Regardless of the circumstances, resigning from a job is a significant life decision and should be taken seriously. Crafting and submitting a professional resignation letter is a crucial aspect of the resignation process and can leave a lasting impression on former and future employers.
It’s crucial to understand what to include in a resignation letter and how to write it. We’ll outline what your letter of resignation should say and share resignation letter examples.
Employees should give their employer a formal job resignation letter when they decide to leave a position. Pat Roque, culture and career strategist at Rock On Success, described a job resignation letter as a formal notification of an employee’s exit strategy.
“It is a required document that becomes part of your employee records,” Roque explained. “Think of it as your former company’s last chapter of your story.”
Resignation letters generally inform the employer that you’re leaving and include an exit date. Despite your feelings about your job or boss, being professional, courteous and helpful provides closure and a positive path forward.
“Always keep the door open, because you never know when you may want to return or even work with other colleagues in a future role elsewhere,” advised Roque.
James Rice, head of marketing at The Career Portal, said that although you will likely be expected to hand in a standard resignation letter, it is usually best to schedule a meeting with your boss to give them the letter and discuss your resignation in person.
Although the specific contents of your job resignation letter can be tailored to your position and company, a few basic elements should always be included:
Alex Twersky, co-founder of Resume Deli, says offering to help train a replacement, preparing the team for your departure and expressing gratitude are crucial elements of a job resignation letter.
“Conjure up … the best time at your job, and have that image top of mind when you write your resignation letter,” advised Twersky. “Let your boss think they were great, even if they weren’t. [You might] get a good recommendation out of it.”
If you opt to provide a reason for leaving in your letter or during the conversation with your employer, be clear and positive. Focus on what you’re gaining from the change, not the circumstances that caused it. Whether you’re leaving to seek career growth or start a business, it’s imperative to be professional and formal.
“Remember that people leave their jobs every day, and your manager will be used to the process,” said Rice. “If you are courteous and thoughtful when resigning from your job, you will make the process easier for everyone and set yourself on the right path for future success.”
Knowing what not to say in a resignation letter is also critical. Many employees make the mistake of including too many personal details and emotional statements in their official letters.
When writing an official resignation letter, omit the following:
When writing your letter, try not to burn any bridges; you may need help from these individuals in the future.
“Your employers may be providing you with a reference, or if you are staying in the same field, you may still network in the same circles or want to return in the future,” Rice explained. “It is always good to keep in touch with your old colleagues, and with social networks like LinkedIn, it may be hard to avoid them.”
Here are two resignation letter templates you can fill in with your personal details. You’re not required to include your reason for resigning in your letter, but some people prefer to do so. We’ve included both approaches in these samples.
Dear [Supervisor’s name],
Please accept this letter as my formal resignation from my role as [Title]. My last day with [Company] will be [End date].
To ease the transition after my departure, I am happy to assist you with any training tasks during my final weeks on the job. I intend to leave thorough instructions and up-to-date records for my replacement.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the knowledge and experience I have gained by working here. I am very grateful for the time I have spent on our team and the professional relationships I’ve built. It’s been a pleasure working for you, and I hope our paths will cross again in the future.
[Your signature and printed name]
Dear [Supervisor’s name],
I am writing to submit my formal notice of resignation from my role as [Title] at [Company]. I have accepted another position that more closely aligns with my skill set. My last day will be [end date].
I would like to express my appreciation for the experience I have gained at [Company]. I am grateful for the learning opportunities I have received in my time here, as well as the professional relationships I’ve developed with my co-workers.
Please let me know how I can make this transition as easy as possible. I am happy to assist with training on any tasks and will strive to ensure a smooth changeover for ongoing projects.
Thank you for the opportunity to grow in this role. It has been a pleasure working with you.
[Your signature and printed name]
Since some companies require employees to turn in formal notice when they resign, checking your employee handbook before saying your goodbyes is crucial. But even if a company doesn’t have official requirements about submitting a formal resignation letter, doing so is always best practice for the following reasons:
As you wrap up your time in one role before moving on to the next, ending on a positive note is essential. Writing a clear, concise resignation letter without emotional statements ensures you’re following the correct protocol. A good resignation letter can also leave the door open for positive references from your former co-workers – you never know whose path you might cross.
Resigning politely and respectfully is key to maintaining positive professional relationships at every stage of your career.
Natalie Hamingson contributed to this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.