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What to include in a resignation letter?

Sometimes jobs just don’t work out, or you find yourself wanting something new. And that’s okay! It is likely we will have many jobs in our lifetime, and these will come and go as we grow and change. 

But how do I resign nicely? We hear you ask. This is actually a fairly easy task – a professional tone, a well-structured letter and acknowledgement and/or gratitude for your time working at the company are the foundations of a good resignation letter.

Writing a resignation letter can seem like a daunting task, with fears of sounding rude or leaving things on a sour note stirring up feelings of anxiety. We are here to help you conquer the resignation nerves and leave your job feeling comfortable and ready to take on your next work venture.

Check your contract before you write your letter

The first step to writing a resignation letter in Australia is to ensure that you are giving the contracted length of notice in your resignation letter, as well as checking over your contract for any other clauses that may apply to your resignation.

Why do you need a letter of resignation?

In short, it’s just protocol. It’s the required legal record to ensure that your resignation is correctly formalised and that your employer has all the necessary details to properly terminate your employment with them.

Resigning from a job can often provoke a sense of guilt or shame. You may worry that you are letting people down or causing difficulty. Whatever your reasons are for handing in your notice, just remember that you are in charge of your own life, and you get to decide where the story goes.

How do I write a good resignation letter?

Whether you are using a good old-fashioned pen and paper or would prefer to write a resignation letter email, the same rules apply:

  • Dates and details – it is vital to state the date, your full name and address, as well as your manager’s name and title and the company name and address at the start of your letter. A resignation is a legal document and so the correct formal details are necessary.
  • Introduction – never underestimate the classics – ‘Dear (insert manager’s name)’ sounds both friendly and professional.
  • Giving your notice – the big moment! Ensure you have checked your company’s notice period policy (this can vary from company to company) to ensure you are giving the contracted length of notice before you leave the job, and then state the date of your final day’s work.
  • If you wish to, you can give the reason you are leaving – this is not a necessity, and you may choose to keep your reasons private. On the other hand, you may feel comfortable sharing why you are moving on from this place of work, and if so you can give a brief sentence about your choice.
  • Showing gratitude – you may choose to express thanks for your time working at the company, or perhaps note some of the highlights of your employment.
  • Offering your assistance – offering to help train your replacement is often well-received by employers; you may choose to assist with this.
  • Leave your contact details – it is important to leave your contact details should the company need to contact you further about your resignation.
  • Signing off – All the best/Yours sincerely are always solid options when signing off a letter, depending on how formal you wish to be.

Training.com offers downloadable resignation letter templates to guide you when writing your notice, as well as example letters for different circumstances.

Key elements of a good resignation letter infographic

What to avoid

There are a few things to be wary of when writing your resignation letter, so as to avoid any tension or difficulty, and to ensure you leave your job on the best note possible:

  • Make sure that your language is clean and free from inappropriate terms and emotive statements.
  • Do not direct criticism at the company or your employer, and be careful not to point out specific employees –  it is unprofessional and will not serve in your favour. If you have complaints or issues you wish to raise, then you can express these in a formal exit interview, or contact the relevant company department.
What to avoid in a good resignation letter infographic

Keeping it simple

A simple resignation letter is the best resignation letter. One of the worst things you can do in a resignation letter is over-complicate things. Going into too much detail or writing lengthy paragraphs about the good times (or the bad ones) is a waste of your energy and is unnecessary for a formal legal document. If anything, extensive letters may cause tension.

You may feel the need to explain your choice to leave – this is not necessary. Your business is your business and you can do what you want with your own life. 

Assertiveness goes a long way, particularly in written documents; employers want to read things quickly, put forward the relevant paperwork and move on. It is best to keep your letter simple, direct and professional. 

Here is a basic outline of the structure of a resignation letter:


DATE

 

YOUR FULL NAME

YOUR ADDRESS

 

MANAGER’S NAME

MANAGER’S TITLE

COMPANY NAME

COMPANY ADDRESS


Concise
notice of resignation from your position in the company.

Give your notice, including your notice period and leaving date.

Express your thanks for your employment and what you feel you have gained from your time working with the company.

Reassure the company that you will tie up any loose ends and tend to any responsibilities before you leave, making the transition as smooth and easy as possible. You could also offer to help find a replacement or train the new employee when they start the job.

 

One last thank you.

All the best / Yours Sincerely

YOUR FULL NAME

 

That wasn’t so bad, was it? Asking for what we need can be really difficult, but staying professional and focused in our approach will never fail to impress, and give you a glowing reputation as someone who is level-headed, assertive and flexible.

The Fair Work section of the Australian Government website outlines the practicalities of resigning from a job, making sure you are aware of all the details and formalities that take place when you leave a workplace, including information on notice periods and leftover paid sick leave.

What to remember your resignation letter infographic

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