If you plan to leave your current job because you’ve landed a new job, will be going back to school full time, have a family or health issue to take care of, then you will need to write a resignation letter. A resignation letter is simply a letter that provides formal notification that you will be leaving your job and the company.
Since you don’t resign from a job very often, there are lots of questions about how to write a letter of resignation. In this post/guide you’ll find resignation letter examples and guidance that covers what to put in your own letter, how long it should be, and more.
Honestly, it’s my hope that everyone has the opportunity to write at least one resignation letter during their career. There’s no better feeling than having the power to leave one job to pursue something you really want to do.
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The Importance Of Getting It Right
Writing a letter of resignation is sort of like writing a thank you after a job interview. While many don’t do either, those that do show their professionalism and set themselves apart as someone who understands business etiquette. It also makes it that much easier for your manager to accept the difficult news.
There are a couple of simple rules to remember when learning how to write a resignation letter. The first is to stay positive. You never want to burn bridges or give a past manager any reason to not enthusiastically endorse you when asked for a reference.
Even if you don’t plan to use your past manager for a reference, they may have connections with a future hiring manager or influence. We live in a very small, interconnected world and that’s why writing a polite letter of resignation is a smart move for your career.
The next rule is more of a best practice. Provide two week’s notice. That gives your manager enough time to find a backup solution and begin the hiring process if necessary. It may also be required by your company, so check your employee handbook.
However, there are some employers who will walk you out of the office the minute you deliver your resignation letter. This tends to happen more in sales roles but you should review your employee handbook to see what the stated policies are for resignation. And have your desk and materials organized in case you are asked to leave immediately.
When To Use A Resignation Letter
Plan to write and deliver a resignation letter whenever you leave a company. Your letter serves as formal notification that you are ending your employment or resigning.
There are many reasons you might be leaving such as: a new job, family, medical, retirement, or personal. The good news for you is that you do not need to include your reason for resigning. You just need to notify, in writing, that you are resigning from the company.
If the term of your employment is over, in other words, the contract is over or the employer has ended your assignment, you do not need to send a resignation letter.
Elements To Include In Your Letter Of Resignation
Your resignation letter serves as official notification that you are leaving your job and ending employment with the company. Often, your notification will go to HR and may be placed in your employment file.
Your letter doesn’t need to be long or full of niceties. It does need to be polite, positive and factual.
There are four important elements to your resignation letter:
- First, your last date with the company, which helps your manager plan a course of action.
- Second, you want to express gratitude for the opportunity, no matter how good or bad it was.
- Third, you may need to ask about paid time off, vacation and other payouts you may be eligible for.
- Fourth, and finally, provide a way for your manager to reach out to you with questions after you leave.
That’s all. It’s concise, polite and to the point.
Include Your Last Day Of Work
Because this serves as official notification of your leaving the company, clearly state the last day of work, your job title title and the company name.
It is customary to provide two weeks notice, but check your employer’s policies to see if they require more or less notice.
Your last day of work may or may not include vacation or PTO time. It’s important to review your employer’s policies so you understand if you will be eligible to get paid for unused PTO or whether it can only be used. You don’t want to lose money or unused vacation time.
If your experience was less than positive you may not feel like giving advance notice. Do it anyway. You want to leave in the best standing possible.
Always thank your manager and employer for the opportunity.
If you had a positive experience, you can go into more detail thanking your manager and company for the valuable learning moments and opportunities.
Whether you enjoyed the job/role/experience or not, find one nice thing to say about your experience with the company. They invested time and money and employed you, so at the very least you can thank them for that.
Ask About PTO and Benefits
Before you leave the company, you want to know exactly what you are entitled to and when you can expect it. This may include your final paycheck, how unused PTO will be treated, health insurance or other benefits, commissions, and any other payouts you have earned.
You may also offer to help cross train or help bring someone up to speed on the work you’ve been doing.
