Congratulations! You secured your perfect job and you are over the moon. But now what?

I regularly get asked for advice about this topic - How to Write a Resignation Letter. It is one of those things that you want to do right, but as it isn’t something you do often, it can be a little confusing. How do you do it, what do you need to include and how should you put it all together? I have all the answers for you, my dear! I have even included a download link for a free resignation letter template - today must be your lucky day!

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Free Resignation Letter Template - How to write a resignation letter

WHO SHOULD YOU RESIGN TO?

Usually, the person you should resign to is your direct supervisor, though this may be different in your organisation. If you are not sure, perhaps you could approach your HR department and ask for advice. Otherwise, I would suggest providing your resignation to your manager and asking them if there is anyone else that you need to notify.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO INCLUDE?

A resignation letter is just like any other formal letter and should be set out as such. For this reason, it should include your contact details and should correctly address the person you are resigning to. One way of structuring a resignation letter is like this:

  • Your contact details - Name, address and phone number
  • Your employers contact details - Name and address
  • Greeting - Dear XXX,
  • Notice of Resignation including:
    • The position you are resigning from - Your job title
    • The amount of notice you are providing - How many days/weeks/months’ notice you are providing?
    • Your final date of employment - What day are you finishing?
  • Your gratitude - Give thanks for the opportunity
  • Closing statement - Send best wishes and mention the handover if appropriate
  • Sign off - Kind regards, Your Signature and Name

WHEN SHOULD YOU RESIGN?

If you are planning to resign, you must find your original employment contract or agreement and double check how much notice is required. I cannot stress this point enough - guessing could land you in some hot water!

Most of the time, employers are flexible and they are willing to negotiate notice periods so that you can come to a mutually beneficial outcome. Unfortunately though this is not always the case and things can become a lot harder to deal with if your employer will be short staffed or otherwise at a loss if you leave before your notice period has finished. You want to make sure that you are doing the right thing for yourself and your employer as well as making sure you stay on the right side of the law – an employment contract is a legally binding contract and if you signed it, you should be prepared to meet your commitments.

What you should be aware of:

  1. The length of your notice period can vary depending on your award, enterprise agreement or individual contract, which is why it is important to double check. Note that your notice period can also depend how long you have been with the company.
  2. If you don't provide your employer with notice (or enough notice according to your specific agreement), they may be entitled to withhold your wages for the amount of notice you were required to provide. For example, if your contract stated that you need to give two weeks notice and you don't provide any, your employer could withhold up to two weeks of your pay as compensation.
  3. You need to be careful about giving too much notice. Although you may be trying to do the right thing by your employer, they can choose to decline the additional time and just ask you to work through the required notice period. If you don't plan correctly, this could mean that you have a significant gap between your current job and your new opportunity, which may cause you financial stress.

If you are in Australia, head to FairWork Australia for more information about your obligations.

Your Mama always told you not to burn bridges.
Write your resignation letter the right way.

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WHY SHOULD YOU PUT IN THE EFFORT?

Many have asked - "What is the point of writing a lovely resignation letter? You're leaving!" I get it, you are excited about your new job and you just want to get out of where you are so that you can get started. But you don't want to burn bridges. No matter what the circumstances are, you should do your very best to leave on good terms and part of that is writing a gracious resignation letter. After all:

  • You may want to come back one day - I have had several employees that came back after resigning, one who came back twice! That door would not have been open if they slammed it shut when they left the first time.
  • Your employer could be called for a reference - Even if you haven't nominated your manager as a referee, they could still get a call and you don't want one of their final memories of you to be an impolite resignation.
  • Your resignation letter will go onto your HR file and you never know when a nasty letter could come back to bite you on the bum!

So when you are writing your resignation letter:

  • You should thank your employer for the opportunities/ support/ encouragement/ training etc that they have given you during your employment.
  • Consider mentioning anyone else who has had a positive impact on your employment, whether that be another manager, mentor, colleague, support person or team.
  • Wish your employer all the best in the future, whether in general or in a specific context (like within a particular project or campaign).

HOW SHOULD YOU RESIGN?

The same way you would break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend - in person! Resignations are ideally done in person, with a printed and signed copy of your resignation letter, but I acknowledge that sometimes that is just not possible because of differing locations or other circumstances that prevent you arranging a face to face meeting.

The second best case scenario would be to resign by telephone, but you should always, ALWAYS follow up the conversation with a written resignation. Remember, your resignation letter will go onto your HR file and you want to make sure that everything is finalised correctly. Putting your resignation in writing also means that there is less chance for confusion - you have provided all of the relevant details, including your finishing date and this can't be second guessed down the track.

As I have already mentioned, you want to make sure that you leave your employer on good terms. So, it sort of goes without saying that you should NEVER resign by text message or email. That is just unprofessional and I just know that is not your style.

You wouldn't break up with your boyfriend via text -
show your employer the same respect!

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WHERE SHOULD YOU GO FOR ADVICE ABOUT YOUR CAREER?

Pop Your Career of course! I know, I know... blatant self-promotion is cheesy - but I wanted to give you the Who, What. When, Why, How and Where and I couldn't think of another Where question! Check out these other posts for more information about finding and securing your dream job!

5 Signs your Resume drives like a Red Sportscar

Turn your Cover Letter into a (professional) Love Letter

How to win at a Behavioural Interview

How to ask for a Pay Rise

There you have it – my top tips for writing a resignation letter. Don’t forget to download your FREE Resignation Letter Template and please, share this post with your friends!

When was the last time you had to write a resignation letter? Got any interesting resignation stories? Tell all in the comments!

Becca xo

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This is something I get asked about all the time - How to write a Resignation Letter. Here are the answers to all of your questions (and a FREE template!) ~ Pop Your Career

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