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When you've finally made your decision and plan to quit your job, one of the last things you should do is prepare a formal letter of resignation. This letter serves as a formal notice to your employer, and it's critical that you make it simple and brief. Information that you should include in your letter should include your intention to leave and your last working day. Your notice can be in the form of a letter of resignation or an email resignation message.
Ideally you likely need a four weeks notice before you leave the company (depending on your employment contract), so here are some best practices on preparing your resignation letter and how to give your one month notice the right way.
what to include in your resignation letter?
A great resignation letter includes elements and understanding these components will give you clarity on your decision. Here are for 4 elements to include in your resignation letter:
1. your intent to resign
Your letter should start with the most crucial detail - your intention to resign. Do not leave any room for interpretation. Being ambiguous about the message may give your boss the wrong impression that you are not sure about your next move. They will think that with a little bit of convincing, you may actually stay.
A letter of resignation should never be used as a negotiation tool for better pay or career prospects. Not only would you come across as highly unprofessional, but you would also seem manipulative when you hold your employer ransom to your demands. Any negotiations you are open to should be done in prior conversations or performance reviews with your manager, and not written in the resignation letter.
2. date of your last day of employment
You would typically need to serve a period of notice that starts from the day you tender your resignation. Your last working day should have already been agreed upon between you and your employer before you start writing the letter. The notice period should also take into account any balance annual leave that you are entitled to unless it is previously agreed between the employer and employee to encash it.
This key detail should not be missed as it provides greater clarity of your departure for your boss and colleagues. You are not the only one that needs to make plans and adjustments. Your boss and colleagues would appreciate a definitive timeline to manage or reallocate the additional workload as well as find your replacement.
3. your appreciation
Even if you dislike the work, the people or your boss, you should always adopt an appreciative tone in the resignation letter. After all, you did benefit from the network, resources, support and learning and development opportunities during your time with the company. For a touch of nicety, add a couple of sentences to communicate how much you appreciate the opportunities you were given to grow professionally during your time with the firm, or highlight a few colleagues who have made a positive impact in your work life.
Expressing your appreciation costs you nothing, and the last thing you want is to come across as an ungrateful individual. You may also need your boss to serve as a reference for you when finding your next job, and they are more likely to put in a good word for you if they feel appreciated.
4. an offer to help with the transition
One thing to include in your resignation letter that your boss will surely appreciate is an offer to help them with the work transition. This could take the form of drawing up a smoother transition plan for your team that includes clear and detailed information about your roles and responsibilities to ensure a proper handover. You may even help your boss in the search or training of your replacement.
Do not be that person who dropped everything and left the cleaning up for others to do. If you do so, you may burn bridges with your ex-colleagues and bosses, whom you may meet in the future if you stay in the same industry. It will also affect your future job searches should your potential employer call your company as part of their vetting process. Instead, for a smoother transition, do yourself a favour and offer assistance where possible without taking on more responsibilities during your notice period.
here is a resignation letter sample you can use
The first body paragraph should state the 'purpose of the resignation letter', followed by the 'end date', gratitude' and the 'transition details'.
Dear [Manager’s name],
Please accept this letter as formal notification of my resignation from [current position title] at [company’s name].
As stated in the employment contract and previously agreed upon, my last working day after clearing my balance annual leave days is [dd/mm/yy].
I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities the company has given me throughout the years. It’s been an amazing experience being part of a wonderful team and I truly appreciate all the valuable skills that I’ve acquired during my time here, all of which I will take with me throughout my career.
During my notice period, I’ll do everything possible to wrap up my duties and hand over my existing projects to my team members. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can do to ensure a smooth transition.
I wish the company continued success, and I hope to stay in touch in the future.
[Your signature and name]
when is the best time of day to give resignation?
Ideally, the best time to resign is in the late afternoon. Turning your notice letters on a Monday or Tuesday will give your bosses and colleagues time to react and plan for your transition.
Blindsiding your boss by leaving the letter of resignation on their desk is never a good idea. Employers need to understand your reasons for leaving and how much time they have to find someone to replace you to relieve the team of additional work. Therefore, it is wise to have a conversation with your direct manager about your plans to move on before you submit your formal resignation letter.
Take a deep breath and focus on the facts. You’re leaving your employer for another company that is able to meet your salary expectations, has great employee benefits and could offer you the development opportunities you desire.
don’t let your emotions take over
One thing to be mindful about is to not use your resignation letter as a channel to air your grievances. Although the resignation letter lets you open up about the reason for your departure, you should keep it in a professional manner. Try not to be negative and leave any personal feelings or money matters out. Even if you hate your current job or can’t stand the place any second longer, you should never list your complaints or vent your anger in the letter.
A nasty resignation letter speaks volumes about your negative personality traits. Not parting ways amicably could hinder potential job opportunities especially when your future employers or recruiters contact your employers directly for a reference check.
Keep in mind that you would need to maintain a good long-term professional connection with your ex-boss and ex-colleagues. Your ex-boss can prepare a letter of recommendation which will benefit you when finding a new job. As the old saying goes, “Don’t burn bridges because you might have to walk over it one day”.
It’s a small world, and you are bound to run into the same people again, especially if you work in the same industry or live in the same city. Therefore, it is important to resign with grace and be respectful of your colleagues in the process and leave on good terms.
what's your next step after tendering your resignation?
Moving on isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but sometimes you need to do just that to continue your career development and personal growth. By writing your resignation letter, you have already taken the first step. Our specialist recruiters are always on standby to guide you to the next milestone in your career journey.
Discover other possibilities and explore a new job. Browse our job listings and find out the latest roles in the market. Alternatively, tell us what you are looking for and when an opportunity comes by that matches your career needs, you’ll be the first to know.