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Resignation Letter Writing Guidelines

Guidelines for Writing Resignation Letters and Emails


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Whether or not you are leaving your job on good terms with the company and your boss, you should always write a formal letter of resignation. Here are guidelines to follow when crafting a resignation letter.

Resignation Letter Guidelines

Resignation Letter Length: Keep your letter of resignation concise; you do not want to write pages and pages about your new job or why you dislike your current one. Most resignation letters are no more than one typed page.

Font and Size: Use a traditional font such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri. Your font size should be between 10 and 12 points.

Format: A resignation letter should be single-spaced with a space between each paragraph. Use about 1" margins and align your text to the left (the alignment for most business documents).

Accuracy: Be sure to edit your resignation letter before mailing it. Show your resignation letter to a career counselor if you want someone else to check it over for you.

Email or Mail: It is always best to resign in person, and then follow up by sending a letter of resignation. However, if circumstances do not allow you to speak to your manager in person and you need to let them know right away, you can send a resignation email. This email should follow the same guidelines as a formal resignation letter.

How to Organize a Resignation Letter

Header: A resignation letter should begin with both you and the employer's contact information (name, title, company name, address, phone number, email) followed by the date. If this is an email rather than an actual letter, include your contact information at the end of the letter, after your signature.

Salutation: Address the letter to your manager. Use his or her formal title ("Dear Mr./Mrs./Dr. XYZ)

Paragraph 1: State that you are resigning and include the date on which your resignation will be effective. Check your contract to see how much notice you are required to give your manager.

Paragraph 2: (Optional) If you want, you can say why you are leaving (i.e. you are beginning another job, you are going back to school, you are taking time off), but this is not necessary. If you do choose to say why you are leaving, be positive - focus on where you are going next, not on what you disliked about your current job.

Paragraph 3: (Optional) Unless you know you will be completely unavailable, say that you are willing to help with the transition that your leaving will cause.

Paragraph 5: (Optional) If you would like a letter of reference from your manager, you can ask for it here.

Paragraph 4: (Optional) Thank your manager for the opportunity to work for the company. If you had a particularly good experience, you can go into a bit more detail about what you appreciate about the job (the people you worked with, the projects you worked on, etc).

Close: Use a kind but formal signoff, such as "Sincerely" or "Yours Sincerely."

Signature: End with your signature, handwritten, followed by your typed name. If this is an email, simply include your typed name, followed by your contact information.

What Not to Include in Your Letter

If you disliked the job, there is no need to say so in your letter. You do not want to make any enemies - after all, you may need to ask your manager for a recommendation. However, if you plan on making any sort of legal claim against your employer for wrongful treatment, etc., it may be in your best interest to leave out this section.

Resignation Samples

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