It can be challenging to take a calm and reasoned approach to resigning if you've been mistreated or under appreciated. However, words spoken or written in haste could come back to haunt you since you never know when staff at your company will have the opportunity to convey a negative impression regarding your work or character.
Employers tend to take the side of former employers over job candidates when checking references. Some organizations will conduct formal background checks which will go back further than your current or last job so even if you have already secured a new job, it is not wise to alienate a former employer.
What to Say When You Quit Your Job
Your resignation letter and in-person conversations should contain as many of the following elements as possible.
Thank You for the Opportunity. An expression of gratitude for the opportunity to grow in your current job or learn new skills. This might include a brief reference to specific skills or knowledge. Expressing thanks for the opportunity to work with colleagues might also fit into this category.
Why You Are Leaving. You do not need to mention the specifics of your new job or pursuit but might choose to allude to this in a general way. For example, if you were working in inside sales, you might mention that you have landed an outside sales job. If you are leaving to go back to school, relocating to care for an elderly parent or with a spouse who has found a new job, you might mention this fact. It is hard to imagine a scenario where it would be beneficial to mention (particularly in writing) anything that reflects badly on the employer or fellow employees.
Here's a list of more reasons for leaving a job to review.
Help With the Transition. If appropriate you might state that you are willing to help train a replacement or be available to answer questions after you have moved on.
Notice. Give as much notice as possible while protecting your own interests for continuing income should you get an adverse reaction. Two weeks notice is the traditional amount of notice employees give if they are not required by a contract or labor agreement to give a different amount of notice.
The Date You Are Leaving. State a specific date for your expected last day of employment.
Be Prepared to Leave - Now. Be prepared that your employer might ask you to pack up your things immediately and cut off electronic access to documents. If you have a company car, phone, laptop, or tablet you may be required to turn it in immediately.
Staying Longer? If your employer presses you to stay on longer to ease their transition and it is feasible for you to do so, consider negotiating a positive written recommendation letter or a letter of introduction in return.