One of the best job hunting tips you can receive is to always leave your former employer in good standing. A well written resignation letter is a good way to start. People do not always resign for good reasons. Often anger, resentment, or disappointment creep in as a motivation for leaving a company. Because of this, a letter of resignation becomes you best opportunity to smooth out any feathers that have been ruffled.
This letter stays in the file long after the closing events have faded from memory.
If you need a reference or should happen to reapply for a position at that company, the letter of resignation can serve as an introduction to new managers and human resource personnel. It also can become the document most considered when future employers contact the company for a reference. Taking the time to produce an excellent letter of resignation is worth the effort.
Start the letter in a matter of fact style.
Flowery language and nice comments have a place in a letter of resignation. However, it is best to state your reason for the letter in the first sentence or two. You may even wish to express regret that you must sever your employment ties with the company. These sentences should set the tone for the rest of the letter. Using soft language that is not offensive is the best way to go. If you get to involved in making the beginning sound too flattering or overly kind, the letter will loose the element of sincerity which is important in a letter of resignation.
Avoid trying to recap the highlights of your work experience with the company.
Spending too much time telling about projects that you have worked on or accomplished can sound like bragging. The purpose of the letter is not to convey the idea that they are losing a great employee. It is to tell them that you are leaving a good company. Bragging on your own accomplishments in this letter can only hurt you in the long run.
Spend a few sentences giving a positive but honest appraisal of your relationship with the company.
This is not the time to blast an ineffective boss or to complain about the size of your last raise. Use this portion of the letter to say things that will mend fences and build new relational bridges. You received paychecks from this company for a period of time. Almost every job teaches you something that you did not know. Almost everyone makes a few new friends on a job. These are the kinds of things you should express gratitude for in a letter of resignation. Every job is an opportunity to earn money that is given to you by an employer. Thank them for it.
Always try to leave the door open for a return to this company.
Unless you know that you were a bad employee or the company is going out of business, you might ask them for a job in the future. Near the end of the letter of resignation, make it clear that you hope that at some time you might be able to return there to work. It is not a job application, but it should make it clear that you are not stomping off mad and might want a chance to work there again.
Even if you are angry at the company or someone who works there, keep it out of the letter of resignation.
This is the time to take the high road. If you believe that the company has treated you poorly, take this opportunity to prove yourself the bigger person. Kindness is never out of style. Although you may have been upset, you do not really know what kind of difficult situations your superior may have been working under. It could be the company policies need to be fixed, but attacking an individual is not the thing to do.
Use a standard closing to the letter.
There is no need to get fancy at the end of a letter of resignation. Simply end it with a “sincerely” or “best regards” type of close and get out. You always want a straightforward opening and closing. This will prevent you from making an unintentional mistake that will ruin the whole letter. People will read the beginning and the end, but may not get everything in the middle. So, by keeping them to the point, you will assure that you depart as a positive memory for your former boss.