Category Archives: How To Resign Professionally

How to Write an Effective Resignation Letter

A good resignation letter leaves a warm, fuzzy feeling for managers and human resources managers when you go, as opposed to the smell of burning bridges.

Let’s begin with how not to write an effective resignation letter:

Mr. Smith:
I quit. I’ve had enough.
You owe me $2,400 for unused vacation and sick days.

Nice. And we didn’t make it up: That’s a real resignation letter from the files of Bruce A. Hurwitz, president and CEO of Hurwitz Strategic Staffing Ltd. A candidate insisted on giving him letters of reference, and this particular letter — handwritten, even — was stapled to the packet.

It was, Hurwitz said, “the worst resignation letter I ever saw.”

What is a good resignation letter? One that sets you up to leverage your former position and colleagues in your future path, whether it’s for networking or solid references. Here’s what the experts had to say about writing an effective resignation letter.

The graceful exit letter

1.Keep it formal but friendly. It should be in the form of a business letter but with a first name, as in “Dear First Name,” instead of “Dear Ms. X,” Hurwitz said.

2.Don’t equivocate. Make it clear that you’re not open to counteroffers by using a clear-cut line, such as, “I hereby submit my resignation as [your title] effective on [date].” Senior executives should give more than two weeks’ notice. Hurwitz recommends your allotted vacation as a good measure of the amount of time required for a resignation, as your vacation time is typically a measure of your seniority: If you have four weeks’ vacation, the minimum is four weeks’ notice.

3.Be complimentary. Hurwitz provided this example: “I cannot thank you enough for all that I have learned and all the opportunities you have generously bestowed upon me during the past five years.”

4.Set the record straight. The letter is going to be filed in your personnel file, to which you will never have access, Hurwitz said. That file may contain negative comments regarding your performance, but this is your chance to set the record straight. For example: “I will always look back with affection, satisfaction and pride at our accomplishments,” and then note what those accomplishments were. It might be important should another job search or a corporate merger put you in the path of the same HR department and personnel file.

5.Keep it positive. If a future employer calls to verify your employment, they might well talk to somebody who knows nothing about you except what’s in your dusty personnel file. You want them to see that the last thing you said was “positive and uplifting and thankful,” said Jacob Young, a small-business consultant and Web developer. “Even if there are marks on your file, the human spirit will take over and pause on the side of caution, if you look nice and non-threatening on paper.”
6.Be supportive. Let your employer know that you are available to help in the transition, if needed, after your last date of employment. Provide your phone number and make it clear that you’ll be happy to answer questions.

When Victoria J. Ashford left her position as director of the Helena Public Library, in Helena, Ala., to launch Fearless Coaching, she said in a very gracious letter of resignation that she was confident her employer would have ample time to select a replacement, and she even offered to provide him/her with introductory training regarding federal, state, county and city methods and policies. She also pointed out two pending major projects: New Computer-Print Management & the State Annual Report, both of which she said she felt “duty-bound to oversee and complete. It would be unfair of me to leave those undone.”

7.Close on a warm note. Hurwitz provided this example: “Lisa, I want you to know that I would not have secured this new position without my experiences at [your company]. I will always be grateful to you and can only hope that my new colleagues will be as supportive as you and… [name colleagues].” “It’s a nice touch to recognize other people,” Hurwitz said.

End the letter on an equally warm note, such as, “Warmest personal regards and best wishes for continued success,” signed with your first name.

And walk away with your dignity, your personnel record and your bridges intact.

As seen on

10 (Smart) Ways to Quit Your Job

Saying good-bye is never easy, especially when it comes to your job. With the job market recovering, many employees could be looking to find work elsewhere. When they do find a new job, numerous departing employees are leaving on a sour note. Here are 10 smart ways employees can quit their jobs while ensuring they don’t burn bridges along the way.

Do it on Friday
The best day for employees to let their company know they are leaving is at the end of the week, said Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of FlexJobs.

“The best time to give your notice, especially if you’re in a less-than-desirable situation at work, is Fridays,” Fell said. “If you can schedule a late-afternoon meeting to give your notice, that’s even better, because it helps everyone involved to avoid the post-meeting awkwardness, and gives you a couple days to regroup before entering your last two weeks at work.”

[7 Signs It’s Time to Quit Your Job]

Be prepared
The last thing employees want to do is quit their job, only to realize they aren’t legally allowed to work for the employer to which they think they are headed, said business consultant and human resources expert Teri Aulph.

“Review all the documents you signed when you took the job you are leaving,” Aulph said. “Make sure you did not agree to noncompete or nonsolicitation clauses. You wouldn’t want anything to jeopardize your future.”

Be less than candid
While an exit interview may seem like a place to air all gripes, that isn’t always the best approach, said Charley Polachi, partner at Polachi Access Executive Search. When determining how candid to be, employees should ask themselves what they’d really gain from trashing their boss, Polachi said.

“Try looking at the long term and how it will impact your future employment opportunities,” he said. “Remember: Your boss will be one of the people contacted when you’re looking for future employment positions.”

[Sneaky Ways Bosses Try to Get Employees to Quit Their Jobs]

Spread the word
One way to leave a company on good terms is to find out from the company how they would prefer co-workers to find out about the news, said Ian Ide, president of the search divisions for staffing at WinterWyman.

“During your conversation with your manager, ask him or her how and when they would like your resignation communicated with colleagues,” Ide said. “Before revealing your new plans, make sure you discuss with your manager how to best roll out the message to others.”

