Writing a notice of retirement may seem like a mere formality, but it’s also an important courtesy. After all, giving your company as much advance warning as possible of your imminent departure also helps the company plan for your absence. For you, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate that you are a grateful professional by thanking the company for playing a key role in your career growth. Be sure to point out your contributions and inject your personality in the letter, too, as the company may have reason to refer to the letter in the future.
Open your letter with a direct statement of purpose, saying that you “regret to inform” the company that you will be retiring from your position. Cite your title and your planned departure date.
Supply a brief reason for your retirement and perhaps your plans, if they are not too personal. For example, you might say that your retirement from the company conforms with your plans to move to another state or closer to family members.
Express your thanks for the company’s contributions to your career growth, pointing out some key projects or efforts that you directed on the company’s behalf. Avoid sounding self-serving; in fact, the more you can "share the glory," the more gracious you will be viewed.
Credit your colleagues and superiors. As a rule, don’t mention anybody by name as you risk inadvertently omitting someone and offending them unnecessarily. The people you worked with know who they are.
Offer to help train your replacement or to otherwise ease the transition of your retirement by lending any assistance you can. You may even wish to say that you would be happy to answer questions once you have officially departed the company. This offer is entirely up to you, but don’t extend if you will not be accessible or think you might resent the intrusion on your time.
Write a classy closing paragraph that summarizes your feelings about your job and the company. You may say that your job was “a great source of pride” and that the company “set the highest standards” for professional excellence. Be sincere and honest.
Read your letter carefully and correct any spelling or grammar errors.
- Sophisticated Edge.com: Sample Letter of Intent to Retire
- Study English Today: Writing Business Letters
- Colorado State University: Writing Guide: Business Letters
- The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill: Writing Concisely
- The New St. Martin’s Handbook; Andrea Lunsford and Robert Connors; 1999.
- Even if downsizing or financial upheaval have expedited your retirement, do not mention these factors in your retirement letter. It is not the proper forum to do so. Keep your letter positive and upbeat.
- Remember that your retirement letter may become a “go-to source” in the future, especially if someone calls the company for a reference. You may not even be able to forecast what the reasons may be; therefore, it is especially important that your final words are positive ones.
With education, health care and small business marketing as her core interests, M.T. Wroblewski has penned pieces for Woman's Day, Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal and many newspapers and magazines. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northern Illinois University.