Writing a Resignation Letter Without Burning Bridges

Nancy Anderson
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Writing a resignation letter is a tedious task. No matter how you feel about the overall job experience, it's wise to stay professional and positive to maintain good relationships with your boss and co-workers. A resignation letter sets the tone for your final weeks with your employer, so it's vital to learn how to quit your job without burning bridges.

A resignation letter is an official record of your departure, and it's your opportunity to let your employer know when you're leaving and whether you intend to help with training a replacement. In most cases, your boss already knows about your plans, and handing in a letter in person is a formal way to bow out and give thanks. Being respectful throughout the process allows you to exit on good terms and continue to receive referrals or references from former colleagues.

What to Include in a Resignation Letter

Keep your letter short, and stick to basic details about your next steps. A resignation letter isn't a time to air grievances or criticize your boss, so use neutral language. Start with the required statement of resignation and your last day of work, as in the following examples.

Example 1: "Please accept this letter as my formal resignation from my position as a Program Assistant, effective immediately."

Example 2: "With great sadness, I am writing to give notice of my resignation from my position as a Program Assistant. My last day of employment is two weeks from today."

Make it clear when you're resigning right away without a courtesy two week’s notice. Some employers have an immediate termination policy once they learn of your plans to resign, but others may assume you're sticking around for a few weeks. Don't leave this statement open-ended.

Follow up with a message of gratitude and a brief description of how you intend to tackle your remaining responsibilities as you prepare to leave. If this part of your resignation letter is a sore spot, be as objective as possible. Consider this example.

"My time with XYZ Company has been a valuable learning experience, and I appreciate the opportunity to work alongside skilled professionals. In my final two weeks, I plan to complete all active projects and bring my teammates up to date on any work that cannot be concluded before my departure. I'm available until (end date) to help my replacement transition into this role as smoothly as possible."

Although you aren't required to say anything more, it's a good idea to personalize a resignation letter when you have a good relationship with your boss. Try mentioning a highlight or two from your experiences to reinforce how much you value your boss's support. Going the extra mile makes you stand out as a worthwhile contact, giving managers more reason to reach out if a future opportunity arises.

Moving on is a normal part of every career. When it's time to quit your job, leave with grace instead of slinking away in shame and anger. Use your resignation letter to say goodbye in a polite, impartial way while leaving the door open to build stronger relationships. What do you find most challenging about resigning? Share your thoughts.

Photo courtesy of christ-3214 at Flickr.com


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