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How to Write a Letter of Resignation and Deliver It Appropriately

If you have come to the decision to leave your job, it may seem like a needless formality to inform your employer in writing. However, it is the correct thing to do for many reasons and mutually beneficial. There is a right way and a wrong way to both write and deliver the letter.

With the right game plan, you can write an effective letter of resignation that is courteous, clear, informative and appreciative, enabling you to leave in the right spirit.


How to Write a Letter of Resignation and Deliver It Appropriately

Letter of Resignation


Indicate clearly at the beginning of your letter that you are writing to inform your employer you are resigning. Do not be vague or suggest you are only considering leaving, if you have definitely decided. Don’t put your supervisor in the position of having to guess whether there’s something bothering you that is fixable, when you have truly made up your mind to leave.

Provide a primary reason for your decision. You need not reveal the actual reason for your decision, only the one you have decided is prudent to give. For example, you may be frustrated working for an ineffective manager or be concerned the company is about to go under financially. Perhaps you do not want to state the latter to help avoid conflict or help your employer save face. Instead, you might say you are leaving to take a position with greater advancement opportunities or that it is closer to your home or you want to switch fields.

State next what you appreciate about the position(s) you held at your company. You may feel disgruntled about certain issues but put these aside and focus upon the things for which you can be grateful. Possible examples include steady employment, opportunities for skill building, professional relationships you developed and training you received.

Provide a clear timeline for your departure — at least two weeks from the date of your letter. It is widely believed to be unprofessional to leave a position with less than two weeks notice. Provide even more notice, if possible. Do not make your employer’s life unnecessarily difficult and ensure a smooth transition. Your employer will likely appreciate your efforts and perhaps become a more valuable networking contact or resource for you. If your new employer is pressuring you to start your job in less than two weeks, state that you consider it only right to fulfill your obligation to provide proper notice. Usually, a new employer will take a step back and appreciate your professional courtesy, realizing you are likely to show the same respect in the future if you again resign.

Bring your resignation letter to your supervisor in person and deliver the news graciously, unless you know from experience that your supervisor is likely to become visibly upset and prefers to be alone while digesting bad news. In that case, leave the resignation letter in a sealed envelope in your supervisor’s inbox, mailbox or send an email. Resist telling other colleagues about your plans until you tell your supervisor. It would be very bad form and likely undo all the care you took with your resignation letter to have your supervisor learn of your resignation secondhand.


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