Although many of us would probably like to quit our jobs with the big theatrics, knocking things over, and flipping everybody the bird mid-shift, professionalism requires a much milder protocol.
Sidebar: I used to literally dream of walking out of Foot Locker one day and knocking an entire row of sneakers off of the wall, then throwing my striped shirt at a mannequin. I just stopped going. It wasn’t as thrilling, but same relief.
Whether you’ve spoken to your boss about quitting or not, you should submit a formal letter of resignation. The letter should be submitted to your manager or director and Human Resources. Ideally, you should provide your employer two weeks notice of your resignation, but sometimes that is not always possible (medical emergency, family emergency, great job won’t wait emergency (though start dates can be negotiated)). Even in cases where you have to resign sooner than two weeks (which you should avoid, at least for courtesy’s sake), you should still submit a formal letter of resignation. Submitting a letter of resignation helps to end your relationship with your employer professionally and create proof that you were not terminated. You may one day want to return to work for the same company (likely in a different position) or need to use them as a reference for another job, so be nice.
Here is a template in case you ever need it. Customize it to your need and if you have to leave sooner than two weeks, provide a brief apology for the inconvenience and explanation in the letter as well.
Letter of Resignation Template
Dear Mr. or Mrs. ___________
I am writing to inform you that I am resigning from my position as _(your title)__ for _(name of the company)_, effective _(last day)_.
Thank you for the opportunities for personal and professional growth throughout my time here. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors. If I can be of any assistance throughout this transition, please do not hesitate to ask.
Your Name (Signed in printed copy, typed if emailed)
What Not to Include in Your Letter of Resignation
- How much you hate your boss
- How crappy their pay is
- How much better your new job is
- Why you are leaving
- How disgusting their bathrooms are
- How you deserve longer breaks
- How much you hated your office mate’s funky lunches
All they really need is the fact that you are resigning and the date of your last day. Keep it brief and keep it pushing.
P.S. If you don’t have that perfect job lined up already and you’re getting back out on the market go check out some resume tips and mistakes to avoid. Then, when (not if) you get the interview, check out some sample interview question and answers and interview advice from an HR director.