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Over the years we’ve learned some valuable lessons about turning in notice. Below are some tips to aid you in this often delicate process.

Acceptance Letter (Optional)

New Employer Name
City, State Zip Code

Dear ______:

I am formally accepting your position of (TITLE) for (COMPANY) in (CITY, STATE). My understanding is that the compensation will be an annual salary of $_____ (and only if applicable) as well as a (BONUS OR OTHER COMPENSATION). Additionally, I will receive your normal and customary fringe benefits package, (and only if applicable) relocation, and temporary housing allowance. I have resigned my present position and plan to arrive for work on or before (MONTH, DAY, YEAR).

(COMPANY NAME) is a fine organization and I am looking forward to becoming part of your team.


Resignation Letters

Please see sample resignation letters below

Sample 1 | Sample 2 | Sample 3Sample 4 | Sample 5 | Sample 6 | Sample 7

Keep Resignations Short, Simple and Positive

Leave your employer on a positive note. Your moving on does not have to be a time for long faces. After all, you have just won an opportunity to advance, an opportunity for which you owe your employer sincere thanks. Thank your colleagues, too, for their help in preparing you to move onward and upward.

If you have given your best to the job, you will be missed--especially by those inconvenienced by your leaving! Let them know that you intend to assist them in whatever ways you can. By showing your boss and firm due respect, you encourage future support you may someday need.

When you resign, keep your conversations simple and concise. The more you say, the more questions you may have to answer. Avoid lengthy discussion about your new opportunity with your old employer. Typically, your resignation creates extra work for others.

Chances are, your boss will be caught off-guard by your resignation, and will not be able to listen clearly to your explanations due to concerns about the sudden challenge your leaving presents. Because your boss is losing a valued employee, he or she may express negative opinions about your new firm or position. This will only confuse you. You may find yourself having to justify your personal goals and decisions or absorb the personal frustrations of others. If you’re dealing with volatile or vindictive personalities, it may be best to avoid revealing where you will be going.

If you feel you may face a hostile atmosphere, resign at the end of your workday so that you are no longer on company time and are in control of your schedule. Try to schedule any discussions for the following morning when everyone can face your departure after time to absorb and reflect on the news. If you have to defend yourself at this first meeting, or if things begin to get out of control, ask to re-schedule the meeting for a more appropriate time.

The Oral Resignation

Resigning orally may place you in the compromising position of having to explain your decision on the spot. Words are powerfully charged when you reveal a decision which has such an impact on your organization. Choose your words with care. Your boss may want to probe for factors which led to your decision. You may be asked who or what is the reason for your leaving, or may be invited to offer suggestions to help make the organization more effective. If you have had a close relationship with your boss, you may feel obliged to answer candidly.

Don’t fall for this trap! Discuss personal, heartfelt matters outside the office. Remember, your interrogator is still your boss. Whatever you say will be viewed as biased – after all, you have severed your relationship with your organization – and may eventually be used against you. At this point you are no longer considered a team player, nor viewed as having the company’s best interest at heart.

Too often, resigning employees come to regret their comments when they are misinterpreted or exaggerated in the re-telling. Constructive criticism is no longer your responsibility, and carries a high cost which could jeopardize your good references.

Instead, offer sincere praise for the firm and those with whom you worked. Prepare yourself beforehand by focusing on several positive aspects of your workplace, and mention them liberally when the opportunity arises. Even if favorite aspects were, say, the great lunches, or humorous stories told over coffee, better to mention such things than to harp on disappointments or shortcomings. You want to be perceived as a positive, constructive individual in forward motion. People will remember your last impression. Make it your best performance. You may want to tell your boss something like:

"I need to discuss something with you if you have a moment. I’ve been made an exceptional offer by another firm and I’ve decided to accept it. My wife and I have given this opportunity a lot of thought. As much as I’d like to advance within this company, we feel the new opportunity is in our best long-term interest.

We deeply appreciate all you and the firm has done for me here. I don’t think I would have been presented this exceptional opportunity if not for your support and leadership. I want to thank you. I hope I can leave with your good wishes. You’ve been a friend as well as a boss."

If probed for more information, you may want to claim that there is nothing else to say right now. Simply communicate that you are leaving a good opportunity for an even better one which suits your aspirations.

The Written Resignation

Written resignations give you the time to effectively prepare what you wish to communicate, and give you greater control over your delivery of the message. You can’t be thrown off-track by an unexpected remark as can happen during a confrontational conversation. A written resignation also reinforces the fact that you are really leaving and are not simply threatening in order to re-negotiate your position. Also, there is something permanent about the written word which often circumvents interrogation.

Under no circumstance should you state any dissatisfaction with the firm or individuals. Not only is it good manners to stress the positive when leaving, but items in your personnel file may long outlast the individuals and circumstances responsible for your dissatisfaction. You never know when your path will cross those of your former colleagues.

Leave on the Right Note

Before leaving the firm, take time to speak with each of your support staff, peers, executive personnel, and others with whom you’ve worked. To the extent practical, clear up any unfinished business. Be sensitive to others’ reactions and keep your conversations positive and constructive.

Some people may naturally express their own discontentment and may egg you on to agree with them. Don’t! Instead, express your appreciation and tell your colleagues you’ll miss them. A little time spent nurturing relationships before leaving for your new job will go a long way to build support for your future.

Also keep in mind that it is professional courtesy to give your employer ample notice to help them prepare for your departure – typically, 2 weeks. We do not recommend offering, or agreeing, to staying longer than 2 weeks. Do what you can to help your current company prepare for the transition, no one will think negatively of you if you do not agree to stay longer and your team at the new company will thank you!  

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