If you’ve decided to leave your current job, it is essential to know how to do it professionally and amicably. Therefore, take the time to write a professional resignation to quit your job in style. Enter the resignation letter. The resignation letter enables you to cut ties with your current employer without burning any career-building bridges that you may need in the future.
Do You Need to Write a Resignation Letter?
The short answer is no. You can formally announce your resignation with an email notifying of your intention to resign without including any farewells, reasoning, or irrelevant text; the message doesn’t need to be lengthy or include where you will be going next.
But, writing a professional resignation letter ensures you aren’t leaving your current employer in bad taste and ensures your departure is pleasant, even if you are leaving a toxic workplace.
How To Write a Professional Resignation Letter to Quit Your Job
Although you may not need a “letter,” it is the professional way to resign and is a reflection of your work ethic. You may not know where you may be in a few years when the associations you’ve made in your current job could be helpful.
Step 1: Formally Address The Relevant Person
To ensure your resignation sounds professional, use a formal greeting, like Good Day or Dear, followed by the first name of the person you are addressing.
Step 2: Give Your Notice
According to labour law (Basic Conditions of Employment Act), employees are obliged to give notice based on how long they have worked at a company.
You can follow these guidelines if you want to know the notice period for resignation in South Africa.
- If you have worked at the company for less than six months: 1 week
- If you have worked at the company for between six months to a year: 2 weeks
- If you have worked at the company for one year or more: 4 weeks
Step 3: Check for Errors
Spelling and grammatical errors make what could sound professional and thoughtful appear sloppy and rushed. Therefore, check for spelling and grammatical errors using an app like Grammarly.com, but set to British English after typing out the letter.
Step 4: Send and Copy HR or Management
Now you can click send.
Remember, if you have given enough notice, there should not be a problem being able to leave once your notice period ends.
Resignation Letter Example
Even with all these steps, it can be nerve-wracking trying to write a resignation letter, which is why this resignation letter example can be helpful.
Good Day [Relevant Contact Person],
Please accept this email as my formal notification of resignation. After careful consideration, I have decided to depart from [Company Name/Department] on [Mention Date].
I would also like to extend my gratitude to [Insert Company Name/ Teammates/ Managers/ Superiors] for the opportunities provided during my time here. If I can assist in any way during the transition, I will be happy to oblige.
[Your Name and Surname]
How To Resign From Different Workplaces
The work environment you’re resigning from will also dictate what you can and cannot include in your resignation letter.
If Your Current Workplace is Toxic
Unfortunately, many employees find themselves resigning because their workplaces are hell in a cell and require them to leave for their mental health and wellbeing. If that is the reason you’ve decided to resign, your wording and phrasing, in addition to what you share about your plans, may change.
Address The Resignation to HR
Suppose your direct superior is the person causing the toxicity in your work environment. In that case, you may want to bypass them and go straight to the department that deals with hiring and firing individuals: Human Resources.
Include a Brief Explanation About What Led to the Decision
In a toxic work environment, everything you say can be used against you, even to the point where superiors may try to persuade you to stay in an environment that you know is unhealthy. Avoid this by briefly mentioning that you understand that the current work environment is not a good fit for your mental health and career goals or something similar.
Do Not Include Where You Will Be Working Next (Even if Pressured)
While you may think that toxicity is only limited to the workplace, it can extend to far more worrisome territory with your managers or supervisors trying to sabotage your next job. Therefore, if your employer or senior manager knows where you are going next, they may decide to call ahead to badmouth your work ethic, qualifications, or experience.
When pressured, simply say you are keeping your options open about what your next steps will be. Then reiterate that you don’t want to remain in the current working environment, which is why you have chosen to leave.
If you are pressured, you can say you have decided to focus on your mental health and well-being.
Besides, you are not legally obligated to reveal where you will be working next.
If You Are Leaving on Good Terms
When you’re leaving on good terms, resigning with a brief resignation letter may seem impersonal and rude, especially if you’ve created meaningful professional relationships with your colleagues. In that instance, you should consider adding a personal and grateful touch to your letter.
Describe What You Enjoyed About Working There
Many South Africans have to endure working in toxic workplaces that can be detrimental to their mental well-being and career growth. If your work experience hasn’t reflected this, you can show some appreciation by writing a short paragraph detailing your appreciation and admiration for the company.
Conclude with Well Wishes
Instead of saying formal well wishes, you can elaborate on your good wishes by thanking those who have been particularly helpful during your time at the company. Doing this gives your resignation letter a more personal touch.
Can I Resign Immediately or Ghost My Employer?
No matter how much you hate your job, never go AWOL (absent without leave). Even if you are dreading the weeks between announcing your resignation and leaving or having to tell your superior you plan to leave, take a deep breath and do what is required of you.
If you have to resign unexpectedly for whatever reason. You can email your notice with immediate effect, but this should only be done in mitigating circumstances.
Additionally, leaving without any notice can affect your future job prospects.
Should I Resign If I’m Being Threatened With Being Fired?
Unfortunately, many employees resign from their jobs because they feel it would be better to leave with dignity rather than disgracefully or because they are being threatened with dismissal.
Not every incident is a fireable offence, and in many cases, employers will have to give you two warnings before you can be dismissed.
However, if you are dismissed, you are entitled to UIF, something you can’t claim if you resign.
So, if you don’t know if you’ll be able to get another job, let the process take its course and be sure to contact the CCMA, Labour Department or Legal Aid to ensure that what your employer is saying is legal.
Your resignation letter can be a way to reinforce your relationship with the company and ensure you are departing from your current job while maintaining the connections you’ve made with colleagues and superiors. If you take the time to write a well-crafted resignation letter, the letter can serve as a stepping stone in your professional career.