Even if you’re counting down the minutes until you can run out of your office and never turn back, you still want to leave on good terms. You won’t regret a graceful exit, and in this small world, you never know who you may encounter later on in your career. A resignation letter may feel like an unnecessary formality, but it can also be an opportunity to infuse a procedural document with a tone of graciousness and thoughtfulness. This is not only the polite approach, but the most professional one, too. Then on your final day, you can exit the office at whatever pace you’d like — whether that be running with glee or sauntering with nostalgia.
Here are eight steps to help you write your resignation letter:
- Submit it at the right time: Shortly after you tell your boss of your plans to leave, submit your resignation letter. The day after the conversation is a good timeframe to aim for.
- Submit it to the right people: Submit signed and printed copies to both your boss and the HR department (if applicable). In addition, send an electronic version just in case. And keep one for your own records!
- Heading: The heading of your letter should resemble that of a formal cover letter—your name and address, followed by the date, followed by the name and address of the person to whom you’re addressing the letter. The date is very important, so double check to make sure it’s listed before you turn it in!
- Salutation: There’s no need to get overly fancy with how you address your resignation letter, “Dear [boss’s name],” is perfect.
- Express your statement of resignation: Your letter should begin by clearly stating three things: that you are resigning, from which position you are resigning from, and the effective date of your resignation. For example, you can say:
“Please accept this letter as resignation from [position] effective [date].”
“I am writing to formally resign from [position], to take effect on [date].
“This letter is to serve as formal notice of my resignation from [position], effective [date].”
- Express gratitude: You’re moving on, but there’s probably a significant amount you learned in your job that you’ll take with you to your next position and beyond. Now’s the time to reflect on some of the positive experiences you’ve had and show you’re grateful for your time at the company. You can begin by saying something like:
“I’d like to thank you for the opportunities…”
“These past few years have been an incredible learning experience and I’ve met inspiring individuals who helped me grow as an employee…”
“Thank you, [boss’s name], for your support in my time here at [company]. I’m thankful to have received the experience to work with such a talented team…”
- Address the transition: In this section of your letter, briefly outline the projects that you’ll be completing, and notify who on your team will be inheriting your responsibilities. You can say something along the lines of:
“I’m committed to making this transition period as smooth as possible. I’ll continue to work on [responsibility] until my resignation. Following my departure, [colleague’s name] will be the new point of contact.”
- Closing: Close your letter by restating your appreciation for the time you’ve spent at your job. If you’d like to include any of your personal contact information, now’s a good time to do so. Then, you can simply say “Sincerely” and sign your name!
Ready to leave? Now that you know how to write a resignation letter, don’t forget to share a review on Glassdoor about your former company after you hand it in.