How to Write a Resignation Letter

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Flight attendants exiting in grand style down the emergency slide, employees quitting with videos that go viral or via rants on social media – surely you yourself have dreamt up your own a creative way to throw in the towel.

But that’s why we have a little something called “impulse control.” While these devil-may-care methods of moving on are certainly gutsy, the glory is sure to fade quickly and the effects can be lasting.

Everything inside you may be screaming to let your frustrations loose on the folks who employed you at a salary below your worth, belittled your capabilities, and kept you from getting ahead – but don’t do it. Keep in mind that living well is always the best revenge. In this day and age, where Google searches on candidates are part of the screening process, you’ll want to leave a clean and positive image behind rather than scenes of destruction.

Now, if we can all agree that grand exits are better left to the imagination, here are a few pointers to help you navigate that more practical alternative, the resignation letter:

1. It Will Live in Your File Forever

Your resignation letter is a living document that may be referenced in the future. It is not a place to air grievances, list everything you think is wrong with the company, or place blame. Even though you may think you’ll never come back, future changes in management might turn this company into a place where you’d be open to working again. Besides, your criticism of the organization, at this point, serves no purpose and can only do you harm. Hopefully, you’ll have an exit interview where you can offer constructive feedback about your experiences. Save the negatives for that conversation. Don’t put them on paper.

2. Get Right to the Point

You’ll want to very plainly state that you are resigning: “Dear Bob, Please accept this letter as my formal resignation.”

3. Address the Facts

You should include the period of notice you are giving (two weeks, four weeks), the title of the position you are resigning from, and the last day of your employment: “As of (date two weeks or more from the dated letter), I will be vacating the role of marketing manager at XYZ.”

4. Soften the Blow

Let them know that you will make every effort to ensure a smooth transition.

5. Bid Them Adieu

Thank them for the opportunity and experience you’ve had while working with them and wish them continued success in the future.

Remember, this is a formal notification, and it should be brief, to-the-point, and cordial. There’s no reason for emotions to enter the picture – especially negative ones. You never know when you might need someone to write you a recommendation!

A version of this article originally appeared on the Atrium Staffing blog.

Michele Mavi is Atrium Staffing ‘s resident career expert.

By Michele Mavi