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How to Write the Perfect Resignation Letter

How to Write the Perfect Resignation Letter

by David Landau

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At some point in your career, it’s likely you’ll leave your job and need to write and submit a resignation letter. Whilst each person’s reasons for resigning may differ, the intention remains the same; to inform their current employer of their intention to terminate their employment agreement.

Even though average tenures are declining, the requirement for most people to submit one is still a fairly infrequent one. This means that, as recruiters, one of the most common questions we’re asked is: what should I include in my resignation letter?

Although it’s not a legal requirement, most employers utilise the document as part of their exit process, as it acts as proof that you’re voluntarily terminating your employment with them. Ultimately, providing a well-written departure notice is not only good practice, but it can also help to maintain a positive relationship with your employer and Manager. This can be a great help if you ever decide to return to that employer, need a reference or happen to come across the Manager working at another company!

If you’re looking to leave on the best terms possible, read on for our guide on how to write the perfect one as well as a sample resignation template to ease the process.

Key Components

First and foremost, it’s important to keep your letter simple and straightforward and limit it to a single page. The basics include the following:

  • Your name, your job title and address are standard practice.
  • The date of the letter.
  • Your Manager’s name, company and address.
  • The reason for the letter as being a resignation from your position. For example, "Please accept this letter as formal notification of my resignation as [insert job title]. 
  • Your proposed end date and notice period. This can follow on from the above, "As per my employment contract, I am offering a four week notice period with my last day being ( the date in four weeks time)". 
  • Your signature

Our sample resignation letter template is a good place to start. Click the button below to download your copy.

  Download our Resignation Letter Template   

In addition to the above key components, it’s a good idea to adhere to best practice and include the following:

OFFER TO HELP

 Despite the resignation from your position, make it clear that you are willing to offer support during the handover. Also, reassure your Manager that your standard of work will be maintained and that you’ll do everything in your power to ensure a smooth transition. This could include preparing information about key accounts or contacts as well as pivotal dates for certain tasks to be completed. Alternatively, you could offer to assist with finding and training your replacement. This will ensure you will leave your job in a positive light and leave a lasting impression.

Express Your Gratitude

When you address your Manager, express genuine gratitude for the opportunity to learn and develop professionally under their guidance. Pay attention to some of the key aspects of the role that you've enjoyed and focus on the positive experiences. Its worthwhile remembering that you may meet your manager down the line again in another capacity and showing your appreciation will go a long way in reaping rewards even after your resignation from your position. 

State Why You’re Departing

It’s also a good idea to be very clear on the reason behind your departure and that you’ve settled on your decision so that you’re better prepared to handle a potential counter-offer situation, should one arise. Counter-offers rarely address the reasons you’re moving on, so unless one does truly tackle the issues that led to your resignation, prepare a polite and respectful response in advance.

Help Through the Transition

Within the accounting industry in Sydney the typical notice period is four weeks, however, generally, the more senior the role the longer the notice period. For an employer, this period is one of the toughest to manage; not only do they have to find a replacement for you in a short space of time, but they also must ensure the business continues to function as usual while you’re working your notice. Therefore, whatever your formal notice period is, it’s important to highlight your commitment to support them through this.

Avoid Negativity

Although it might seem obvious, we see this mistake routinely being made. Leave out any criticism, even if it’s constructive, and don’t include anything that vilifies colleagues or bosses. If you have something to get off your chest that you feel could help the organisation, then raise this in your exit interview rather than in written form. It’s also a good idea to stay clear of asking for a recommendation or reference, as it’s best to ask in person once the dust has settled.

Handing in Your Notice

When handing in your notice, it’s best practice is to print it out and leave the hard copy with your Manager. You can then follow this up with a digital copy, which can be passed on to the Human Resources department if needed. When you do this, avoid copying your text into the body of the email. Instead, convert your Word document to a PDF and attach it. Not only is it considered professional but this will also help prevent any possible disputes that could arise.

Summary

When done correctly, a well-written exit notice can maintain the relationships you’ve built in your time at a workplace, and pave the way for a great recommendation. However, if you rush into resigning, you risk damaging your professional connections and reputation. To get started, use our resignation letter template.

If you’d like more in-depth advice on how to approach your job search or resignation, feel free to get in touch with one of our specialist Accounting recruiters.

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