One of the momentous times in your life is leaving a job. Hopefully, this means moving up, maybe increasing your salary, maybe even starting your own business. But when doing so, it’s important to keep your boss and co-workers in your network. One way to keep relations healthy is to be careful how you write your resignation letter. Here are some pointers.
1. Short and Sweet
The resignation letter, of course, fulfills a very specific purpose, and it does need to stick to it. Avoid digressions of any kind. This will keep you from letting complaints or criticisms of the organization from sneaking in.
2. Mention a Few Positives
Though your letter is to be brief, that doesn’t mean you don’t have room for a couple of specific positives. For example, you may thank your boss for mentoring or for giving you a chance to work on a particular project, etc. This is a wonderful way of signaling that you want to keep channels open as you leave the company.
3. Avoid Humor
A resignation letter can be a serious matter, and it can feel very uncomfortable for an employee. Sometimes, one runs into a desire to be humorous as a way of lightening the mood. This, however, is a bit too risky for the situation. Humor is very easily misinterpreted. It can get in the way of the good impression you’re attempting to make.
4. Mention the Future
Now, this is optional, and it depends on the circumstances of your departure. However, while keeping the letter brief, mentioning the future can be positive, too. One reason for this is that it can keep the letter from seeming too terse. Mentioning that you have found another position can put a positive spin on the letter, since it emphasizes a reason for your departure other than dissatisfaction in your job.
There is also the fascinating issue of asking your soon-to-be-former boss for a reference in the future. This is not at all out of line or considered to be inappropriate in a resignation letter.
It can be a sign of good will between you and your boss, and a sign that you feel you are leaving under good graces.
When bringing up a reference, rather than flatly asking for it, you may say, “I’d like to discuss the possibility of…” or “I hope that you’ll be willing…” etc.
Your resignation letter will be kept in a file that your now-former employer has for you.
It’s important to be very professional it it, and to use it to keep relations friendly.