Saying Goodbye: How to Pen a Resignation Letter


When a job is not all what it’s “cracked” up to be, it takes most of us a while to 1) know when it’s time and 2) get the guts to say goodbye. For many of us, we get to the edge, but then back away, and end up in jobs or positions that isn’t a good fit, doesn’t allow us to grow, or may even be toxic. But when it IS time to say goodbye, what is the best way of tendering that resignation?

Of course, there are many reasons to resign from a job – new city, new job opportunity, new baby. Sometimes, however, the reasons are less joyous. Sometimes, it’s because you’ve just had enough and the thought of staying another day makes you want to tear your eyelashes out.

Sure, you may hate your boss or co-workers, still angry that you were overlooked for a promotion, or given horrible projects without receiving credit. But tendering your resignation does not mean it’s time to vent. So how and what do you write in that resignation letter?

Unless there were some serious illegal or unethical issues at hand (at which point, you should be contacting an attorney and HR), it is important to keep it positive.

Especially if you plan on ever working again.

A positive, cordial, respectful parting of the ways is important for your professional and personal reputation. Not only may you need to rely on your former colleagues for Close-up of an old typewriter with the word "I quit" typedfuture references, but the world is a teeny, tiny place, and you never know who from your former company may know or where a former colleague or boss may end up down the line.

The resignation letter goes in your file, and it becomes part of your permanent record:

    • Keep it simple and professional
    • Keep it relatively short (no five page letters)
    • Keep it positive (no venting here)
    • Thank your boss for the opportunity (yes, even if you didn’t get along)
    • Brief reason for resignation (can keep this general, i.e. “other opportunities”)
    • Final date (see company policy, but depending on role and responsibility, two to four weeks)
    • Outline a few key accomplishments during your tenure
    • Outline a few areas where you will wrap up/set foundation for your successor (assures boss you are not just up and leaving)
    • If you want to leave the door open for future opportunities, offer your interest
    • Cordial and professional closing with appreciation

While resigning from a job is often one of the hardest things to do in a professional’s life, it can also be one of the most rewarding for your growth, well-being, and future.

This was first published on

Dr. Belinda Chiu is a social change strategist, coach, and facilitator. Like you, she believes that everyone has the transformational ability to reach their potential and beyond. Dr. Chiu incorporates a practice of mindfulness to help individuals harness their natural strengths, achieve results, and carve their own paths towards professional fulfillment. She writes regularly on her website, Hummingbird research coaching consulting.


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