Two Weeks Notice

Resignation Letter or Two Weeks' Notice? Parting on professional terms.

Resignation Letter or Two Weeks’ Notice? Parting on professional terms.
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Taking the leap and making a career change is exciting, but informing your current employer of your plans to leave can be uncomfortable. Set yourself up for success by professionally proposing your intent on leaving.

A new chapter

Making a change from one career to another doesn’t mean you need to sever ties with the company you currently work for. Parting on good terms is an excellent way to keep your professional network intact and show your gratitude for the length of time you’ve been with the company. After all, how you leave current employers can have repercussions as well as benefits. 

What’s the difference between a resignation letter and a two weeks’ notice?

A resignation letter is typically required when leaving an organization. But, do you have to give a two weeks’ letter notice? A two weeks’ notice has generally been seen as a common courtesy.

Though both are used to inform supervisors that you’ve chosen to no longer work with them, they can actually be used to express different things.

For instance, a letter of resignation is a formal way of conveying your appreciation for the opportunity to grow with the company. At the same time, a two weeks’ notice may explain the tasks or responsibilities you plan to fulfill before your departure.

A resignation letter can be seen as recorded documentation that helps avoid any misunderstandings in light of your planned exit. It will preferably give ample time for the organization to prepare for your absence and will typically include:

  • Your reason for leaving.
  • The date of your expected last day.
  • A general statement of appreciation.

A two weeks’ notice letter, on the other hand, can be seen as another way of resigning, but in a way that frames your remaining time with an organization. This leaves room for explaining what you hope to accomplish before leaving and what may have to be delegated to others after you’ve left.

Primary touching points for a professional goodbye

If you’re wondering how to write a resignation letter or how to put in a two weeks’ notice, the rules are fairly simple and it should only contain necessary details:

  • Date the letter for formal documentation
  • Address the relevant person
  • Mention your exit date clearly
  • Keep all paragraphs short
  • Give thanks 
  • Sign the letter

You should keep the letter to a single page, no need to overcomplicate things. As always, when writing a letter you should double-check for any mistakes. For your resignation letter or two weeks’ notice, grammar should be perfect to avoid any embarrassment as your final act of note.

Submitting a resignation letter: Do’s and don’ts for a graceful exit

Do: Focus on the positives

Even if, by the time you were leaving an organization things had soured, you shouldn’t mention that on your two weeks’ notice. Avoid trying to stoop down into pettiness; instead, exit on a high note by focusing on the things you learned, the people you worked with, or whatever you liked about the company.

Don’t: Complain

There’s a time and place for airing the grievances that pushed you to leave a company, and neither of those are the resignation or two weeks’ notice. If you want to talk about your reasons for leaving, the exit interview can be a better opportunity, just as long as you remember to keep calm and professional. In general, it’s advised that you avoid leaving any unprofessional comments in print after you leave a company to avoid burning bridges and the possibility of it chasing you down the line.

Do: Meet face to face

As a general rule, it’s always better to break news in person, but sometimes it can be difficult to match schedules. Still, once you’re convinced you’re leaving, you should try to find space to talk with your manager, HR, or whomever it might concern to inform them about your notice period. Remember that above all, this should be a short and professional meeting in which you should remain stoic, grateful, and professional.

Don’t: Overexplain

Once you’ve made up your mind you should remember that you don’t need to explain every thought behind your decision to leave. Just lay your cards out on the table, say only what needs to be said, and leave all the information needed, like your last day, written down on the notice of resignation.

Do: Keep it short

“Brevity is the soul of wit,” Shakespeare said. And you should keep that in mind when you’re writing your letter of resignation. Just as you shouldn’t over-explain in a meeting, call, or email, your two weeks’ notice is a formality in which you should only inform about your intention to leave the company. Don’t bare your soul on it, just be thankful and clear. 

Don´t: Leave without saying goodbye

When you join a company you become part of a team and if you’re lucky gain mentorship from those in it. As a way to be thankful, even when you didn’t really interact or blend in, remember to tell those with whom you worked closely about your leave. That way your departure doesn’t feel sudden or personal and will allow people to prepare whatever they might need for your ultimate leave.

Do: Cut loose ends

As a way to show your professionalism, it’s always better to leave things ready. That way, if you were working on a project, the team isn’t scrambling to submit the rest of the tasks you left halfway done. That can arouse negative feelings among your team members or even within the organization that could bite you if the word spreads in your new company.

Don’t: Brag

You can be happy to start a new position in a different company without feeling the need to rub it in other people’s faces. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t express your excitement, instead reframe it as gratefulness for the opportunities that the company provided you if you need to discuss it.

A peaceful farewell

As mentioned earlier, maintaining professional relationships is ideal even when quitting or resigning. There’s no need to burn bridges, especially if you anticipate future employers contacting past employers for their input on your experience, work ethic, and character. 

Whether you take the route of submitting a resignation letter or two weeks’ notice, say your goodbye in a way that reflects your professionalism.

Find more information on how to write a resignation letter (as well as a template to get you started) and other advice on making a career change here.

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