Before you write your letter of resignation, be sure all of your projects are up-to-date and that you have created a list of clients/customers and their status to hand over to your manager before you leave your role.
Provide Contact Email
Just in case your manager has an urgent question or needs to reach you after you leave, provide your personal email. It’s unlikely your manager will contact you, but it is a good faith gesture and shows you are willing to help.
This does not give your manager permission to ask you to train the new employee or serve as a long-term resource after you’ve left the company. Knowing they can get in touch with you gives your manager a back up and lessens the stress of your leaving.
What To Avoid
Do not say anything negative or provide constructive criticism in your letter of resignation. This is not the time or place to air your grievances. At this point, you are leaving the company and there is little you can say or do that will change how things get done.
You may be tempted to offer critique or suggestions, and your manager may even ask what they could have done differently. As much as you may want to put the information out there, don’t. You can’t guarantee it will make a difference or that it won’t be used against you.
You do not need to let your manager know where you are going, what you will be doing or what your new salary will be. That information is confidential. If you are asked, you can choose to either provide the details (not recommended) or say it’s an exciting new opportunity for you and let it leave it at that.
Resignation Letter Examples
Below are a few resignation letter examples and templates to help you get started. As you can see, these follow the guidelines listed above while still remaining concise.
Feel free to use these samples as inspiration to help you write your own!
Example 1 – A Good Experience
Dear (Manager’s Name):
The purpose of this letter is to announce my resignation from (Company Name), as (job title) effective two weeks from this notification, (last day of work date).
After much deliberation, I’ve decided to accept a new position that will provide an opportunity to grow professionally. The past X years have been very rewarding. I’ve enjoyed working for you and (being a part of or managing) a successful team.
I wish you and the company all the best. I do hope our paths cross again in the future. Here is my personal email (email address). I hope we can stay in touch.
Example 2 – Short and Sweet
Dear (Manager’s Name):
I am writing to notify you of my resignation from my position as (job title) at (company name). My last day will be (month, day, year).
Please let me know how I can be of service during my final two weeks at the company. I am happy to assist with the transition in any way during my remaining time here.
Thank you for all of the professional opportunities you have provided me over the past (number of years).
If you need to reach me after my departure, here is my personal email (email address).
I wish you and the company all the best.
Example 3 – Questions About PTO
Dear (Manager’s Name):
This letter is to inform you that I am resigning from my position as (job title) with (company name), effective (date).
Thank you for the opportunity to learn, grow and contribute to the company.
I look forward to coordinating the details of my departure to ensure a smooth transition. I also look forward to discussing how my accrued vacation/PTO and benefits will be handled. Please let me know whom I should work with to acquire the information and complete any necessary paperwork.
Again, thank you for the opportunity.
Here is my personal email (email address) if you need to reach me after I leave.
How To Deliver Your Letter
Once you’ve written your letter of resignation, it’s best to deliver it in person. If your manager doesn’t know you are planning to leave, it can be a shock to receive an email announcing your departure. Delivering it in person helps soften the blow. Just print it out, sign your name and walk into your manager’s office.
If you and your boss have regular meetings, you can begin the meeting by explaining that you are leaving and hand your manager the letter. It’s better to take care of this at the beginning of the meeting rather than waiting until the end. Your manager will have questions and your announcement may change the direction of the meeting.
If you work remotely and meeting in-person isn’t realistic, then schedule a video call with your manager and deliver the news during your video call.
Wait for your manager to return to the office if they are on vacation or traveling, before sending your resignation letter. Remember, you want to try and deliver it in person.
Writing a resignation letter is still a best practice. It’s also a polite gesture and the right thing to do. Your letter serves as formal notice of your resignation from the company so it’s important for you and your manager to have the agreement in writing.
While it’s tempting to want to email your resignation letter, it’s best to deliver it in person.
Be sure to keep your letter concise, positive and show your gratitude for the opportunity. And most importantly, include your official last day of employment.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.