If you're changing jobs, you're going to have to write a resignation letter. Here's how to do so without burning bridges.

Most professionals want to move up the corporate ladder and expand their careers, which often means changing companies and saying goodbye to current colleagues and employers. But how do you say goodbye without burning bridges?

Simplicity is the most effective method when determining how to write a resignation. It should be professional, curious, and, most importantly, direct to the point.

How NOT to write a resignation letter

So you've found the perfect job and now want to say goodbye to your current employer. First thing's first, do not spill, or even imply, your feelings on paper. This not only is unprofessional; it may hurt your future endeavors.

Let's begin with how not to write an effective resignation letter. Here is an example of a truly pitiful goodbye letter:

Mrs. Sanders:

I quit. I've had enough.

You owe me $3,000 for unused vacation and sick days.


While this team member may feel that their time at the organization was a living hell, this is not the time to say it. Instead, a letter should convey the positive time spent with the organization. However, what do you do If you feel that none of the time was positive? Write a quick, direct and to the point letter informing the boss of your departure.

How to write a resignation letter

A truly expert resignation letter is one that sets you up to leverage your former position and colleagues' esteem in your future path, whether it's for networking or solid references. In other words, don't burn bridges you may need in the future.

The first paragraph should focus on the subject at hand – leaving the organization. The letter's tone should be professional and direct. Open with the fact you are leaving, and include the date and reason for departure. If you are resigning for less than positive reasons, do not include the reason in your letter.

Here is an example of the introduction paragraph:

Dear Mrs. Sanders:

This letter is to inform you I am resigning my position as Team Leader effective December 2, 2016. After five years successfully leading a fine group of fresh minds and dedicated team members, I have found another position that will help further my career and advance my skills.

The second paragraph should focus on your time with the company. This is where you butter them up. Here is an example of the second paragraph:

During my tenure with your company, all team members went out of their way to make me feel welcome. The dedication to teamwork and a true family environment will stay with me no matter my next adventure. Thank you for allowing me to play an integral part in your company.

Finally, close with an invitation to contact you if they need more information. And ask if you can use them in the future as a reference. Make it clear though that you are not seeking a counteroffer and your decision is firm.

Be timely

Your employer will not appreciate a last-minute resignation. Make sure you send your resignation letter in a timely fashion. This not only is courteous, but it shows your dedication to professionalism and opens up chances for future possibilities.

While experts disagree on what is an appropriate timeframe to give a resignation letter, the common thought is 30 to 45 days prior to your departure. The minimum requirement at most companies is at least a two-week notice before leaving.

When selecting a timeframe, remember the company needs enough notice to seek a new team member to fill your position, and other paperwork needs to be completed before you leave. Additionally, you should tidy up your workload before departing.


Leaving a work environment can leave mixed feelings for colleagues, employers, and the team member who is resigning. The process for determining how to write a resignation letter, however, can be simplified by maintaining your professional courtesy and remembering there are real people behind those titles and nameplates. Use the Golden Rule as your guiding point.

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