No matter what the reason, resigning from your job is likely to be an uncomfortable experience.
If you are leaving for personal reasons (such as moving away, starting a family, or retiring), you may feel sad about leaving. But if you are leaving for a better opportunity, or you’ve simply had enough of your current job, you may be glad to be moving on.
Either way, it’s always going to be in your best interests to leave on a positive note, and to resign in a professional manner.
The purpose of a resignation letter
The purpose of a resignation letter is to give your employer official notice that you will be leaving the organisation. However, it is usually appropriate to inform your manager of your intention to resign in person, and then to follow up your conversation with the formal resignation letter.
What to include:
Your resignation letter should be short and to the point. Keep it positive and professional – this is not the place to voice your dissatisfaction with your job.
In your letter, you should make sure that you include the following:
1 – A clear statement of your intention to resign.
Example: “Please accept this letter as formal notice of my resignation from my position as Assistant IT Manager at XYZ.”
2 – Reference to your notice period (where applicable), as well as your last working day with the organisation.
Example: “My last working day will be in two weeks’ time, on 31 August 2015.”
3 – Your reason for leaving.
You don’t need to elaborate on this if you don’t want to. Remember to keep it positive, and not to make any rude, offensive, or insulting remarks about the organisation or your co-workers, no matter how tempting it might be.
Example: “I have been offered an opportunity to work as an IT Manager abroad, and I have decided to accept the offer.”
4 – A sentence or two in which you thank your employer for the opportunities you have been given during your time with the organisation.
Example: “I would like to thank you for the wonderful opportunities you have given me, both to develop my knowledge and skills, and to work with such knowledgeable and inspiring people.”
5 – An offer to help with the transition.
Only include this if you are sincere, and don’t make any promises that you won’t be able to keep. You could, for example, assure your employer that you will finish your current projects or hand them over to a colleague. You could also offer to train the person who will be replacing you.
Example: “During the next two weeks, I will do everything I can to ensure a smooth transition for the company. If required, I am more than willing to assist with the hiring and training of the new Assistant IT Manager.”
6 – A suitable closing.
It is important to use a closing that is appropriate in the circumstances. If you have a good relationship with your employer, you may want to wish him/her well for the future, and provide contact details that he/she can use to get in touch with you once you have left the organisation. You can then end your letter with a greeting such as “Kind regards” followed by your signature.
Remember that your resignation letter will be kept on file, as it forms part of your employment record. It is always best to keep it professional, as you may need a reference from your employer later on in your career.
It is also not worth burning bridges, and damaging potentially valuable relationships, just to have your say about the organisation and your feelings toward it.
Click on the following links for more tips on how to write a resignation letter, as well as to find useful templates of different types of resignation letters: