How to Write a Resignation Letter?

How to write a resignation letter is a question that every employee has to answer at some point of time, during their career. Are there any perfect ways to write a resignation letter, you might wonder? 

Actually, there’re superb ways how to write a resignation letter. Provided you’ll spend some time and effort to outline what you want to tell an employer while leaving services.

Unfortunately, not many people know how to write a resignation letter and fewer people spend time thinking about creating one. All that despite knowing it’s an important document for your future career.

How To Write A Resignation Letter

Results of Improper Resignation Letters

As a result, countless people across the world use ready-to-use templates that are freely available on the Internet while submitting a resignation.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong in doing so. Unfortunately, a fixed resignation template that’s easily available online might not exactly convey what you wish to tell your employer. 

Nor would it tell your future employer some vital details they require before taking you on board.

Worse, you could be committing a colossal blunder of your career by sending in a wrong resignation letter.

And most likely, you might end up without getting paid for services, despite having superb relations with an employer or end up damaging the perfect, healthy relationship altogether by not sending a resignation letter.

In fact, a resignation letter isn’t just something that you’ll write to inform an employer that you’ll be leaving the services of that organization. It’s got a larger utility and importance than most of us would ever imagine.

Importance of a Resignation Letter

If you’re thinking about why a resignation letter is important, continue reading. In fact, these are the same reasons why you should write a proper resignation letter.

Records of Your Services

A resignation letter is a record of your service with any employer, regardless of whether it’s a small home-based business or a large corporation. It states vital details such as your designation and tenure of service.

Employer Name & Address

Furthermore, a resignation letter also indicates details such as your employer’s name and address as well as any officials in charge of Human Resources and Administration. This makes it easy for a future employer to find some details about your work, if absolutely necessary.

Employee Background Screening

Nowadays, most companies engage conduct pre-employment Employment Background Screening. This means they’ll hire an independent agency that checks and verifies your credentials including educational qualifications, designations and tenures at previous employers among other details.

Handover of Charge

 A proper resignation letter would also indicate whether you’ve handed over the charge of your work to a designated colleague or senior. Or, your willingness to hand over the charge, even if that wasn’t done for any reason. This signifies responsible behavior since you’ve given time and opportunity for an employer to ask someone to assume your role or take care of your duties after you’re not working with them.

Settlement of Dues

As a rule, a resignation letter also contains clauses about your dues from the employer. This is extremely important since a past employer cannot file lawsuits against you for any damages to their organization, once you leave. Settling dues means you provided the employer with ample time to check your work and pay for it.

Proof of Service

In some instances, a resignation letter can actually serve as proof of service or an employment certificate. There could be instances where you’ve misplaced an appointment letter or job contract or it wasn’t served at all for any reason. And a certificate of employment that states that you’re an employee of that organization might also not be available. In such rare instances, a resignation letter duly stamped and signed by the official in charge or the business owner serves as proof of your service.

The above six points clearly indicate the significance of a resignation letter.

Writing a Resignation Letter

These six points also highlight that it’s very important to write a proper resignation letter and not just a one-liner or terse, a short one, regardless of the reason. A well written resignation letter also speaks well about your business etiquette. 

Therefore, use these simple tips to write a superb resignation letter that speaks well about you and doesn’t damage relationships with a past employer.

Also read: Simple 2 Week Resignation Letter with Samples & Templates

Decide on Reasons for Leaving

People leave the services of any organization for countless reasons. One could be unfavorable working conditions while the other could be lower pay.

Lack of appreciation and overwork are also some reasons for employee attrition. Finding a higher position or better pay also form reasons for leaving the services of an employer.

Regardless of the reasons, it’s best to be very diplomatic while writing a resignation letter.

Never point out you’re leaving due to inherent flaws with the employer or your colleagues because you’ll damage what could be healthy relations.

A common mistake that most people commit, albeit inadvertently while writing a resignation letter is to state they’re leaving for better prospects.

This gives rise to a question: why did you take that job in the first place if there were no future prospects? Hence, avoid this term “better prospects” at all costs.

Instead, you could use reasons for leaving such as “trying to widen experience in the field with other employers,” or something equally diplomatic and ambiguous.

Decide on the reason for leaving and keep it vague rather than being blunt and hurtful to the employer. Who knows: you might have to seek a job there once again or need to return for any reason.

Choose the Right Time

You might wish to resign in haste. However, does your resignation put the proverbial spanner in the works of your employer?

If so, delay your resignation by a few weeks, if possible. Selecting the right time to resign is as important as writing the resignation letter itself.

Because an ill-timed resignation letter can send absolutely wrong feelers everywhere.

For one, such a resignation letter might convey that you’re saber-rattling or threatening the employer by leaving the company when your services are most needed for any reason. Such threats could be for salary raises or promotions.

Also, an ill-timed resignation letter can imply that you’re irresponsible and want to flee any additional work that’s risen for any reason. 

There’s one way to choose the right time to leave. And that’s by giving the employer a much longer or double than the mandatory notice period. This provides an employer to prepare for your exit from the company.

Notice Period

While on the topic of the notice period, here’s something that you should do. Always mention the exact date on which your notice period begins and ends.

That means you’re not leaving an employer in the lurch. It gives the employer a lot of time to arrange for manpower to take over your role in the organization.

Correctly mentioning the notice period is also a clear indicator that you’re not running away from the company for any reason. It shows that you alerted the employer of your departure and gave sufficient time to clear job related issues if any.

Also, cite the number of days that your employment letter or job contract specifies as a notice period. If it’s 30 days, mention that clearly. 

