How To Write A Resignation Letter

By Matthew Zane - Aug. 27, 2020

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So, you’ve made the decision to move on from your current job. Maybe you’re excited to have found a new and more rewarding position elsewhere. Perhaps you feel it’s time to go back to school so you can secure an even better job down the line. Or maybe you’ve just decided that your current work situation is so unbearable that you’ll quit now and figure out the rest later.

Whatever your reason for resigning, you’d be well-advised to write a resignation letter. What should that look like, though?

Structuring Your Letter Like A Pro

We know every work situation is unique, but when it comes to writing a good resignation letter, the format you’re aiming for is pretty standard. If you can include each of the following parts, you’ll be well on your way to saying goodbye to your old company.

  1. Your name and current position : Sounds pretty basic, but you should start your letter off with these pieces of information. Even at a small company, it’s important to state all these things clearly, because this document will sit in your employee file as your official termination

  2. Your intent to resign and final day: You can’t write a resignation letter without being clear that you’re leaving. Don’t be vague or mince words here. Your boss’s first question is going to be “when are you leaving,” so have that information front and center.

  3. Express gratitude : This one might be tough if you really hated your job, but remember that this isn’t the place for settling scores. Regardless of how it went, you should be grateful that the company gave you an opportunity. If you had some really good experiences, briefly mention what you appreciated about them. Or if the company helped you grow in some way and impacted your career trajectory, bring that up. Everyone likes to be thanked, and you might need a reference from these people one day!

  4. Offer to assist with the transition: This might be offering to help train your replacement or just wrap up your workload in a way that makes it easy for your team to continue as smoothly as possible. Don’t feel the need to go into too much detail here; you can work out the specifics in person and/or with your team. Also, don’t promise anything you know you can’t deliver on.

  5. Provide contact info: In all but the worst job scenarios, you should let your soon-to-be ex-company know how to get in touch with you.

Resignation Letter Template

Elsa Johnson
elsajohnson@gmail.com
555-123-4567

January 1, 2020

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Mrs. Karen Young
Manager
Fanfare Corporation
568 Park Lane
Townville, OH 98765

Dear Mrs. Young,

Please accept this letter as an official notice of my resignation from my position as a software developer at Fanfare Corporation effective February 14, 2020.

I would like to thank you for the opportunity to work for such a supportive and friendly company these past five years. It has been a pleasure developing personal and professional relationships with my team at Fanfare Corporation, and I feel that the company has done a lot to help me grow as an individual.

I hope I can make this transition as smooth as possible for Fanfare Corporation by offering to help with training my replacement. I intend to complete all my assignments and leave detailed notes on all ongoing projects to help my team continue after my departure. I know Fanfare Corporation will continue at the level of excellence I enjoyed during my time here.

Thank you again for all the opportunities afforded to me. I wish you and the company all the best moving into the future. You can contact me at any time at elsajohnson@gmail.com or call at 555-123-4567.

Sincerely,

Elsa Johnson

Optional Parts Of A Resignation Letter

  1. Reason for leaving: You shouldn’t go into a lot of detail here — simply stating that you were “offered a new position” or that you’re moving for family reasons, or that you’re furthering your education is fine. If you include this, frame it positively, focusing on why you’re excited for the future and not your issues with the current job.

  2. Outline your workload: You can include a brief summary of your ongoing projects alongside your offer to assist with the transition. Especially useful if your role involved a lot of collaboration with multiple departments.

  3. Ask for a recommendation: This is as good a place as any to request a recommendation letter from your manager if you need one.

Resignation Letter Tips

  1. Time your letter correctly: Giving two weeks’ notice is a good rule-of-thumb. Be sure to state that your intended departure date is at least two weeks after whenever you send the resignation letter.

    That being said, a resignation letter shouldn’t be your sole way of lettering the company know that you’re leaving. If you have an employment contract that lays out the specific rules on resigning, adhere to those. Generally speaking, you’ll want to have a face-to-face conversation with your boss before handing in your official resignation letter.

    Just like the letter itself, you should maintain a positive tone in this meeting, keeping your intent to leave and your reasons for leaving brief and simple. This is also a good place to ask for a reference or find out what’s going on with your benefits, final paycheck, unused vacation/sick days, and your 401k.

  2. Keep it positive: It’s important to remember that your resignation letter will be a part of your employment file, which might be seen by a potential future employer. Always be courteous and professional, so that it’s on record that you’re an all-around good employee, from start to finish. It costs you nothing to be polite, so the potential payoff is well worth it.

  3. Keep it brief: There’s no need to go into great detail for any of the necessary portions listed above. Ideally, each section should only take a sentence or two to deliver.

  4. Plan for an immediate departure: While it’s a good idea to give at least two weeks’ notice, be ready for the possibility that your employer might end your employment more quickly. Take whatever steps you think are necessary if this turns out to be the case.

What Not To Include In A Resignation Letter

  • Anything negative: Just because your boss was a buffoon and your coworkers were incompetent hacks, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to lace into them in your resignation letter. Again, this is your official goodbye and might be shared with future employers, who might wonder if hiring such a mean-spirited grump is a good idea. Plus, you might need a reference from these people someday, so don’t go burning any bridges.

    This includes saying anything bad about the company as a whole, or its inferior service. Even mentioning that you’re moving to a company in the same field that offers a superior level of service is not very professional, in this setting.

  • Don’t be vague: Clearly state the specific date that you’ll be leaving — don’t leave it open to interpretation or negotiation.

  • Salary grievances: If you tried to leverage another job offer into a higher salary in your current position and it didn’t work out, tough luck — don’t bring that up here. And if you never even tried to negotiate a higher salary, then bringing it up as you’re walking out the door isn’t the most professional way of going about things.

  • Fluff: As stated above, you want to keep this letter short and to the point: state the facts and express a bit of gratitude, but don’t go over the top praising your supervisor, talking about your new job and reasons for leaving, or giving a status update on every project in your workload. The letter isn’t the only way you’re communicating your departure to your manager, so save all that stuff for conversations with relevant individuals.

  • 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

Author

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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