So you are resigning from your position?
Even if you have your next job lined up, it is very important that you do this professionally.
You need to be graceful. If you burn bridges, it may be difficult to land future opportunities!
This article will show you how to write a resignation letter that works for you.
You have decided to quit your current job.
Your resignation letter should come after quitting in person. It should put what has already been discussed in writing.
(For more information about resigning from your job, read Quitting a Job: Everything You Need to Know.)
Why Is a Resignation Letter Important?
First and foremost, writing a resignation letter should be done because it is the professional thing to do.
It confirms both the fact that you are leaving your job and the date of your last day.
A resignation letter may also be called a "Two Weeks Notice Letter." This is because giving two weeks notice is customary when you leave an employer.
Your letter will also set the tone for your final weeks on the job. Leaving on a positive note should afford you the opportunity to get great references if needed.
(Get more details about How To Protect Yourself Before Resigning From a Job.)
Resignation Letter Format
There is a way to write a resignation letter that covers all the essential information without filling the page with unnecessary text.
That format is shown below:
- Your name and contact details
- Date of letter
- Recipient’s name, job, company, and address
- Dear [Employer/Recipient],
- First paragraph. State that you are resigning and when your last day will be.
- Second paragraph. Emphasize gratitude or say something positive about the job.
- Third paragraph. Offer to help in the transition.
- Sincerely [or other professional closing]
- Your signature and typed name
Your resignation letter might look like this:
Following the above format will cover all the bases.
You have the option of adding fond memories or achievements, but that is not necessary. You will know if it is worth including additional information.
(For more insight on letters of resignation, check out our previous article, How to Write Your Letter of Resignation.)
When resigning, you get one shot at doing it right.
You do not want your resignation letter to go down like a lead balloon. If it does, that could easily have a negative effect on references.
You want it to be easy to digest while saying the right things.
5 Things To Remember When Writing a Resignation Letter
It may seem that it is hard to go wrong in as few words as is in this letter.
But, you can easily say the wrong thing.
See the list below to learn what details are important:
- Keep it short. Nobody wants you to submit a novel. Every important detail should be easy to find and on a short document.
- Be grateful. Even if you did not like the job, show gratitude in resigning and you will only help yourself going forward.
- Offer to help in the transition. It may be increasing the load that you bear in your final weeks, but remember that it is a load created by your resignation. Offer to help in whatever way you can.
- Say something positive about the job. There may be something that you particularly enjoyed doing or something that you are proud of. No need to go into detail, but mention it.
- Quit and submit your letter on a Friday if you can. This gives your boss a whole weekend to prepare mentally.
It is very important to remember each detail explained above when you are attempting to leave on a positive note.
Combine that with following the advice below about what you need to avoid, and you will be well prepared to write a resignation letter that works.
5 Things To Avoid When Writing a Resignation Letter
It may seem like it is just a letter and no more. But actually, it is a reflection of your intentions for the duration of your time in the job.
Make it seem important to you to leave the company in a good place.
- Do not talk negatively. Whether it is about your boss, your colleagues, your job, or even the company as a whole, it is extremely detrimental to do this in your letter. Even if the management team was horrible and you were carrying every project on your back, it will not help you to point this out now.
- Do not make it all about you. Show gratitude for the opportunity, and offer to assist in the transition. That does not mean that this is irrelevant to you, but do not make it all about you either.
- Do not leave out key information. Make sure your letter includes your final day with your employer. This is important to have in writing.
- Do not emphasize that you are glad to leave. You may be leaving, but reveling in it can easily insult your employer, and this can come back to bite you down the line.
- Do not give less than 2 weeks notice, if it can be helped. There is nothing worse than disappearing abruptly and then needing a favor six months later.
It is vital to avoid each of the above.
When resigning, you are looking to limit any damage caused.
In following the advice given here, you will do exactly that.
Top Tip: Remember that giving 2 weeks notice and offering to help might be politely declined. Some bosses will just want to move on without you. However, your offer will be appreciated.
(Thinking of resigning but you don’t have a job lined up? Read our article The 12 Best Job Search Sites for valuable information.)
Below, you will find multiple samples of resignation letters across different professions and contexts.
Please note that all of the samples below would begin with properly formatted addresses, a date, a salutation, and a professional closing as shown above:
You will see many different samples below so you will be prepared if you ever have to write a letter of resignation.
Short and Simple Resignation Letter
In some cases, you will want to include all the crucial information while saying as little as necessary.
An example of how this might look can be seen below:
Please accept this resignation letter from my role as [Job] at [Company]. My final day will be March 20, 2020.
I am grateful for everything this job has offered. I have decided to move on to something new, and will assist in the transition process before my final day.
You keep everything short and sweet, but still accomplish all that you need to. You state your final day, show appreciation, and offer to help in the transition.
Immediate Resignation Letter
Immediate resignation is far from the ideal situation.
