As often as you’ve dreamed of telling your boss to “take this job and shove it,” when it comes time to actually quit your job it can be surprisingly difficult to write a resignation letter.
It can be even more difficult if you truly regret quitting and want to convey respect for your boss and genuine affection for your company.
In either case, writing your resignation letter does not have to be a difficult or time-consuming task. It is not necessary to provide a lot of detail when you quit your job. In fact, you can write a resignation letter in only three sentences and still do it in a professional, respectful way.
First Sentence – Announce Your Intention to Quit Your Job
After your greeting, your first sentence should come right out and announce your departure from the company as well as reveal your last day of work. The easiest way to write this is to say, “Please accept my resignation from Company ABC, effective December 31, 2009.”
Or, you may want to soften the message by writing, “It is with great regret that I offer my resignation from Company ABC, effective December 31, 2009.” Instead of sharing regret, you may want to convey a sense of apology or explanation. In this case, you might say, “Due to a wonderful job opportunity that has come my way, I must offer my resignation from Company ABC, effective December 31, 2009.”
Second Sentence – Compliment the Company
Regardless of how you really feel as you quit your job, your resignation letter must convey a sense of respect for your company and an appreciation for your time there.
It is both polite and professional to resign from your job in a way that shows you harbor no ill will toward your company or the people who work for it. You never know when you might need to use this company as a reference for future job searches, and you want to be sure that the manner in which you quit your job does not un-do the hard work you’ve done there or discolor the good reputation you’ve built.
So in your second sentence, pay some sort of compliment to the company. You might do this by describing your experience there in a positive light. One example is to write, “I’ve learned so much about widget-making here, which will serve me well in my next opportunity.” Or, you may outright state your appreciation for the workplace. “I am grateful for the management experience I’ve received here, and for Mr. Bossman’s constant support.”
Another alternative is to simply state that you feel good about the time you have spent for the company. “I have enjoyed my experiences here at Company ABC and regret that it is my time to move on.”
Third Sentence – Commit to Helping Your Company Move Forward
You only get one chance to make a last impression, so in your resignation letter, offer your help to ease the company’s transition as you quit.
You might simply pledge to work hard in your last two weeks. “Please know that I am dedicated to finishing my current projects in a way that meets or exceeds our company’s standards.” Or, you may offer your aid in finding or training your replacement if you think your company will need to replace you before you depart. “I will be happy to assist in the interviewing, selection and training of the next manager of widget-making.”
One final way to offer to help your company’s transition is to simply state your availability to do so. “Please let me know what I can do to help the company in this time of transition.”
Other Resignation Letter Tips
It is always polite and professional to give your employer two weeks’ notice when you quit your job, even if your contract does not require that you must do so.
Make sure your resignation letter is properly addressed to the right person. In some instances you will write the letter to your boss or direct supervisor. In others, particularly in a larger company, you may have to address the letter to your human resources department. In this case, it would be appropriate to write a second letter to your direct supervisor, informing him or her that you’ve offered your resignation to human resources.
Resignation letters should be typed and printed on standard printer paper, and they should be hand-delivered when at all possible. It is in poor taste to hand write, e-mail, fax or text your notice to quit.
Keep it simple and straightforward with your sign-off. In business correspondence, “sincerely” and “very sincerely” are tried and true, although “respectfully submitted” can also be used in a very formal resignation letter.