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What should you do once you've made the decision to take a job with another employer? You should take the time to write a letter of resignation to your current employer. It's best to have written documentation of your resignation and planned last day of work.

The most important thing to remember when writing your letter of resignation is to be professional - there is just no sense in making enemies. Regardless of whether you loved or hated your job or your employer, the outcome should be the same: a short, polite, and professional letter stating your intention to leave.

People leave their jobs for all sorts of reasons, and you certainly do not need to provide any details on why you are leaving the company. Resignation letters are a courtesy to your employer, so you simply need to state that you are leaving your current position to pursue other opportunities.

As you are composing your letter, please again remember that your job history follows you around, and that frequently the world is much smaller than we think. You never ever want to leave on bad terms with any employer - mainly because doing so could come back to haunt you later in your career.

When should you submit your letter of resignation and to whom? - You should give contractual notice and you should submit the letter/memo to your direct manager, with a copy to your human resources department.

What exactly should you say in your letter of resignation? - Here's a basic outline:

  1. First Paragraph - State your intention of quitting your job and leaving the company. Give a specific last day of work;
  2. Second paragraph - If you feel comfortable, give a POSITIVE reason for resigning - relocating, better job, career change, graduate school, etc;
  3. Third Paragraph - Thank both your manager and the company for the opportunities you had working for them. Be sure to end the letter on a positive note.

Once you have settled into your new job, remember to contact your former manager and co-workers and give them your updated contact information so that you can continue to keep them as a part of your job search network - because you never know when you'll be job-hunting again.