Provide reasons
As a manager who cares about the company, George Balta, a public relations manager for nonprofit organization Baby Lifetime, said he likes to know if there was something he could have done differently to make the employee stay.

“I usually want to see a person quitting to move to a higher level or salary at another company, and not just quit to change environments,” Balta said. “If it is just changing environments, that means we failed to keep him or her at our company.”

Give plenty of notice
While two weeks’ notice is standard and expected in most professions, the more time a departing employee can give, the better, said Jeff Gordon, founder of Internet marketing firm Interactive99. Gordon said he once worked with an employee who provided his employer four weeks’ notice, which gave the company plenty of time to prepare for a smooth transition.

“This reflected well upon his character and certainly reduced anxiety among the ranks,” Gordon said. “The four weeks gave the company enough time to absorb his knowledge and bring on a consultant.”

Don’t slack off
Business and life coach DeNeen Attard said after giving notice of an impending departure, it is important for employees to keeping working hard and not coast for the remaining days. “Continue to do your job until you exit the company,” Attard said. “Step up your game, and perform like never before. Leave no doubt in their mind that you are an exceptional employee.”

Tell direct boss first
Anthony C. Klotz, an assistant professor at Oregon State University’s College of Business, said that employees who have developed a close relationship with their supervisor should let him or her know first, before giving the company official notice.

“If an employee is close friends with his or her boss, the boss may feel slighted and blindsided by the sudden act of resigning,” Klotz said. “In that case, it may make more sense for an employee to inform the boss of their intention to resign well before formal notice of the resignation is provided to the organization.”

Give compliments
Business and career coach Sandra Lamb advises her clients to always start out a resignation meeting by paying the current employer a compliment. “Always start with the positive that compliments your present employer,” Lamb said. “There’s always something positive that can be said, like ‘X company provided a very valuable learning environment.'”

Leave notes
Daniel Rothner, founder and director of nonprofit organization Areyvut, said it is always smart for outgoing employees to leave their successor some notes on exactly what their job entailed and how they handled those responsibilities. “Document what you did in the company so that they can pass that along to the person taking your place,” Rothner said. “Doing so will show professionalism and that you value the company.”

By Chad Brooks, BusinessNewsDaily Contributor July 30, 2013 8:29 AM
This story was provided by BusinessNewsDaily, a sister site to LiveScience. Follow Chad Brooks on Twitter @cbrooks76 or BusinessNewsDaily @BNDarticles. We’re also on Facebook & Google+.

8 Ways to Graciously Quit Your Job

Leaving a job is a process filled with questions of professional courtesy: Should you give two weeks’ notice? Do you have to tell your boss in person? Should you notify your co-workers? A slighted employee may decide to sacrifice the stellar reputation he or she has built in exchange for a grudging departure that violates professional etiquette.

But tossing aside proper protocol could cost you the respect of colleagues and remove your boss from your reference list. Follow the steps below to ensure your exit is a smooth one.

1. Notify your boss in person. The type of organization you work for and position you hold may dictate a different approach to how you break the news, says Sue Fox, author of “Business Etiquette for Dummies.” But generally, it’s best to schedule a meeting and let your boss know in person. “It just makes a better impression,” Fox says, adding that it “shows respect, self-confidence and that you have strong interpersonal skills.”

[Read: Do You Always Have to Give Two Weeks’ Notice?]

2. Give plenty of notice. Giving a two-week notice is the recognized norm. It’s also a positive way to jumpstart the transition process, says Ian Ide, president of search divisions at Winter Wyman, a Massachusetts-based recruiting firm.

For employees with a position that requires a specialized skill set, it’s recommended to give more advanced warning. “In some cases, they may be the only ones with the knowledge of the area they’re handling, and if they give a little more notice, they might be able to transition that knowledge before departing,” Ide says.

3. Don’t feel obligated to explain your reason for leaving. Barring a non-compete clause in your contract or a counteroffer situation, you don’t have to give the company detailed reasons for your departure, Ide says.

But if you have a chummy relationship with your boss, you may want to offer constructive criticism on what the organization can do to improve or retain employees. However, if the comments could cause backlash, it’s best to avoid specifics, Ide says.

4. Avoid emotional outbursts. Launching into a tirade against your boss may provide some momentary bliss, but it can haunt you later. His or her endorsement may be critical in helping you land future jobs. Also, it’s possible you could work for him or her again in the future, Fox says.

[Read: Is Your Personality Holding You Back at Work?]

5. Don’t leave your employer in a bind. You may be eager to start your new job in two weeks, but with a company project in the final stages and your boss in need of your expertise, you may need to stay longer.

Early in the courting process, let prospective employers know you may need more time before starting. “It’s always much better to be upfront in the beginning … of the interview process,” Ide says, especially when many companies have the expectation that new hires only need two weeks before jumping ship.

6. You want everyone to be a positive reference. Satisfied that your listed reference from the company holds you in high regard, you may become unconcerned with the opinions of other colleagues, disregarding office protocol on matters such as arriving on time or preparing for meetings.

But it’s important to leave a good impression behind with everyone you interact with. Employers can use avenues like social media to find non-listed references “because they expect that a supplied reference is always going to give them a positive [endorsement],” Ide says. And based on your lackluster performance during the final weeks, he or she may paint an unflattering portrait.

7. Keep colleagues in the loop. Co-workers you’ve known for years merit a heads up about your decision rather than the sight of an empty desk and days of speculating about what happened to their colleague. In an announcement email, write about your positive experiences working for the company and avoid trashing it. “Always take the high road, and be as positive as a possible” when constructing the email, Fox says.

By Aaron Guerrero
As Seen on