If you’re planning on telling your boss you’re leaving, you’ll need to write a resignation letter. But knowing exactly what should go into it isn’t always easy, especially if your decision to leave was a difficult one.
So how do you get this crucial document right? Here are my top tips for writing and handing in a great cover letter.
When should you write your resignation letter?
Some write their resignation letter before they meet their manager to announce they’re leaving; others prefer to do it afterwards. Based on my conversations with managers, my advice is to get it done before.
As I mentioned in my last article, preparation is key when sitting down with your manager to discuss your plans to leave. Having your cover letter completed before you go in can help ensure you go into the meeting with a clear head.
It’s always worthwhile printing a signed copy of the letter to give your manager after the meeting, as well as sending over an emailed version to protect you from ‘lost’ letters. Some would tell you to take the letter to the meeting, but that’s likely to cause immediate suspicion from those around you in the office and risks starting the conversation with your manager off on the wrong foot.
What should I include in my resignation letter?
Although your resignation letter is certainly an important document, it doesn’t require a huge amount of detail. It should include:
Notice of termination of employment
When this is effective from
It’s also a good idea to take the time to thank your employer. Doing so will help you leave on the right note and can go a long way towards ensuring a civil and professional resignation process.
If you’re having trouble structuring your resignation letter, please use our resignation letter template below, which you can adapt based on your circumstances.
Dear [Manager’s Name],
Please accept this letter as formal notification of my intention to resign from my position as [job title] with [company name]. In accordance with my notice period, my final day will be [date of last day].
I would like to take this chance to thank you for the opportunity to have worked in the position for the past [time in employment]. I have learned a great deal during my time here and have enjoyed collaborating with my colleagues. I will take a lot of what I have learned with me in my career and will look back at my time here as a valuable period of my professional life.
During the next [notice period in weeks] I will do what I can to make the transition as smooth as possible, and will support in whatever way I can to hand over my duties to colleagues or to my replacement. Please let me know if there is anything further I can do to assist in this process.
What shouldn’t I include in my resignation letter?
Acting emotionally when writing your resignation letter isn’t a good idea. There’s no need to list your reasons for leaving in your cover letter, and if you have any grievances and decide to spell them out in your letter, this will only reflect badly on you. Remember that your cover letter is a lasting record, and don’t let your emotions get the better of you in the heat of the moment.
If you do want to give specific reasons as to why you have decided to leave, a face-to-face meeting will suffice and ensures you have acted professionally throughout the process.
What happens afterwards?
Now that you’ve told your manager you’re leaving and handed in your cover letter, it’s time to serve your notice period. But what if you receive a tempting counteroffer? In the next article I’ll outline what to do if your manager tries to make you an offer you can’t refuse.
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