However, sometimes it can’t be helped. If that is the case, you need to emphasize that.
Maybe you have been forced to relocate on short notice, or maybe your new job would only let you start if it was immediate.
If relevant, say that you would give time if you could.
See an example of this below:
Please accept this resignation letter from my role as [Job] at [Company].
Although the company contract states that the notice period should be at least [specified time], I, unfortunately, am not going to be able to meet this requirement, and my last day will be today, March 6, 2020.
This is due to a new position that I am beginning not being flexible with my start date. If I had a choice in the matter, I would be offering notice. I apologize for this, as I am extremely grateful for everything I have experienced at [Company].
I thoroughly enjoyed working with you and with my colleagues. I am grateful for each opportunity I have had. I will do my best today to hand my current work over for a smooth transition.
If there is no reason causing you to resign immediately, do not draw attention to this.
However, if it is at all possible for you to give notice, it is in your best interest to do so.
Formal Resignation Letter
This is a letter that covers all the key details, with very little else.
It is very short and to the point. If you find it difficult to resist doling out some criticism, then perhaps this is the ideal format for you.
It reflects better on you to have a positive letter, but neutral is a lot better than negative.
Below is an example of how this may look:
I am writing to inform you that I am resigning as [Job] at [Company]. I will complete my employment on the 20th of March, 2020.
Talking negatively about your employment may offer some temporary satisfaction, but it can have long-term negative effects.
This is different from the short and simple template above because the short and simple template is positive, while this is neutral.
Resignation Letter if You Hate Your Job
The above sample is very useful in this case.
You do not want to bring up all the reasons you hate your job.
If you phrase this letter as if you will be glad to get rid of your old employer because they were holding you back, you will severely damage your future prospects.
Unless you are able to focus on the positives for this letter (no matter how few), then the formal resignation letter is a good fit for you.
However, if you feel that you can emphasize only the positives and resign without burning bridges, then go with the standard letter above.
Resignation Letter For a Job You’ve Just Started
This is a situation that is far from ideal.
More than that, it is a situation that you can’t afford to repeat multiple times, as it will look like you are a job-hopper on your resume.
However, sometimes it happens, and to the best of us.
Below is an example as to how to write a resignation letter in this context:
I am writing to inform you that I am resigning from the position of [Job] at [Company]. My final day will be on March 20, 2020.
It is regretful given the short time we have spent together. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity you have given to me, and I am sorry if time or energy has been lost on me.
An opportunity that fits me better has arisen, and I feel that I would regret not pursuing it. I apologize for the inconvenience and will do what I can to assist in this time of transition for [Company].
This situation can easily have a negative fallout if you fan the flames, so keep your letter of resignation positive.
Resignation Letter With Regret
Sometimes, people are forced to resign from their jobs.
This may be due to health reasons. Generally, it is caused by circumstances that are beyond the individual’s control.
Sometimes, the person is not able to give notice either.
State the regretful nature of the situation. Make it clear that if you had a choice in the matter, this would not be happening. However, also be honest and thankful.
Show regret, but also show gratitude.
See a sample of what that may look like below:
I am writing to give you formal notice that I am resigning from my position of [Job] at [Company]. My last day in this position will be March 20, 2020.
I would like to show gratitude first of all. The position at [Company] has been incredibly enriching and I am very thankful for the time and energy that has been invested in me over the past [time].
However, I am regretfully unable to continue in this position at this time, as I must care for an ailing family member across the country. I am disappointed that we have to part ways, but I remain grateful for everything. I would like to assist in this time of transition as best I can, and I wish you nothing but the best.
Your situation can easily be understood.
In helping with the transition process thereafter, you place yourself in an excellent place to receive good references.
Retirement Resignation Letter
This context is different than most.
While most resignation letters are submitted prior to the sender continuing their career, this comes when someone is ending their career.
References and bridges do not matter as much, but being a good and professional human being does.
In this case, seek to acquire evidence of acknowledgment of your resignation. This will assist you in proving your resignation if there is a dispute.
As far as how a retirement resignation letter might look, see below:
I am writing to inform you of my decision to resign from my role as [Job] for [Company]. My final day working here will be March 20, 2020.
I look back on the many years spent here fondly and have grown a lot as a person because of the opportunities I’ve had and the people I have met. I thank you for the memories that will stay with me forever. My position at [Company] has been a wonderful end to my working life.
Although I look forward to my retirement, I will miss this position. Thank you again for every opportunity that I have had. I hope to help as [Company] goes through a period of transition.
Just like leaving your first job, you want to leave your last job with dignity and grace.
Resignation Letter Email Sample
Hopefully, you will always have the opportunity to resign in person or at least by phone, but sometimes this is not the case.
If you are sending a resignation letter as your first contact, then you need to make the best of this.
Below is a full example of how this might look:
“Dear [Supervisor’s Name],
I write this to inform you of my resignation as [Job] from [Company], effective March 20, 2020.
