Write A Resignation Letter That Leaves The Door Open
Is writing a resignation letter a necessary step in your job exit strategy? Not always, but just like writing a cover letter with your resume, I always recommend it.
While it might not be a mandatory step, submitting a formal letter provides actual evidence of your resignation and allows you to keep the door open.
A professional resignation letter should be formulated in a positive tone, express gratitude for what you have gained, and provide details about your departure.
Write Your Resignation Letter In A Positive Tone
Your letter is not the place to express grievances. Keep in mind that this letter will become part of your permanent file. Whatever qualms you may have with your boss or the company as a whole, should not be addressed in this letter.
Save concerns and grievances for personal exit conversations if you deem them worthy of having.
Express Gratitude In Your Letter
Regardless of what is motivating you to leave and what experiences you had with the company, you gained something in your recent role. Life teaches us time and again that a little gratitude goes a long way.
Consider that when the time comes for a reference or a recommendation request down the line – or you find yourself reapplying at the same company one day (it happens), what you say in your letter can have an impact. The person who reaches for your file might not be the same person you submitted it to initially. Or the person may use the letter as a reminder when providing feedback or considering you for other opportunities.
Be sure to thank your employer for the experiences you had. Mention the value of the relationships that you developed during your work and acknowledge any noteworthy contributions you achieved that you desire to be ‘kept on file.’
Provide Details Around Your Departure
The whole point of the letter is to announce that you are leaving on a particular date. It’s common practice to provide two-weeks notice; however, depending on employment agreements, level of seniority, and industry standards, you might need to provide more time.
Address other details, such as unused vacation time, sick leave, or employee benefits. If suitable, provide a simple statement that indicates you have either already started thinking about a transition strategy for your responsibilities or that you are open to having a conversation to ensure a smooth exit.
Consider ending the letter with a request to remain in contact, remembering that this person is now a part of your network. Provide a personal email address if you are comfortable doing so.
Resignation Letter Sample
Dear (Supervisor Name):
This letter is to inform you that I am resigning from my position as (job title) with (company name), effective (date). I am willing to stay on for two weeks — until (date) — to provide a seamless transition for my replacement.
I have appreciated the opportunity to learn from you and contribute to the company in this role. Being part of the team that launched the (name of project) that sparked the division to its highest revenues ever is something that I will always remember.
One of the most challenging things about moving on is the loss of your guidance. I have greatly benefited from your leadership and mentoring, and I would welcome the opportunity to keep in contact in the future, as I sincerely value your knowledge and experience.
We will need to work out my final work schedule as well as the disposition of my accrued vacation/leave time and employee benefits. I will await your guidance on how to handle these issues.
Again, thank you for the opportunity. I would enjoy staying in contact. Please feel free to reach me at (personal e-mail address).
I wish you — and the company — all the best.
When possible, deliver your letter in person and not by email. Make the process formal yet personalized, using a positive mindset to ensure you keep relationships strong and doors open. You never know if you may find yourself applying at the same company again, or working with this same boss/supervisor, in the future.
Job Search Resources
If you have resigned before you’ve secured a new role, here are some job search resources to help you on your journey:
Is your resume the strongest it can be?
- How to add achievements and measurements to your resume
- Resume trends for 2023
- 8 resume success factors
- FREE resume improvement guide
Are you using a diversified job search strategy – and not just applying to jobs online?