How to Write a Stellar Resignation Letter

Resignation Letter

Ever changed jobs? For those in the biopharma industry, it’s pretty common to move from one job to another throughout the course of your career. Things have changed a great deal since the mid-20th century when people stayed loyal to a single company, working their way up through the ranks, only to retire and be celebrated with a farewell party and an engraved watch. However, now, in order to earn promotions or test out new skills, employees often spend a few years collecting valuable experience at one company and then accept a “step up” job with another, sometimes even a competitor. Of course, in order to do this without burning bridges and ensure that employees have all their references intact, a resignation letter must be created.

What Is a Resignation Letter?

Basically, a resignation letter is exactly what it sounds like – it’s a formal letter written to inform a current employer that an employee is leaving their job for one reason or another. In general, these letters are concise, usually one page long and are formally formatted with the employer’s name and address at the top. The letter should be addressed to your current supervisor, with the greeting stating “Dear Insert Name Here.” It’s also recommended to close the letter with the word “Sincerely” and then leave a few blank lines before typing your name underneath, allowing space for an official signature, as a formality.

Important Inclusions

While formatting matters, the most important part is the content of the letter itself. It’s important to address some very specific points, including the official notice that you are leaving your current job on a specified date. This should be clearly stated along with your job title and official last day of work. Be sure to place all this information within the first paragraph, which should consist of one to three sentences.

In the next paragraph, which will be significantly longer, it’s time to be complimentary to your current (soon to be former) employer. You need to include information about how much you enjoyed working for the company and all the valuable experience you have gleaned. Including some examples of scientific breakthroughs, fun office moments or other positive memories helps the parting news come off a bit smoother and makes it clear that you aren’t leaving on a negative note, even if that is actually the case.

Finally, end the letter with a closing paragraph that includes an offer to help look for or train a quality replacement for the job opening your absence will create. It’s always helpful to include some best wishes as well. Depending on the position, training or any other offers of help may be turned down, but it’s always nice to extend this offer because it further clarifies that you are leaving with good intentions.

What Not to Write

Ever heard, “some things are better left unsaid?” Even if you are leaving your employer for negative reasons, a resignation letter is not the appropriate place to air them. Save those complaints for a private discussion with your significant other or friends. The goal is to leave and be remembered on a positive note, not a negative one. Additionally, there’s no need to include information about where you will be working in the future. Unless there are legal ramifications involved, such as non-disclosure agreements or non-compete clauses, your soon-to-be former employer simply doesn’t need to know this information.

How to Send a Resignation Letter

Once your resignation letter is complete, it’s time to deliver it to your supervisor, and, depending on the company, any additional higher-ups. While it may be tempting to send the letter via email, it’s more professional to print out an actual hard copy and hand carry it to your supervisor. This way, a discussion can be had if necessary. In some cases, an electronic copy can be sent by email, but this is usually only done at the company’s request.

After the resignation letter is drafted and hand-delivered and the process is complete, it’s imperative you continue working diligently for the company until the departure date you provided in your resignation letter. At this point, coworkers can be brought into the loop as well. It’s important to be honest, open, and transparent during your departure, so you walk away on a positive and productive note, leaving the door open for future opportunities should they arise.

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