How to write a resignation letter
Before you quit a job, take the time to review this resignation letter template to help you make a graceful exit.
How to write a resignation letter
Whether you're on your way to a great new position or unhappily leaving your employer for personal or career-related reasons, you need to write a resignation letter.
The main goal of your letter is to inform your employer about the details of your resignation, but the underlying benefit is a chance for you to strengthen your relationship with your supervisor/colleagues and leave on a positive note.
Approach the letter as if you're writing a thank-you note, and you'll be on the right track.
The following tips will help:
1. A formal introduction
Even if you've been at your job for a while, you need to write a standard greeting. "Dear [boss's first name]" works just fine. (Obviously, only do this if you're on a first-name basis with your boss; otherwise, use their last name.)
2. Your intent to resign
Your letter's introduction should also clearly indicate that you are resigning and provide your last day of employment. For example: "Please accept this letter as notice of my resignation from my position as [job title]. My last day of employment will be [date]." (Note: It's customary to give two weeks' notice before leaving a job. Leaving sooner is likely to leave a bad taste in your employer's mouth.)
3. A reason for your departure
The body of your resignation letter should mention your reason for leaving.
Here are a few ways to state that you are leaving, based on your situation:
- Found a new job: “I have accepted a position as [job title] in [location], which will give me the supervisory responsibilities I have been eager to assume."
- Starting school: “I regret having to leave [employer name], but I am strongly committed to earning my [degree type] and have been accepted to [school name] for the fall term."
- Medical reasons: “I regret having to leave, but I am currently experiencing medical issues that prevent me from continuing in this position."
- Partner relocation: “My wife/husband has been offered an excellent job opportunity in [location], and we have decided to move there so that she/he can accept it."
- Relocation refusal: “The company's restructure has left many of my colleagues looking for new positions, so I am grateful for your offer of reassignment to the office. However, my family and I have decided that relocation is not feasible for us right now."
- Bad experience: “My decision to leave is based on both personal and professional reasons, but please understand that I have thoroughly enjoyed my association with [company name]. I have learned a great deal from you, and I look forward to applying this knowledge in my next position."
4. Lots of thanks
Your resignation letter should demonstrate gratitude for the experience the job has given you. You may also mention that you appreciate the opportunity to work with your supervisor and other team members. If you name-drop, be careful not to exclude anyone.
Remember that your letter may make the office rounds. If appropriate, state your willingness to help with the transition; for example, you might offer to train your replacement.
End your letter with an expression of best wishes for the success of the company. Also make it clear that you're interested in keeping in touch. For example: “I hope that we can continue our professional relationship and that we meet again in the future. Best wishes to you and to the rest of the staff for a profitable future.”
Your resignation letter won’t be a novel-length saga, and since you’re leaving the company, there’s no need to argue a case or request anything from your audience. So at all timesÑno matter how tempting it may be to do otherwiseÑkeep your message concise and positive.
Less is more: Keep detail and volume to a minimum. Unless your departure breaks contract, you do not have to ask permission to leave. So don’t. Announce that you’re leaving, explain why if you wish, and end your message.
Check your contract: If you’re legally bound to the company by an ongoing contract, a simple letter of resignation won’t let you off the hook (no matter how well written it may be). You’ll need to talk to your employers and HR department in person to untangle this thorny issue.
Be kind: If you’re leaving because you dislike something about the company that your readers can’t change, be gracious and diplomatic.
Be honest: On the other hand, if you’re leaving because of something that can and should be changed, say so. An explanation for your reason to leave can help a struggling company interested in change and growth. Also consider that if you miss an opportunity to share this information, you may be haunted by this decision later. Could you have helped your former employers learn from their mistakes? If you aren’t/weren’t being paid fairly, for example, now is the perfect time to share this factÑjust remember to support your claims with research.
Say thank you: Share the things you enjoyed most about the job, and thank your employers for this opportunity. Even if you detested your position, there must be some positive aspects.