How To Submit Your Employment Resignation Professionally

Recommendations About What to Include in Your Resignation Letter

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When you turn in your resignation, you terminate or end your employment with your current employer. This resignation is your official notice that you are ending your employment relationship. Often submitted verbally to the person who is your supervisor or manager, you will also need to submit your employment resignation in writing. That's because your employer will want the official resignation in writing for future reference in your employee personnel file.

Why Human Resources Needs Your Letter on File

Your human resources department will also want a copy of your written resignation to keep in your personnel file. This enables them to keep a historical record of why you are no longer with the company. This is done to protect the company if you should change your mind, apply for unemployment benefits, or file a lawsuit about termination for any reason in the future. This way, HR will have the appropriate documentation showing that you tendered your resignation and that your departure was not the company's choice or doing.

Your Resignation Can Be an Opportunity to Build Your Professional Image

Your resignation is not a negative event. On the contrary, it is an opportunity to build your image and personal brand as a qualified, well-thought-of, professional employee. Of course, your resignation must be straightforward, positive, and professional in nature.

Never forget that your resignation, submitted in the form of a resignation letter, becomes a permanent addition to your employment file and numerous people will have access to it. Many of these people you will not know as employees tend to come and go.

Keep Your Negative Thoughts to Yourself

Keep your resignation brief and to-the-point. You don't want to mention how bad you believe your boss treated you, how much you disliked your colleagues, or that your company acted in an unprofessional manner with customers.

You had the opportunity to share anything that you had to say about your job, your manager, your colleagues, and the company while you were employed—specifically during your annual review. It makes no sense to share criticisms when you resign when nothing can be done about it. Criticism at this point will only leave a bad impression that will likely outlast your tenure with the firm.

Think About Your Future

You have no idea how or when your path may cross with your current manager or your current deskmate who may someday be in a position to hire you. 

You also need to consider that the HR person you're dealing with today may be in a position to re-hire you, should another (more suitable or better paying) position open up at this company or in another organization in the future. You always want to leave HR with a positive feeling about how you comport yourself. 

What Should You Include in Your Resignation?

Your resignation needs to include your final date of employment which should provide, at a minimum, two weeks' notice. No other content is required in a resignation letter, although you may want to politely thank your employer for the opportunities that he or she provided you during your employment.

You may also want to offer your assistance during the transition phase when your replacement is being trained. Who better to train this person than you? 

Despite the urge to vent or be honest about why you are leaving in your letter, never state a negative reason for your resignation. This can haunt you at some point in the future.

Acceptable Reasons for Resigning From Your Job

If you're wondering how to resign from your job, there are acceptable reasons for resigning. These reasons can include:

  • You are leaving because your spouse has received an opportunity too good to pass up that is out-of-state
  • You are resigning to go back to school full time
  • You have accepted a position in management in another organization
  • You want to spend time in a related industry to expand your career options
  • You are leaving to pursue a new opportunity

Of course, you need to be honest. So, if these suggested reasons are not accurate descriptions of why you are leaving, you can always state the last, that you are leaving to pursue an opportunity, ​whether or not you have a new job. If you do everything right, your resignation will unfold as an opportunity, not just an ending.