How to Write a Resignation Letter

Today I wrote only the second resignation letter of my life… and it wasn’t even for me. The person for whom I wrote it was both unable to manage her time properly enough to include part time employment, but too clueless to write a proper resignation letter. Here is a sample from her intended resignation letter:

Dear ****, I’ve really liked working here, but I can’t any more because school is just too much for me. Thanks for all the great times!

-*******

I wish I had made that up, but alas, I did not. With my superior linguistic skills and my excessive compassion for those less fortunate, I stepped up to the position of Resignation Letter Ghost Writer. I made sure that she-who-is-too-ashamed-to-be-named looked over my shoulder while I wrote so that she may some day leave a job with dignity instead of weird looks and suppressed snickers.

So many things were wrong with her typed diarrhea that I almost had a hard time getting started with a decent letter. Almost. Following is The Complete Moron’s Guide to Resignation Letter Writing Don’ts.

Don’t start off with “I’ve really liked working here”. In fact, don’t use it at all. It is acceptable to show interest in the position you are leaving, but if you really liked working there so much, you wouldn’t be leaving. A more appropriate statement would be “I’ve enjoyed my time as a part-time t-shirt folder, however … (we’ll get to this later)” or “During my time as Chief Animal Cage Sanitation Engineer, I have grown considerably in my field”. Keep it short and simple. A resignation letter isn’t a resume.

Do not admit that influences in your life are “too much” for you. Never admit weakness in a resignation letter; or anytime for that matter. The last thing you want is for an employer to regret having hired you in the first place. Keep in mind that this person may be in a position to recommend you during future employment searches, and you don’t want them to refer to you as someone with zero time management skills or a poor work-life balance.

“Thanks for all the great times” should never appear in any correspondence to a superior. Not only is it inappropriate for the tone of the document you are composing, it sounds like you are patting your boss on the back for a history of great nights in the sack. Save the nostalgia for company picnics and AA meetings.

Make your resignation letter longer than two lines. Do I really need to explain this? I will assume a few nods, so I’ll divulge. As I said before, this boss may or may not recommend you for future jobs based on your last impression. If you want that last impression to be the same length as an excerpt from Frog & Toad, then by all means, go ahead. For those with a little more ambition, you might want to make it at least one paragraph long.

Dear Readers, I’d love to continue writing, but life is just too hard for me (and my wrists hurt.) It’s been swell! -Corey

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