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Updated Oct 20, 2023

How to Write a Job Resignation Letter

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Skye Schooley, Business Operations Insider and Senior Lead Analyst

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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. 

What is a letter of resignation?

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. 

You may be asked to participate in an exit interview. If so, be specific and honest, but don't use it as an opportunity to vent your pent-up frustrations. Staying professional and polite is key.

What your letter of resignation should say

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:

  • A neutral, professional tone: Use a neutral tone to inform your employer that you’re leaving. 
  • Your end date: Provide your official end date – ideally, at least two weeks in advance.
  • Help with the transition: Express your commitment to ensuring a smooth and easy transition, including availability to discuss your workload and status updates with your manager or successor or assist in the hiring process to fill your position.
  • Gratitude for the opportunity: Find something nice to say, regardless of your differences with a colleague or how toxic the job or company culture may have become.
  • Request for instructions (optional): If you aren’t yet aware of the exit protocol at your company, request specific instructions about final work commitments and processes. Some companies may ask you to leave immediately, while others may involve you in the transition. You may be asked to work from home and see HR to return your laptop on your last official day. 

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.” 

Did You Know?Did you know
Putting in two weeks' notice when leaving a position is courteous and a common practice. However, it isn't legally required.

What your letter of resignation shouldn’t say

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: 

  • Extensive details on why you’re leaving: Although you may feel the need to explain your reason for leaving, extensive details aren’t necessary in your resignation letter. For example, if you’re moving on to a new employer, you don’t have to share that it has a better product, service, working environment, salary or benefits package. Keep your language professional and positive, and keep your letter short and simple.
  • What you hated about the job: A resignation letter is not the place to air your grievances or speak poorly of your soon-to-be former company or co-workers. Roque advises letting go of anger before submitting the letter and having a neutral party review it to ensure it’s appropriately polite and succinct.
  • Emotional statements: Use a calm, professional tone in your letter. An aggressive or otherwise emotional letter will only come back to hurt you. Twersky advises that even if you’ve been overworked and resentful, don’t quit angry. Avoid using phrases like “I feel” or “I think” unless positive statements follow them. 

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.” 

When asking for professional references from former managers, seek express permission and give them plenty of notice. Never use someone as a reference without permission and a heads-up.

Resignation letter examples

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. 

Resignation letter template 1

[Current date]  

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] 

Resignation letter template 2

[Current date]

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]

Benefits of providing a letter of resignation

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: 

  • A letter of resignation makes you look professional. At the very least, handing in a formal resignation letter makes you look good. It sets the tone for your departure as professional and courteous, reducing the possibility of hard feelings or uncertainty. It also allows you to officially thank your employer and offer assistance with the transition process if needed.
  • A letter of resignation provides a paper trail. A formal resignation letter also serves as a paper trail. Some companies may require a specific amount of notice when leaving a position; your resignation letter can serve as physical proof that you provided ample notice. If there are legal disagreements about things like final paycheck disbursement or the last day of employee benefits, you can look to your resignation letter as support for your case.
FYIDid you know
Money is usually the primary reason employees quit. Other reasons include a lack of advancement opportunities, a toxic workplace and childcare issues.

Close this chapter with a professional resignation letter 

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.

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Skye Schooley, Business Operations Insider and Senior Lead Analyst
Skye Schooley is a business expert with a passion for all things human resources and digital marketing. She's spent 10 years working with clients on employee recruitment and customer acquisition, ensuring companies and small business owners are equipped with the information they need to find the right talent and market their services. In recent years, Schooley has largely focused on analyzing HR software products and other human resources solutions to lead businesses to the right tools for managing personnel responsibilities and maintaining strong company cultures. Schooley, who holds a degree in business communications, excels at breaking down complex topics into reader-friendly guides and enjoys interviewing business consultants for new insights. Her work has appeared in a variety of formats, including long-form videos, YouTube Shorts and newsletter segments.
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