So you’ve landed an exciting new job – Congratulations! Once you’ve made the decision to move on from your current company, the next step is to let your boss and HR know. The conversation with your boss should be a one-on-one, in-person discussion, and it should be your first step. Once you’ve done that, though, your next step should be to turn your resignation letter into HR.
Writing a good resignation letter is as much of an art form as a good resume or cover letter, and you should give it as much attention.
The first part of your resignation letter should be concise and to the point. State the position you’re leaving, and the date of your last day of work. That date should be a minimum of two weeks out from the date of your resignation letter. This part of your letter should be short. “Dear [Boss’s Name], This letter serves as notice that I will be resigning from my position of [position name] of [company name], effective [date at least 2 weeks in the future].
Say thank you
Thank your boss for the opportunities you’ve had at your current company. Mention specific growth opportunities and projects you’ve worked on that have contributed to your professional growth.
Have a transition plan
Most of the time, your boss doesn’t know that you’re planning to leave. Which means they’re going to need time to formulate a plan to replace you and distribute any work you’re currently working on. In your resignation letter, you should explain your plan to help with those items. Suggest co-workers who can take over your projects, and reiterate that you will assist with the transition, helping to find your replacement or train a replacement once they’ve been found.
Outline your current workload
This is optional, but if you have several projects currently in progress, you can mention them and lay out exactly where you are in each of them. If you’re managing a department or any of these projects are collaborations with other departments, this can be especially important. Even though this is optional, it’s helpful to the co-workers you’ll be leaving behind, and can only help the impression you’re leaving behind.
Give follow-up contact information
This piece is optional, too, but if you’re comfortable with it, you can let your boss know how they can reach you in the event of an emergency, or are comfortable with them coming to you as a resource in the future.
Do not be negative
No matter the reason you’re leaving your current company, your resignation letter is not the place to air your grievances. Stick to the facts, remain professional, and if there are specific complaints about the position or the company that have contributed to your decision to leave, discuss those in a face-to-face meeting with your boss. Your resignation letter isn’t the place for those.
Moving on to a new position can be very exciting, but it’s important to remember that you don’t want to burn bridges. Not only can an unprofessional exit follow you to your next company, you never know when you’ll need a reference from your previous employer. So remain professional, give the pertinent details, and leave emotion out of it.