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Thinking of quitting your job? Here's how to write a resignation letter and not burn any bridges.

The Great Resignation has been in full swing for the past few years – and it's showing no signs of stopping just yet.

According to research from National Australia Bank, one in five Aussies changed employment during the pandemic and a quarter are currently considering leaving their workplace. 

The pandemic changed our lives in so many ways, and work is a big example – how we work, where we work, who we work with and whether our passions correlate with our occupation. Employees around the world have cited burnout, the demands of family and children, and the desire to start something new or to accomplish something they've always dreamed of doing as the key factors in their resignation.

So if you're one of the many who have made the decision to quit your job, we're here to assist!

It can be hard to know how to bring the conversation up with your boss – yes in some cases you may be a little over the role or the company, but it's key not to burn any bridges. Plus, you may need a fabulous letter of reference in the future too.

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Video via Mamamia.

So, if you’ve made the decision to quit your job, but you haven’t yet told your boss, because you’re not entirely sure how – here are the best next steps to take. 

Mamamia's People and Culture Manager, Nicolle Stuart and Talent Acquisition Specialist, Deborah Francis know all too well the importance of a 'good' resignation, so they're here to guide you through this article.

Here's the five steps to always follow when resigning and creating a resignation letter.

Step 1: How to quit before your formal resignation letter.

"Resigning is not easy; the stress and anxiety impacts people, more than it should," says Nicolle. 

"I always recommend checking the period you're obliged to give notice, and then, with the right timing, verbally resigning to your manager first. Talk them through your reasons and thank them. Managers (even the not-so-great ones) will always have taught you valuable lessons, and good managers will have spent a great deal of time training you, helping you problem solve and focusing on your development."

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Once that conversation with your manager has occurred, it's then best to follow it up in writing to have official proof of your resignation.

While it can be hard to tell your manager you are resigning, Deborah says it's best to avoid a lot of emotion or negativity – keep it surface level, no matter the challenges that have happened throughout the job. And this also remains important during the notice period too among colleagues. 

"Avoid swearing, yelling, crying, calling your boss and teammates names, and avoid gossiping during your notice period and spreading the negativity," she said.

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Step 2: How to write your resignation letter. 

Deborah says your resignation should be short and to the point. 

"It needs to include your official resignation date and your final working day according to your contract. Including a thank you is also appropriate," she said to Mamamia.

"You don't need to go into detail as to why you are resigning, those conversations usually happen when you initially chat with your manager and with HR in the exit interview process."

The structure of the letter can be quite simple! As for who to address the letter to, best to opt for a direct manager and then the organisation/company too.

Step 3: How to end your resignation letter. 

Nicolle says you should end a resignation letter by saying thank you, which is a vital thing people often miss. 

"The line could be: 'I would like to thank the organisation/company for my time here, I have learned a great deal and am very appreciative of the opportunities I had while employed'."

Nicolle also suggests including at the end of your resignation letter an offer of assistance as a goodwill gesture, such as: "Please let me know if there is anything I can do to assist in the transition."

An example structure. Image: Mamamia.

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Step 4: What to do after you've resigned. 

Nicolle warns that even if you do write an exemplary resignation letter (which of course you will now), it's important to consider how you conduct yourself until you actually leave.

"The real damage can be done after the resignation," says Nicolle. 

"I have seen so many people switch off the minute their letter is handed in, all of a sudden they are exhausting all their sick leave, not finishing projects, coasting through their final weeks. The way in which you behave in those final four weeks can undo all of your hard work during the time you were employed."

Nicolle's final advice about the resignation process is to always remember that people talk – especially in the chosen industry you work in.

"People forget it can be a small world. How you go out is how you will be remembered, so be that person that works right up until 5pm on your last day, it means you will leave with your reputation intact."

Step 5: How to manage your exit interview. 

Deborah says the most important thing to remember in your exit interview is to be professional. 

"Usually these interviews are conducted by HR and dumping on them all your issues with people and the business won't be helpful. Be constructive with your criticism and mention any solutions that could have changed the outcome. Remember to talk about positives from your time in the business," says Deborah. 

Now go and write the best formal resignation letter you can, and follow your dreams!

Looking to change jobs? Find more expert advice in our ultimate guide to getting the job of your dreams:

This post was originally published on February 19, 2019, and was updated on July 21, 2022.

Feature Image: Getty/Mamamia.

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