Let’s admit it: sometimes it feels really good to quit. You may be ready to jump on your desk and scream, “So long, suckers!”—but don’t. Whether you have accepted a new job at a different company, are moving to a new city, are going back to school, or are just plain fed up with your current job, the old saying “don’t burn bridges” always applies. That means you need to leave on good terms by writing a letter of resignation, which will create an official record of the terms of your departure. The good news is that writing an effective, professional resignation letter is a piece of cake, and our handy checklist will help guide you through the process. The bad news? You still can’t jump on your desk and scream after you write the letter—sorry.
1. Deliver the news in person
Don’t blindside your boss by slipping a letter of resignation under the door before you have resigned in person. Having a face-to-face, private conversation with your boss is the professional thing to do, and it is there that you can (gracefully) discuss the reasons for your departure.
2. State the facts
Your resignation letter should begin with a simple “Dear______,” using your boss’s first name if that is how you usually address him or her. The first paragraph should simply list the job that you are resigning from, the company’s name, and your last day of employment. Check your contract or employee handbook for the rules on how much notice you must give, as this can vary.
3. Say thank you
Begin a new paragraph by thanking your boss and company for the opportunity, for their guidance and support, or for something else that you are grateful for. Even if this is not exactly how you feel, remember that a resignation letter will remain part of your permanent employee file. So keep the letter positive, even if your experience was negative.
4. Ease the transition
Wrap up your letter by stating your availability to assist in the transition. Again, using a positive, helpful tone will help you down the road, when your letter may be reviewed for a reference.
5. Say no more
Signing off with a simple “Sincerely, (your full name here)” is sufficient, which means that your letter should not exceed a half page. Do not go into any detail about why you are leaving. A resignation letter is simply an official record of notice, not a place to discuss what drove you to leave. Be sure to save a copy for yourself, and only after it’s been acknowledged and accepted by your manager or HR department should you tell your colleagues. Now congratulations, you’ve quit the right way!