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Resignation Letter

Even though you're looking forward to a new and better opportunity, one that will enhance your skills, increase your personal worth, and positively impact your career on many levels... resigning can be stressful, unless you understand how to do it.

Schedule a meeting with your manager to present the resignation letter. Always have this meeting at the end of the day. This way your manager can get used to the idea away from the office.

Open the meeting with the reason you are there... to resign — and hand over your written resignation. Let the letter do the rest.

Don't explain or defend your decision. Remember the old adage, "Never complain, never explain."

To prepare:

- Develop your very brief opening statement in advance (not an explanation).
- Anticipate your manager's reaction, and prepare for it.
- Do not make your resignation personal (even if it is). Say: "I've decided to move on." Don't burn bridges.
- Be positive about your time there. Thank him/her for the opportunities they have given you.
- Don't digress. Your boss may try to push you for reasons... and want specific details about your decision.
- If your boss persists (or even gets angry), rise above it. Stay composed and calm.
- Don't provide details about the offer, such as the identity of the new company, title or compensation.

A resignation letter should be brief... and to the point. This is exactly how it should read, and all it should say:


(Manager's Name)
(Company Name)

Dear (first name):

This letter is to inform you that I am submitting my resignation, which will become effective (today's date).

I appreciate all that (company name) has afforded me, but after careful consideration, I have made an irreversible decision to accept a new position.

I believe this move is in my best interest, and that it will contribute significantly to my future professional growth. I know you will respect my decision.

I will have my work in order by my departure date of (two weeks or less).


This meeting should not take more than 10 minutes, and the last nine should focus on distribution of your projects or current workload status.

Don't mess it up by saying the wrong thing. You don't know who your manager knows in the industry. You also don't know how much influence the company has. They have a need to know you're leaving, beyond that it is strictly your business. Don't provide solicited or unsolicted details. 

Don't Explain

Resist the urge to explain what a great opportunity it is. You already know it is... he/she doesn't care — and it will likely trigger a debate about the wisdom of your decision. Remember, you don't have to defend your decision to leave, or convince anyone that you are making the right decision. You are not asking for their encouragement... or permission. They don't have a vote.

If the meeting begins to take on a life of its own, and it is headed for a marathon session to discuss why you are making a bad decision, excuse yourself. That's why you scheduled time at the end of the day. "I have an appointment, and need to leave now to be on time". End of discussion. Exit.

For more information on resigning, download Counteroffer -- and understand what may happen next.

Providing Notice

You don't have to give more than two weeks advance notice. In fact, unless you have a contractual agreement that specifies how much notice is required, you can leave the day you resign. Two weeks notice is strictly a courtesy. Some companies will escort you to the door immediately, depending on their corporate policy or security concerns.

Your manager may insist that you give longer notice, because you're leaving at the "worst possible time". This is a ploy. Any time is the worst possible time, because he/she has to find someone to replace you. It is not at all about your contribution to the company, but strictly about their needs.

The organization will survive when you leave in two weeks. Stick to your schedule, don't be bullied into more time.

You also have an obligation to your new employer to start within a reasonable amount of time (stated in the offer letter). Keep in mind that two weeks is the industry standard. Doubtful that your manager would extend his stay with a better offer and opportunity in hand.

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