Dear New Shrink,

I accepted a new job opportunity and will soon be leaving my current organization. I have been told that I need to write a letter of resignation. What should this letter include and how should I write it? Thank you for your help.


Writing Goodbye

Dear Goodbye,

Once you’ve made the decision to take a new opportunity, a resignation letter is the formal document to signify your intent to leave your current post. Your resignation letter should be kept brief and to the point. Even if you are unhappy with the company, your resignation letter is not the time or place to vent or share your concerns.

First off, before submitting your letter, I would encourage you to share your news in person. Make sure that all the key people you work with are able to hear about your new opportunity directly from you.

The purpose of your letter is to confirm that you are leaving and the date upon which your resignation is effective. Write the letter on your personal letterhead, not company documents, unless you are requested to do so. If you do not have your own personal letterhead or stationery, simply start with a blank word document. Type your name at the very top. Include your contact information, e-mail address, and phone number below that. Date the letter for the date you plan to submit it to your human resource department. Include the company name and mailing address of the company, as this is a formal document. The letter can be address to “Whom it may concern” or “Human Resource Department”

Open your letter by including the fact that you will soon be leaving the company and specify the date you plan for your last day of work. It is your choice if you would like to include the name of your new employer. You do not need to leave a specific reason for why you are leaving. However, if your reason is positive or helps explain your departure you may include it here. For instance, if you are leaving your position to complete a graduate degree or if you are relocating it may be appropriate to include that information.

Your letter will become part of your permanent file with the employer, so it is a great time to emphasize the positive aspects of your time with the company. This may be useful if you ever look to return to the company and it never hurts to leave on a positive note. One natural way to include this in your letter would be to talk about the fact that your current position has laid a great foundation for your new opportunity. Speak to the skills you have gained and the positive aspects of your experience. You may also include an offer to assist in the transition. Your offer may or may not be accepted but it helps for you to leave on good terms. Finally, if you are struggling with the right words, there are some good samples available online. Reviewing a few samples might help you frame your message.

Many companies require that you actually sign your letter and submit the original copy for your file. Find out the specific details from your HR department and follow accordingly. Best wishes for a smooth transition.

KATRINA DAVY, M.A., Ed.M, is a Santa Monica-based professional college and career counselor. She holds degrees from Columbia and Cornell universities. Send your questions to All questions are kept anonymous; let us help you with your life matters!

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