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Writing a Letter of Resignation

Writing a letter of resignation, less formally referred to as a resignation letter, might be an unpleasant task, depending on why you're resigning.

That aside, there's really not that much to it. In its simplest form, you just date your letter of resignation, say when and what you're resigning, sign it, hand it over, and that's it — five minutes, you're done.

Keep Your Letter of Resignation Simple

Unless you possess the judgment of an attorney and skills of a professional writer, don't write much more in your letter of resignation if you wish to use your soon-to-be former employer as a reference.

Keep it in mind that your former employer will likely place your resignation letter in your personnel file for later reference.

There's really no need to explain your reason for resigning anyway. For one thing, it's nobody's business but your own. For another, however harmless your reason might seem, it's often difficult to strike just the right tone in writing.

For example, if you write in your letter of resignation that you've found a more challenging career opportunity, then it implies that you're bored with your current job; if you write that you're having family or health problems, then you've documented in writing that you might be a "risky hire".

Your words might haunt you down the road, when potential employers contact your former employer during background checks to discover or verify why you resigned.

Your words might also be used as evidence against you, should you later sue your former employer for a wrongdoing; for example, if you write that it's been a pleasurable experience working there and then later sue your former employer, you might have a harder time proving harm.

In other words, try not to leave anything up to the interpretation (or worse, the misinterpretation) of the reader when writing your letter of resignation.

This writer implies in his letter of resignation that, since he didn't get the job he wanted or is not working the one he prefers, he's "outta" there. Doesn't his letter of resignation seem a bit "wordily official" too?

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