I very much appreciate the guidance and opportunities that have been given to me while I was at [Company]. I am proud of what we achieved together and hope that the company continues to thrive without me.
Please let me know of any duties or responsibilities in this final few weeks in the job. This includes the transition period that [Company] is going to go through.
If you need anything after my final day, please call 123-456-7890 or send a message to email@example.com.
[Your Typed Name]”
If you must resign immediately, then apologize and say it is effective immediately. If you have a good reason, mention it.
Below are a few samples of resignation letters for some specific jobs and roles.
They stand out a little from the general samples we discussed earlier.
Resignation Letter for Teacher
Obviously, submitting a letter of resignation as a teacher is very different.
For one thing, two weeks is not appreciated when pupils have tests and exams. They could do without the instability!
Consequently, see below for an example of how a teacher’s letter might look:
Please accept this letter of resignation as the [teacher] at [School], effective at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
After careful consideration, I have decided to return to the school in my hometown. Students here have been a joy to teach, and I thank you for the opportunity.
The school will continue to thrive after I leave, and I wish you all the best. These years have been a privilege of mine that I won’t forget.
Don’t forget to send a letter to your student’s parents if you are resigning mid-year.
Resignation Letter for Nurses
When your job deals with patients rather than clients, your focus is very different.
Stating that it was a beneficial time personally is advised. It is a very personal job. You are always welcome to state the professional benefits too.
Read below for a sample of how a nurse’s letter might look:
I am writing to inform you that I am resigning as a staff nurse at [hospital], effective in 4 weeks on April 11th.
My time here has been extremely rewarding, and I have grown as a person and as a professional in my time working at [hospital].
I have decided to take up a Senior Nurse role at [hospital #2] to further my career. I thank you again for everything in my time spent working for you. I will ensure that I deal with all my obligations and that this time of transition goes smoothly.
A smooth transition is always desirable, but more essential when you are dealing with ill people and loved ones of these people.
Resignation Letter for Finance or Accounting
It is very important that you show that you understand the possible challenges in the period of transition.
When you do this, say also how you intend to help.
That can read like this:
I shall ensure that records and reporting will be updated to my final day. Additionally, I shall get colleagues and my replacement fully up to speed before I leave.
This shows that you are wanting to leave in the best way for you and for them.
Resignation Letter for Sales or Marketing
Here, you want to ensure that you emphasize two key differences.
Firstly, when mentioning that you are grateful for the opportunity, state sales skills that are helping you move on.
Secondly and more importantly, don’t just make a small allusion to helping in a time of transition. Instead, you may say the following:
I will ensure that colleagues are fully up to speed on both my projects and clients. I will ensure in time of transition that our clients are inconvenienced as little as possible.
When a good reference is on the table, you want your resignation to show that you fully understand where you are leaving your former employer.
By showing that you know, you can show how you are helping.
Resignation Letter for Customer Service
What is so different about this kind of letter? Remember getting references and quitting graciously.
When showing gratitude, emphasize the employer’s good example or mentoring when it comes to dealing with customers person-to-person. State that you are happy to continue to communicate, even.
That should look something like this:
I am grateful for the mentoring you provided throughout my time at [Company]. I was encouraged by it and was made better at my job because of it. I would certainly like to continue our relationship. I can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org
Customer service is exactly what it sounds like, so make it clear that you are doing your best to show that you have gained from it.
Resignation Letter for an Executive
This is quite similar to a standard resignation letter. A key difference is that the transition period may need more time.
You may wish to extend your notice time and say the following:
...my final day will be 6 weeks from today on April 25, 2020.
It is then crucial to ensure that the transition process goes smoothly, and be sure to state that you will do whatever needed to ensure that that happens. That includes offering to help recruit and train your replacement.
Resignation Letter for a Board Position
This context is different again.
However, you still do not want to leave who you are writing to high and dry.
As such, see below for an example of what one might say here:
I am writing to inform you of my resignation from [board], effective March 20, 2020.
Due to personal obligations and commitments, it is difficult to manage my board position as well as desired. I think that it is in both of our interests to have someone who can devote more time and energy to this position.
I take great pride in what we accomplished together and am sure that these accomplishments will only continue.
I am aware that this position may take some time to fill. Until then, feel free to contact me for assistance at 123-456-7890.
If you can happily stay on until replaced, say so.
Resignation Letter for an Internship or Temporary Position
As an intern, if your coursework is too heavy, be honest.
That may look like this:
After careful consideration, I have concluded that there is too much on my plate at present. To ensure that I am not stretched too thin, I have to step away.
If limited career progression or securing a full-time job are causes, say that.
Basically, be honest and grateful. Remember to wish them well and offer to help in the transition.
In summary, keep your resignation letter informative and to the point.
Keep the negative details to yourself.
If you are thinking of resigning and don’t have a new position lined up, you may wish to update your resume.
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