How to resign, professionally

The first step in a professional resignation is to notify your current employer of your plans to leave and when your last day will be. The best practice for this is to book a meeting with your manager to verbally notify them of your resignation. Avoid announcing your resignation in front of everyone before speaking privately with your manager, as a sign of respect. Before you announce your resignation, be sure to check your contract and take your notice period into consideration.

After a verbal discussion has taken place you can draft your formal resignation letter to hand into your employer. The resignation letter should be approximately half a page long. Throughout this process, be mindful that this employer may be contacted by future employers for a reference. Therefore, regardless of your circumstances at your current place of work, it is best to remain polite and respectful in your resignation letter. Leaving on poor terms can affect the reference that your employer gives you in the future. It is also good practice to thank your employer for the opportunities they have given you and how much you have learned (even if it’s not necessarily true). Remember: never burn bridges!

How to layout your resignation letter:

  • Include the date at the top left of the letter
  • State the person the letter is directed to (i.e. Dear [manager’s name])
  • An opening line which states that this is your formal letter of resignation, what position you are resigning from and from where (the company name).

In the main paragraph below this, mention…

  • Your reason for leaving (this is good practice and helps you to look professional; remember to be polite and respectful regardless of the circumstance)
  • Your notice duration and when you believe your last day will be, based on this
  • You may also ask whether you have any accrued holiday that you are owed, if it is applicable

Finally, add your closing statement followed by your full name and signature at the bottom of the page.
Your closing statement does not need to be long. You can simply thank them for the opportunities they have given you and what you have learned and wish them all the best in the future. Again, never burn your bridges; it’s rarely worth it and can only really be a negative.