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Writing a Resignation Letter

By: J.A.J Aaronson - Updated: 8 Mar 2012 | comments*Discuss
Resigning Writing Letter Resignation

In today’s business world, where very few people remain in the same job for life, it is likely that you will have to face the task of writing a resignation letter at some point. For many this is a difficult, unpleasant job – for others it is amongst the greatest pleasures of their working life. It all depends on how much you enjoy your job!

Regardless of how much enjoyment you derive from writing your resignation letter, you should remember that it is an important document. You are likely to be contractually obliged to provide on in the event that you want to end your contract – and it will probably be the last written communication you have with your employer. This is particularly important as you may rely on them for a reference.

So how do you write a resignation letter that fulfils your contractual obligations while not leaving a sour taste in your employer’s mouth?

Get the Basics

There are several elements that you need to include in your letter of resignation. You should make clear that you are leaving, and give the date from which your resignation will apply. You may be obliged to work a notice period; if this is the case, you may also wish to give details of the date on which your notice will expire.

You should also make sure that the letter is addressed properly. Generally speaking, resignation letters should be sent to either your line manager or the head of Human Resources.

It is also important to note that resignation letters are generally sent after a face-to-face conversation. It is not considered good practice to send a letter or email of resignation without first discussing it with your employer.

Stay Positive

Regardless of your feelings for the employer, you should remain positive throughout the letter. You may well need a reference from them, and you therefore need to remain civil. Underline the positive aspects of your time there, rather than dwelling on any bad experiences.

You do not necessarily have to give a reason for your resignation in the letter; whether or not you choose to do so will depend on circumstance. You should remember, though, that the letter will be filed and your employer may pass it on to future firms seeking references for you – so choose your words carefully!

What About E-mail?

Given the significance of a resignation letter, most people still choose to provide a paper copy. But as email has become the primary means of business communication, an increasing number of employees are choosing to resign electronically.

It is worth checking your contract before doing this; it may list specific methods by which a resignation can be conveyed. If you do choose to email, make sure that you still use appropriate language; a resignation should be conducted with a certain degree of formality.

Resigning can be an awkward task, particularly if you have had a long relationship with your current employer. But, provided that you take sufficient care over the process, it need not be a cause of bad blood.

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