There’s always a sense of trepidation when leaving a job. Even if your new position is incredible, leaving a role can make people feel awkward or dejected.

However, this is a normal part of our career’s lifecycle. Moving forward and career progression is nothing to be afraid of.

With this in mind let us ease your nerves and pain by showing you how to write a resignation letter that lets you leave with grace and not burn the bridges.

IMPORTANT: If you want to resign because of a problem at work, you might be able to get help to solve the problem. Talk to and consult with Acas first, click here.

Before you start writing

The first thing you have to do is dig out your contract. This is going to have the details of how much notice you have to give as well as if there is a “gardening leave” clause that you can enact (if you wish).

When you get to writing your letter, you will need to make sure you have this information to hand. This will not only ensure that you are covered (legally speaking) but it will also let you know what to include in your letter.

Writing the letter

We recommend you start by outlining what you’re going to write with simple bullet points.

For example

  • Dear…
  • I’m resigning
  • As per contract
    • 4 weeks notice
    • 2 weeks gardening leave (optional)
  • Thank you for everything
  • Yours Sincerely,
  • Name

By keeping things brief and simple, you can have a good idea of how to outline your letter, and make sure the key facts are included from the very beginning.

With each bullet point, you can start to expand into full sentences.

You will also need to make sure you include these details

  • Your name
  • The date
  • The date you’re leaving on
  • The position you’re resigning from
  • Addressed to the appropriate person (line manager, supervisor, manager etc.)
  • Your signature

These details will not only make it formal but will also ensure every part is clear.

Including The Reason For Leaving?

You aren’t necessarily obligated to include your reasons when resigning, but if you think it’ll be constructive – they might be worth mentioning. Just make sure you focus on the positives.

For example, possible reasons for leaving a job could include: ‘I am moving on to a new position’, ‘I am seeking a new challenge’ or ‘there are limited progression opportunities.

If you are leaving due to a work issue, please check with your HR department first or consult with Acas. You could then bring it up in your exit interview, but not in your notice letter.

Getting personal will only end in tears or issues.

What’s Gardening Leave?

This is a common clause for a lot of companies, particularly if you are in a highly competitive industry.

This is where your employer may ask you not to come into work, or to work at home or another location during your notice period. This is called “gardening leave”.

You’ll get the same pay and contractual benefits.

Stay Professional

Not all job resignations are smooth sailing. Some are because circumstances aren’t nice. With this in mind, you have to stay professional until the end.

This will keep your reputation as a professional intact and that you are more likely to receive a positive reference and review in the future.

Don’t get us wrong it is going to be tempting to let your feelings out and write out a tirade however this will only do more harm than good.

Keep everything professional and don’t burn bridges.

Extra Tips

Remember to only include the positive reasons for your time there. This keeps your letter clean and clear of any issues.

You have no obligation to state your reason for resigning, this isn’t the place to voice your grievances.

The format of your letter also matters so don’t forget to keep it clean, crisp and easy to read. Use the checklist above to double-check you have written everything down.

Check your contract before handing in your resignation letter. Double-check that what you have written matches what’s in your contract. This avoids any issues in future.

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