Sep 2, 2016

Writing a Departure Notification Letter for the Workplace: What You Need to Know

Regardless of the circumstances, leaving a job can be difficult. You want to leave on the best terms with your employer so that you can keep that reference and connection if you should need it in the future. So when you inform your employer that you are leaving, you will want to go about it appropriately and delicately.

Whether you’re quitting your job or retiring, giving two weeks’ notice in the form of a resignation letter is usually required. But how exactly should you format your letter and what information should you include?

This guide will help you draft a quality departure notification.

Why Use a Departure Notification Letter?

Many organizations actually require that you formally alert them of your departure in writing. Even if your company does not directly ask this of you, it is still in good manners to let your boss know that you’re planning on leaving the company.

Having notice of your departure in writing can help prevent any miscommunications or misunderstandings in the future. With a physical letter, you or your boss can return to the document to double check your official last day, reason for leaving, or other information you may detail in the letter.

Giving two weeks’ notice can also give your employer time to replace you if needed. During this two-week time period, your boss can focus on closing out your projects, delegating your responsibilities to other coworkers, and begin interviewing for your position replacement.

What Should Be Included in a Departure Notification Letter?

When writing your letter, you should ensure that you are providing the necessary information that your employer will need. But if you’ve never written a departure notification letter before, you may not know what is needed.

This checklist should help you through your first draft:

  • Add the Date: At the very top of the letter, you will want to include the date that you are writing this letter or the date that you plan to hand it in to your employer. If you are creating a draft a few days before you deliver the letter, be sure to use the date that will begin the two-week time period.
  • Address Your Boss: When beginning your letter, you will want to speak directly to your boss or whoever you will be handing this letter to. If you work for a large company where you won’t be reporting directly to the CEO, you shouldn’t draft the letter to the CEO. Instead, you should write it to your direct supervisor or manager.
  • Make It Clear: You shouldn’t try to avoid the topic of leaving the company in your letter. After all, the purpose of this letter is to let your boss know that you are moving on to another opportunity. The very first line of your letter should state that you are giving your two weeks’ notice. Be direct and avoid language that may make it seem like you’re unsure of leaving.
  • Reference Your Specific Title and the Company: While both you and your boss may know the name of your company and what your title was, you will still want to detail this information in the letter. You can include these details in your opening sentence where you state that you will be putting in your two weeks’ notice.
  • Detail Your Time Left: Although it is frequently referred to as “two weeks’ notice” you are able to turn your letter in if you have more than two weeks left on the job. If you are in a higher position that requires immediate replacement, more than two weeks may be recommended.
  • Give an End Date: Your letter should not simply state that you will be leaving the company in a few weeks. Instead, you will need to detail the exact date that you will be leaving. This ensures both you and your employer understands when your last day of work is. This will avoid confusion and potential problems in the future.
  • Discuss the State of Your Projects: If you’re in the middle of a project and you plan on leaving, let your employer know what you intend to do before you go to either close the project or move it to a coworker. This shows your employer that you still care about the position and want to leave on the best note possible.
  • Say Thanks: Regardless of how long you’ve been with the company, be sure to take the time to thank them for the opportunity and for working with you. Let them know that you appreciate what they have done for you and will take the skills you learned at the job through the rest of your career. Remember to stay professional, but you don’t need to be overly formal either.
  • Be Available: In your letter, you should let your employer know that you can be available for questions or help even after you leave the office. While you should be able to cover everything before you move on, staying available can help the company move on from your departure. This is especially useful if you have a higher level position or if you worked in a particularly specialized area.

Before submitting your letter to your employer, double check that each of these items are included. Your letter should be clear, to the point, and direct without seeming cold or ungrateful.

What Should NOT Be Included in a Departure Notification Letter?

When drafting your departure notification letter, you want to refrain from being too emotional or unprofessional, especially if you are leaving the company on bad terms. While you may be tempted to lay out each and every thought you’ve had about your boss or the way they do business, you should refrain from infusing this level of drama into the situation.

You do not need to inform your employer through your letter of why you are leaving the company. However, they may ask you for a reason when you hand the letter in. If you wish to discuss these details with them at this time, you’re free to do so.

If you plan to retire, this is usually something you should discuss and address. Because retiring is not the same as quitting or moving on to another position, the individuals you work with may want to time to plan you something special to send you off into retirement.

You should also submit your resignation in a letter, not an email. Although email may be easier, it is also less professional. You will also want to give the letter to your boss in person and potentially schedule time to discuss the situation together. You should not just leave the letter on your boss’s desk or in his or her mailbox.

Drafting a resignation letter can be stressful, but if you follow this guide, you can rest assured that all necessary information was covered and you can leave your job with solid relationships intact.

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