the opportunities they gave you, include it in your letter. If you wish to thank your colleagues, take them to lunch.
In all cases, resign with class and walk away clean.
Dear … ,
“I am sorry to inform you that I am leaving [your current company] on [date]. This was a difficult decision, as working for [your current company] has been a positive experience and one for which I am thankful. I have acquired a great deal of knowledge and experience here, and have appreciated the opportunity to work with you. However, my consideration of a career enhancement opportunity has led me to accept a position with another company. This final decision was reached only after thorough consideration. My decision is final and irrevocable. Thank you.