Resignation days come in almost everyone’s career. You are hired to start a new job in two or three weeks, but you need to inform the current employer that you are leaving their company. You will need to do this both verbally and in a formal, well-written resignation letter.
Informing your boss verbally will, of course, be the hardest part. How will he react? Will he beg you to stay? Will he make your last days on the job miserable? Will he, God forbid, tell you to immediately leave as a way to punish you financially? For the best possible reaction, have this conversation with your boss in private instead of in front of peers so that you don’t embarrass him. It would be financially smart to tell him the news just two weeks before you start your new job.
Whew! The hard part is over. Whatever the boss’s reaction was, now you will want to hand in a professionally written, pleasant resignation letter to the department or the person who has your work file. You may even want to have this letter already typed and ready to hand in so that your reaction to your boss’s possible negative reaction won’t show up in your letter.
There are several reasons that you will want to write a resignation letter. Your carefully crafted letter:
• Formally informs the company that you plan to leave and what day will be the last day you plan to work for them.
• Establishes a written record of the fact that you gave a two-week notice and used a positive tone in the letter.
• Leaves a positive last item in your personnel file.
• Is proper protocol when leaving a company, so it shows class if you give them one.
• Will help you when you look for work in the future.
• Will set the tone of your working relationship during your final two weeks at the job.
Even if your boss reacts negatively when you tell him verbally that you are leaving and he doesn’t see your resignation letter for a while, he will read it at some point. After he reads that you enjoyed the job, appreciated his help with learning the job, he will likely remember the contributions you made to the company. He will also look favorably upon your positive attitude and the class with which you left the company. Your letter makes him look good.
Negative things he may have said or done to you after you told him about your planned departure will most likely fade in his mind, and your warm resignation letter will become his new truth. Who knows…you may want to come back to work at your old company in the future, and your former boss may want you back!
For certain, other future prospective employers will call your former employers and inquire as to whether or not you gave these companies a two-week notice and what your temperament was like. After several years, a different personnel office worker will not have anything but your file’s contents to use to tell people about you when they call. As the last thing placed in your file, a resignation letter would be easily found and would tell personnel what you need them to say to your prospective employers for the next several years.
The contents of your letter would prove that you gave a former employer a two-week notice and that you left on good terms, but the fact that you left a resignation letter would also tell prospective employers that you are the type of person who leaves companies on good terms and with class.
What should you include in a resignation letter? This letter basically consists of three sections, which include 1.) the basics, 2.) the thank you, and 3.) the hand-off.
1. The Basics – This part of the letter informs your employer that you plan to leave the company and what day you plan to be your last day working for them. Do not state the reasons you want to leave the company. Don’t sugar coat the situation either.
2. The Thank You – Thank the employer for the opportunity to work for them. Describe what you enjoyed about working there and what you learned. Leave out anything that is even remotely negative.
3. The Hand-Off – You will likely need to be replaced and that person will need to learn how to do your job. Offer to help to make the transition as smooth as possible, but do not promise to do what you cannot or do not intend to do to help to get the new person up to speed. If you have good training notes, this would be indispensable if you are the only person who knows how to do the job.
Let’s look at a sample of how this kind of letter might read:
Mr. Steve Somebody
123 Main St.
Anytown, TX 55555
Please accept this letter of resignation, as I am hereby resigning from my position as staff analyst. My last day of employment at ABC Company will be September 19, 2017.
I was offered the position of senior analyst at a Fortune 500 company. After careful consideration, I decided that I couldn’t pass up this opportunity for a promotion.
It has been a pleasure to work with you, the other analysts, and the people in the other departments during the last seven years. I appreciate the time you spent helping me to thoroughly learn my job when I first arrived.
I would like to return the favor and help to train my replacement so that the transition will go smoothly for you. The new person can have all of my notes, which are quite detailed.
Steve, thank you again for letting me work at ABC Company. I hope everyone there continues to do well, and I look forward to keeping in touch with you to see how things are going. You can email me at [email protected] or call me at 555-555-5555.
There it is…simple and classy. If possible, try to minimize how many times you use “I” and increase the number of times that you use “you.” High usage of “I” would make you appear self-absorbed. Although a letter that is about you may be hard to write without using “I” a lot, there are ways to minimize its usage. For instance, you can bury an “I” within the text instead of starting a sentence with it.