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Quit in Style: Write a Tailored Resignation Letter When Changing Careers

written by: Olivia Emisar•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 6/30/2011

Be a superstar and leave the company wanting to see you again. Your professional relationships do not end once you leave a company and those relationships can help further your career goals years down the road. In other words, don't burn your bridges.

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    Career Changes

    Americans have an average of six to ten different jobs in their lifetime. Long gone are the days when people worked for one company their entire lives and retired with a wondeful pension plan. Times have changed and so has the economy of the country. Employees are serving more than one master and retirement pension plans are no longer part and parcel of appropriate financial planning.

    A career change can be a lateral move to another company that offers greater benefits and growth oppotunities or to a field completely unrelated to the current job. Many workers have enrolled in college course to obtain an advanced degree in their field only to realize that past or new passions for a different field will make them happier in the long run.

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    New Career

    Accepted Below is a sample resignation letter to tailor to your particular field and situation. Notice that only positive things are emphasized as we leave the door open for future business contacts.

    • Use your own stationery, if you use the company's letterhead it looks like you are wasting company time and supplies.
    • Be professional in your approach.
    • Be grateful even if you don't feel it at the time.
    • Be gracious and only emphasize the positive aspects of the company and coworkers.

    Header must have: Your name, address, current position, e-mail address and contact number

    (Mr/Ms. Person's name )

    (Person's title)

    (Company Name)

    (Company Address)

    - Space -


    - Space -

    Dear (Ms/Mr.___):

    I started working for Willy Coyote Enterprises (insert real name here) as (insert capacity here) on (insert starting date here). Since then I have earned several promotions that I find to be as invaluable in my professional development as my current position. Each of those promotions taught me and reinforced the following skills (name some important ones here). Those skills made me a successful team member and allowed me to become a more versatile and confident employee.

    This confidence enabled me to find the time and energies to spend the last two years enrolled in night courses to earn an advanced degree. Since my graduation, I have received employment offers in (name the field) and know that I have to follow that path to continue my professional development.

    As I look forward to embarking in this new field as (name new capacity), I am forced to resign from my current position on (insert date you are leaving), I intend to make the transition as smooth as possible by offering to train my replacement in the next few weeks.

    I am filled with gratitude that WCE gave me the opportunity to develop and use my skills in (name the positions you have served in). While it is well known that I have come to think of the 12 employees I currently supervise as members of my extended family, I am also keenly aware of their value to the company and would like to take this opportunity to recommend (name employee) as a replacement for my position. (Name employee) has done an outstanding job of keeping operations running smoothly during my absences on behalf of the company. I am confident that he/she would do an outstanding job on a full time basis.

    Please accept this letter of resignation and let me know how else I can make this transition work best for you and our team members. I look forward to continuing our association with you after I am settled in my new position.


    - sign your name -

    (Print your name)


    • Start positively - Other people may want to say "I quit" or "This is my letter of resignation" in the first sentence, but if you want them to keep reading and cementing a positive image, you want to keep the initial shock to a minimum. Weave the resignation into the most positive things you can say about the company while highlighting your appreciation for what you have learned while working there.
    • Only recommend another employee to fill in your position if you know that A) The employee is well suited for the job, B) the company likes promoting from within and C) Your boss respects your judgment.

    Even if you are all great friends who thrive in a casual atmosphere, this letter needs to be professionally written and the content must be positive. Keep in mind that the players in the company will change over time and if you have to come back to work or network with this company again, a total stranger will pull your file and only know you through what you wrote and what has been written about you.

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    You Hate the Company

    A career change letter of resignation should be as professional as possible regardless of how much you loathe the people you work with and the company you work for. The sample letter above is clearly a letter designed to keep lines of communication open, emphasizes work experience and appreciation for the opportunities given, but what if you just want to slam the door on the way out and hope you'll never see these people again?

    HELP You still have a professional life and any letter you write should reflect that, not the way you feel. Leave your feelings behind and get help from an objective source to save your professional image.

    The format is the same as above but the content is short, professional and neutral.

    First paragraph:

    I am writing to inform you that I am stepping down from (stated your current position) with (company name) on (date you are leaving). I have accepted a position in (insert field here) to further my professional development and advancement opportunities.

    Second paragraph:

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the invaluable experience and mentoring you provided since I started working at (insert company's name here). I appreciate your ongoing support while I transition from (your current position) into my new career.


    Please let me know how I can make the transition easier for the company in the upcoming days.




    While the above letter will not be memorable, it is a professional document that will live for years in your personnel file. Once again, the company can change and the personnel most likely will. If at some point you need to call the company to retrieve information from your file, it is better to make a neutral impression rather than a negative one on whoever tries to help you.

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    No Burning Bridges

    We need to remember how important it is to leave in good terms regardless of our personal feelings and legitimate grievances we may have. No matter how we personalize the letter or how nondescript we choose it to be, our professionalism and willingness to cooperate must be clearly visible in our last written contact with the company and immediate supervisor.

    If we stated future contact, the professional thing to do is to follow through. A person who takes care not to burn their bridges will be invited to lunch and office parties and we should make every effort to attend because we never know how our professional paths may intertwine in the future.

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    Google Images: Professional letters of resignation

    I Free Resignation Letters

    Photos: Free Digital Images; Digitalart / Annakkml