Writing a Resignation Letter

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Writing a Resignation Letter

The time has come for you to change jobs and you’ve landed the position you wanted. Now you have to tell your boss and you need a letter of resignation. Here are some guidelines to keep you out of trouble. First, NEVER hand in a letter of resignation until you have a firm, written and accepted job offer. There are too many sad stories of someone who had a verbal offer, gave notice and then never actually got the job. Imagine the embarrassment of going back to your boss and telling him that you’re not leaving (as well as the negative impact it will have on your career). So make sure you have a legally binding (written) offer before you give notice.

Next figure out how much notice you wish to give. I love this time in a career and I call it career-limbo as nothing bad can happen – they can’t fire you because you already quit and you can’t mess up the new job because you haven’t started. So you may wish to stay a bit longer so you can relax a bit. Unless you are in sales (and they walk you out the door that day) most people give 2-3 weeks notice depending on their position.

What do you do if there is a major project going on and your employer wants you to stay longer? First you need to decide if you are willing to give that time and if the new employer is willing to wait for you. Secondly, consider whether you should ask for additional compensation. After all, the new job pays more and here’s a week or more that you’re not getting that extra pay. Play this card carefully as you may want the money but you don’t want to anger the employer as you will need them for a reference. These details should be considered before you give notice so you are not caught off-guard.

Now compose the letter. This is the easy part as a resignation letter should not be very long. There are only 3 parts. Your first paragraph should state that you are resigning effective such-and-such date. The second paragraph should tell them how much you enjoyed working there. And the third and final paragraph should indicate that you are willing to assist in any way to ensure a smooth transition.

That’s it! Even if you and your boss hate each other and the CEO was engaged in illegal activities, you should NEVER say anything negative that could cause a bad reference. You never know when your paths will cross again.