How To Write An Immediate Resignation Letter

By Matthew Zane - Aug. 27, 2020

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In a perfect world, you should always aim to give at least two weeks’ notice to your company. Of course, unforeseen circumstances make this impossible sometimes. Perhaps a major crisis has happened with your family or yourself, your work environment feels unsafe, you’re being asked to do something possibly illegal or unethical, or your contract isn’t being honored by an unscrupulous organization.

Whatever your reasons are, it’s all right to leave immediately, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for doing so. On the other hand, you should still go about it in a professional way, and part of that is providing an official resignation letter.

Steps For Immediate Resignation

  1. Talk to your employer: There’s no getting around the fact that this is going to be an awkward conversation. Power through and schedule a meeting as soon as possible; even an extra day or two of notice will go a long way in making it a smoother transition for both you and your employer.

  2. Provide reasons for leaving: Resigning from your post immediately is generally frowned upon by employers who will be left in the lurch by your absence. The least you can do is state your reason for your immediate departure. Otherwise, your employer might assume the worst: that you were negligent in planning and you’ve put the company in a tough spot for no reason other than your laziness. You don’t need to go in great depth when providing a reason, but anything is better than leaving immediately without any reason at all.

  3. Plan as much as possible: While two weeks’ notice might not be plausible in your scenario, you should still aim to give as much notice as possible.

  4. Hand in your resignation letter: This is the official documentation that will be kept in your employee file, and it’s vital that you provide this to make your departure as professional as it can be.

How To Structure Your Immediate Resignation Letter

  1. Formal letterhead: Stick to the formal business letter format here, which means kicking things off with a formal letterhead. This should include your name, position, contact information, and the date. For a physical letter, put these things at the top. In an email, you can put this information at the bottom, after your sign off.

  2. Salutation and intent to resign: No need to get fancy here; a simple “Dear [supervisor/manager’s name]” will suffice. Follow that up with a statement that you are resigning from X position and giving the date of your last day of work.

  3. The body: This is your chance to explain your situation a little bit. It should come as no surprise that leaving immediately is bound to create some tension, inconvenience, and maybe even resentment on the part of your employer, so aim to keep this section positive. While you should provide some context as to why you’re leaving, this isn’t the place to get into specifics. Simply stating that your departure is due to “family reasons” is just fine, and you can fill in the details in follow-up conversations if you wish.

    Express how grateful you are to have been given such a great opportunity to work for the company. Focus on the skills that your employer helped hone and why you enjoyed working there. Don’t go over the top and provide oodles of praise — a quick 1-2 sentences will suffice. If you want, you can thank people personally in more detail later on, face-to-face, or in personalized emails to people who had a positive impact on your work experience.

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  4. Formal sign-off: No surprises here; end your letter with a formal sign-off (i.e. “Sincerely”) and provide your signature and printed name (don’t sweat the signature if it’s an email). You can also include a bit more gratitude (“Thanks for the opportunity…”), but judge including this based on how much gratitude you’ve already infused into the body paragraph(s). If you’re comfortable with it, also let your employer know that you’re available to contact if they need help with the transition.

Immediate Resignation Letter Template

Donald Duck
20 Mickey Lane
Oakville, CA 55455

June 1, 2020

Mickey Mouse
Sales Manager
Looney Tunes
5 Elm Street
Valhalla, CA 99099

Dear Mr. Mouse,

I regret to inform you that I am resigning from my position as a Sales Representative at Looney Tunes effective immediately. My last day will be tomorrow, June 2, 2020. I am sorry that I was unable to provide full notice, but personal reasons have prompted me to resign immediately.

I want to thank you for the opportunity to work for Looney Tunes these past three years. My work here has proved a priceless experience that helped me to grow personally and professionally. I will miss working with both my coworkers and clients, with whom I have developed very close relationships over this time.

I will wrap up my final projects and make sure that all the files and notes on these projects are available to you and the rest of the team. I will be available to help with the transition via email or phone on a limited basis over the coming week.

Thank you for your understanding in this matter. I have had a wonderful time working for Looney Tunes, and have appreciated having you as a supportive supervisor in all my endeavors. It is not my intent to inconvenience the company and you have my sincere wish that Looney Tunes remains successful in the future.

Donald Duck

What To Include In An Immediate Resignation Letter

  • Some details: You’re not obliged to tell your employer any reason at all, but if you want to leave on better terms, it’s a good idea to give them at least a sketch of your situation. Only provide information you’re comfortable sharing. If there’s no part of your reasoning that you feel all right divulging, good old “personal reasons” covers all the bases. Remember that you can round out this letter with an actual conversation or less formal emails to relevant people.

  • Professionalism: In most scenarios, an employer is going to be a little peeved about an immediate resignation. Smooth this over by being as courteous and professional as you can be in the letter. Remember, this is the official document that marks your termination, and will likely be kept in an employee file that might be shared with future potential employers. Take it seriously and don’t give anyone a reason to think your letter was ill-conceived.

  • Transition: This one is a maybe: you don’t want to say you’ll help out with the transition if you have no intention of doing that. Ideally, you want to at least say you’re available to respond to emails asking about your progress on certain projects, how your replacement should handle tasks, and handing over any documents that the company needs to keep the day-to-day operations floating along. Maybe you don’t feel bad about leaving your coworkers in the lurch (hell, maybe your relationship with these people is the reason for your immediate resignation), but how you handle this difficult situation will be the lasting impression your employer has of you — try to make it as positive as possible.

What Not To Include In An Immediate Resignation Letter

  • Too many details: You don’t need to give the timeline of medical treatments or the grisly details regarding a sudden family crisis. This is an official document, and you don’t owe your employer the nitty-gritty details of your difficult situation — the barest facts you can provide are good enough. And if you choose not to include your reason for leaving here at all, that’s fine too; as long as your name, position, and your final date of work are clearly stated, you’ve handed in an acceptable resignation letter.

  • Negativity: This is not the time or place to air your grievances against horrible coworkers/managers or rip into the unethical work practices of your company. If you feel obliged to report a person or practice to HR or a watchdog group, go for it, but don’t be negative in your official resignation letter.

  • Questions about pay or benefits: If you need to find out about your final paycheck, what’s going on with your benefits, or how to roll over your 401k, talk to HR or payroll. This letter isn’t the place for such queries.

  • Promises you can’t keep: It’s nice to offer your help with the transition, but be realistic. If you have no intention of responding to emails or answering calls from your soon-to-be former employer, don’t mislead them. Think about what you’re willing to do and offer nothing more than this.

  • Errors: It goes without saying that you want your last impression to be error-free, so give your letter a careful proofread to make sure there are no typos or grammatical mistakes.

Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.
Matthew Zane


Matthew Zane

Matthew Zane is the lead editor of Zippia's How To Get A Job Guides. He is a teacher, writer, and world-traveler that wants to help people at every stage of the career life cycle. He completed his masters in American Literature from Trinity College Dublin and BA in English from the University of Connecticut.

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