Giving your employer 45 days notice before you quit, immediately gives you a leg up. Compared to the standard two weeks notice, your employer will likely appreciate this ample time to prepare the necessaries, such as beginning the search for your replacement and organizing a severance package. Writing a letter isn't the only way to give notice and, likewise, there is no one “right” way to write a resignation letter. However, keeping a few time-tested tips in mind helps you make a clean segue into your future.
Start your resignation letter with a compliment, perhaps mentioning something that you've learned in your time with the company. Don't be afraid to briefly mention your achievements at the company, especially if you feel the need to put them on record or remind your supervisor of important contributions. Go on to deliver the news, and be specific about it. Specify an exact last day -- 45 days from the delivery of your letter, in this case. If you're not open to a counteroffer, make that clear. Mention that you will spend your last 45 days at the company just as you would any other day and that you plan to tie up any remaining projects you have. Finally, offer your employer any help they may need to handle the transition.
Keep things friendly throughout, but maintain an air of formality and avoid sugarcoating -- be straightforward and concise. Although your notice is plentiful, your wording can still be brief. Speaking to "U.S. News and World Report," career coach Rosemary Guzman Hook recommends limiting your letter to three or four sentences. Avoid the temptation to burn bridges. Leaving your manager and human resources staff with a high opinion of you may pay off in the future.
Delivering the Letter
Handing in your resignation letter can be almost as significant as writing it. Type and print out your letter and enclose it neatly in an envelope, marked with your boss's name and a label such as “Confidential” or “Personal.” Schedule a face-to-face meeting and deliver it in person. Keep it short and simple: briefly state that you plan to leave the company in 45 days, thank the boss for her help, and mention your willingness to help ease the transition. Keep a cool head no matter what happens. If your boss tries to pressure you into divulging details that you'd rather keep to yourself, maintain your composure. If you encounter friction, mention that with a full 45-day notice, you've given the company a generous amount of time to make a smooth transition.
Your reason for quitting may seem like an elephant in the room. If you feel the need to mention it, focus on the positives -- taking a new job to grow as a person or expand your career, for instance -- and remember that you are not obligated to share the details of your new position, no matter how much notice you give your current employer. Just to be on the safe side, never turn your letter in until you have formally accepted another job offer. Keep a copy of the letter for your personal records, and document the date you handed it in as well as the date of your last day of work.