In case, there’s no notice period, serve at least seven days prior to intimation to your employer that you’re leaving.

This again is part of business and corporate etiquette which will come in handy during your career. Because leaving a job abruptly saying you won’t be here from tomorrow or the next day indicates a very poor sense of responsibility.

Write the Date of Joining

Obviously, there’s a date when you began working with the employer. And that has a special significance on your resignation letter too.

Because it will clearly show the number of months or years or even days that you’ve been working with any particular employer.

Regardless of the reasons for leaving, a future employer would definitely want to see how long you were serving at the previous or even current job.

That’s because no employer wants to hire job-hoppers that change employment at the proverbial drop of the hat. They’ll worry that you’ll leave the new job too.

Remember, a new hire costs an organization anything between $4,000 and $4,500 by means of advertising and manpower, selection process and training for the new role.

And no employer in their right brains would waste that money on job-hoppers or people that are frequently changing jobs for any reason.

State Your Designation/s

One more very common blunder that I come across on resignation letters is not mentioning the designations or position held by the employee.

This can happen due to various reasons such as writing a resignation letter in haste or apathy towards the employer or even mere forgetfulness. In any case, this is in absolutely poor taste to the present employer and future ones too.

And above all, you’ll miss out on using a resignation letter as a resource to further your own career.

How’s that? Simple. You might have an appointment letter or job contract stating your position. But where are the guarantees you held that position at the time of leaving? Maybe you were demoted.

Now, look at it the other way. You joined a company at one designation. Thanks to hard work and dedication, you rose up the echelons with frequent promotions. Isn’t that worth mentioning on a resignation letter? 

Therefore, list every designation that you’ve held with the organization, right from the day that you began working there to the one you’re holding now. Also, mention the dates when you were promoted. 

This sends a good message to any future employers while the resignation letter also becomes a record of your services. Because it shows upwards career growth.

Handing Over Charge

Returning to something I earlier mentioned in this article, include the clause about handing over a charge of your work to any person the employer designates.

By doing so, you’re absolving yourself of any future problems the employer could face due to your exit.

Also, your employer cannot claim that you left suddenly without handing over the charge of your role to someone, which caused some harm to the organization.

As a rule, always ask the employer to designate someone within the organization to take over the charge from you before the notice period ends and your services won’t be available.

Often, handing over a charge can be a long process. It might involve getting clearances from external stakeholders or introducing the new person in your role to others.

The handover clause also serves as a deadline for the employer to designate someone in your place. And leaves you free to stop working with the employer while taking a new job, without any burden of the previous one.

Ask for Settlement of Your Dues

Certainly, you aren’t working for free or doing charity to an employer. Instead, you’re working there for a fixed salary and perks.

Therefore, it’s only fair enough to ask for a full and final settlement of your dues when you’re leaving services.

Under labor laws, no employer can withhold or delay your dues unless there’re genuine reasons such as deductibles and liabilities to honor such as salary advance or loans from the company.

Ask your employer to settle all your dues on or before the last working date.

Though you might enjoy a superb relationship with the employer, mentioning this date affords you some protection against any delays in getting paid for your work.

Understandably, an employer might agree to pay you at a later date due to payroll cycles. You can accept such an arrangement if you trust the employer.

Asking for settlement shows that you’re not leaving due to any losses or damage caused to the organization when looking for future jobs.

Addressing the Resignation Letter

Whom should you address a resignation letter? The obvious answer to this question is the person that signed your appointment letter or offer letter or job contract.

That’s because the business owner or corporation invests power in this person to manage manpower. It could be an HR or Admin manager or even someone in charge of operations.

Never address your resignation letter to the business owner or the person to whom you report for work. A business owner might not have the time to read your resignation letter and it might lie unattended for weeks.

And the immediate senior might not have adequate powers to accept the letter, arrange for handover and final settlement of dues.

Subject Line

I’ve come across quite a few cases where employees try to sugarcoat their resignation letter by using ridiculous and sometimes laughable subject lines.

Fear of rejection and hesitation to harm an employer’s sentiments or just sheer decency are reasons they do so. While your reasons for sugarcoating a resignation letter’s subject line or title are noble enough, it’s not really necessary to do so.

Instead, I strongly suggest you simply call the spade a spade and use the term ‘Notice & Resignation Letter’ as the subject line.

This leaves no room for ambiguity and conveys a sense of urgency among the person to whom it’s addressed. Because employers take resignation letters very seriously.

It’s a harbinger of future hiring costs and training and possibly, loss of performance and productivity.

Use of Pleasantries

You can use a few normal pleasantries while writing a resignation letter, without overdoing so.

For example, it’s good etiquette to thank an employer for providing an opportunity to develop your career, the management for easing your work during the tenure and colleagues for their teamwork.

Be careful not to mention anyone by name while thanking them for their role in your work or stay at the company.

And while signing off, it’s good to wish the employer and other staff. This shows you’re leaving an organization while maintaining excellent relations.

This comes in handy while looking for jobs. If you’ve to seek a future job with the same employer, this would prove useful because you’ve left without creating discord.

These pleasantries send a good feeling all around- to those handling your resignation, employer, colleagues and self.

In Conclusion

The above tips would clearly indicate why I don’t personally favor anyone using fixed templates as a resignation letter.

With some thought and effort, you can write that amazing resignation letter that’s useful for various purposes during your career.

A resignation letter need not mere piece of paper to sever a relationship with an employer. Instead, it can be a vital resource for career growth.