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Writing a Letter of Resignation

Stay Cool when Writing Your Letter of Resignation

Keeping your reasons and other unnecessary statements out of your letter of resignation is especially wise, if you're leaving under less than desirable circumstances.

You might feel compelled to voice your opinion, settle scores or set the record straight, but it's not likely to be a good idea, particularly in writing. A simple, "I resign..." statement is powerful enough on its own. (President Richard Nixon's letter of resignation demonstrates this point well.)

Don't jeopardize termination benefits and any hope of a decent reference, just to blow off steam. Burning your bridges might bite you down the road too, as you never know who your next boss will be.

If you reasonably believe that you have a legal case, then take it to court. Don't first turn the tables against you, by documenting potentially libelous accusations in your letter of resignation — tell it to your attorney instead. Remember, your employer requires and files your letter of resignation for exactly that reason: just in case there's a legal problem down the road. Never commit in writing what you may later regret!Attorney Referral Service

This letter of resignation unnecessarily expresses sorrow, and the middle paragraph comes off like a snotty kid trying to write like an adult. It's supposed to be a discreet letter of resignation, but it's actually more along the lines of vague. It would be much more discreet without the "sorrow" and "unsaid" stuff.

The writer might have thought that she was making her reasons perfectly clear to the reader, but she actually left herself wide open for interpretation issues down the road, when potential employers contact her former employer during background checks.

Consider the Audience for Your Letter of Resignation

If you're leaving under good circumstances and feel that you owe more than just a "one-liner" letter of resignation, then it might be okay to write more; but, resist the temptation to write too much and keep the intended audience in mind.

For example, it's nice to express your gratitude to your colleagues, but they probably won't even see your letter of resignation. It's only for management and HR personnel to read, and it would be unethical of them to "distribute" it. If you wish to thank your colleagues, then take them out to lunch or distribute thank-you cards or notes instead.

If you wish to thank management for the opportunities they gave you, then it might be okay to include a brief statement of gratitude in your letter of resignation; but, remember, your "gratitude" might be used against you, should you later sue your former employer. So, it might be a better idea to distribute thank-you cards or notes instead, as management probably won't place them in your personnel file to accompany your letter of resignation.

Give at least two weeks notice of resignation, more if required by company policy. Resign with class and walk away clean.

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