The era of lifetime employment is over. Businesses often have to restructure their workforces, and some rely on freelancers rather than full-timers. Therefore, employees must constantly look for better opportunities. You may resign to accompany your family to a different city, accept a senior management position or start your own company. Whatever the reason, it's a good practice to draft a resignation letter that concludes the relationship on a positive note.
Provide your employer with sufficient notice. Companies usually require two to three weeks' notice for staff positions and longer for management positions. As a courtesy, give the employer enough time to find a permanent or temporary replacement.
Prepare the letter on a word processor. Type your address and contact information on the upper right hand corner of the first page of the letter. Write the name and title of your immediate supervisor, department head or business unit manager to whom you are formally submitting the resignation. You may also forward a copy to human resources.
Open the letter with a formal or informal salutation depending on the nature of your relationship with the addressee. For example, if you are writing to your immediate supervisor, "Dear Jim" is acceptable. Write "Dear Mr. Smith," if you are writing to a senior manager with whom you have a more formal relationship.
State your intention to leave the organization on a specific date. For example, say, "I would like to submit my resignation effective Friday, April 30." Mention why you are leaving without necessarily giving specific details. For example, say, "I am returning to graduate school in the fall" or "I am starting a new project in a few weeks." You can mention the name of your new employer in informal communications with your colleagues and your supervisor.
Mention your positive experience with the company. For example, you could write about your role in the research and development team, or indicate how proud you were when a product launch was successful. Stay positive, even if you are leaving under difficult circumstances. Do not criticize coworkers or supervisors. Do not leave on a sour note because it could make returning difficult.
Express your gratitude for the opportunity to work for the company. For example, say, "It has been an honor working with you these past few years. I have learned a lot and I hope that I have been able to make a meaningful contribution here."
Close by offering to help in the transition. Write your full name and leave some space for a signature.
Select plain white paper for printing the resignation letter and keep a copy for your records. Do not print the letter on company letterhead. Do not email, fax or call in your resignation. Deliver the letter by hand and inform your colleagues in person.