You’re ready to quit your job. But before you put in your two-weeks’ notice, you’ll need to write a resignation letter — a formal notice to your employer of your intentions to leave.
While a letter of resignation isn’t a long document, it is an important one — one that takes care to write correctly. And so, we have created this guide to walk you through everything you need to know about a resignation letter, from what it is to what it includes to how to write it — template included!
What is a Resignation Letter?
You’ll tell your boss in person your intent to leave your job. But a resignation letter serves as your formal notice to your employer — a letter that will be given to your supervisor, HR department and anyone else within the company who needs to know.
But beyond its literal purpose, a letter of resignation can also help you leave a positive impression with your employer. In addition to notifying your company of your intentions, a resignation letter also serves as a thank-you note — an opportunity for you to tell the organisation why you valued your time there, and how grateful you are to have had the chance to work there.
Why You Must Write a Resignation Letter
It might seem like overkill to tell your boss you’re quitting and put it in a letter, but writing a resignation letter is an essential part of moving on (and hopefully, up). Why? Not only is a resignation letter necessary for your company’s own records, but as we mentioned above, written the right way, a thoughtful letter of resignation can help you leave a great impression with people who might be able to help you one day. After all, you never know when you’ll need a reference or a mentor — or who might end up working with you again in the future.
What Should You Write in a Resignation Letter?
No matter your industry or job, there are several parts that every resignation letter should include:
- Your intention to leave. This may seem obvious, but your resignation letter won’t be complete without explicitly stating your intention to leave your position and the company. You don’t have to say why you’re leaving, but you do have to say that you’re moving on.
- Your last day of work. In your resignation letter, you must state the last day you will work. This date should be at least two weeks after you submit your resignation letter. This gives your employer time to work with you to make the transition as seamless as possible.
- Your official position. Your resignation will need to state the position you are stepping down from.
- Your contact information. Make sure to include your contact information in your resignation letter that your employer is able to get in touch if needed after you've left your position. At the very least this should include your personal email address, but you may also want to include your phone number and mailing address as well.
- The intention to complete a handover. Your letter should state your intention to complete a full handover before your final day. You may also want to offer to train your replacement if your employer is able to hire someone else before you leave.
- A thank you. While a resignation letter is not strictly a thank-you note, it should include a thank you to your supervisor and the company for the opportunities they provided you during your tenure there. Ideally, the letter will go into specific things for which you are grateful, such as the lessons you’ve learnt or opportunities you will always value.
How Can You Write a Good Resignation Letter?
You can take your resignation letter from standard to extraordinary by following these tips:
- Offer to help. Before closing your letter of resignation, don’t forget to extend a helping hand to your employer by offering to assist in the transition in any way you can. You could offer to help find a replacement — whether by helping to recruit him or her, or assisting in his or her training — or to prepare transitional documents to make things easier for others once you’re gone. In your offer to help, you can be as generous as you want, and as is reasonable.
- Don’t complain. While some people choose to explain why they are quitting — for example, an opportunity arose that they couldn’t turn down — a resignation letter is not the place to vent about all the things you didn’t like about your boss or your job. Remember, you may need the people reading this letter to act as a reference, so don’t get on their bad sides!
- Keep it short. The best resignation letters are short and to-the-point. There’s no need to go on and on (and on). Say what you need to say and no more, then close with a warm ending.
A Resignation Letter Template
Use this sample resignation letter as a template, customising it for your job or industry.
Your Phone Number
Please accept this letter as formal notification that I am resigning from my [position title], effective [the date you intend to leave the company].
I’m very grateful for the professional opportunities I have had while working at [company name] over the last [number] years. It was wonderful to work for and be a part of such a [adjectives to describe your company and team] company and team over my tenure here.
If I can do anything to help during this transition, please let me know.
Your Typed Name
How Should You Hand in Your Notice?
Once you've finished writing your resignation letter, here's how you can hand in your notice:
- Rehearse what you're going to say beforehand.
- Arrange a time to speak with your line manager.
- Print your resignation letter before speaking with your manager.
- Be professional and direct with your manager about your intention and reasons for leaving.
- Follow up by sending a digital copy of your resignation letter to your manager and HR via email.
Now that you know how to write a great resignation letter, here are additional resources to help you with your transition and to help you excel at your new job!