How to Write a Resignation Letter

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A Guide to Writing a Professional Resignation Letter Before Quitting Your Job

Perhaps you were offered the opportunity of a lifetime. Maybe the position you had just wasn’t a good fit. Maybe you were going to simply lose it if you had to walk into another meeting with your difficult coworkers. In any case, there comes a time when, for whatever reason, we need to leave our jobs. But before leaving, there are always a few i’s to dot and t’s to cross. Namely, the resignation letter.  

Never written a resignation letter before? Don’t sweat it – a resignation letter can be written according to a pretty easy template (and we’ll give you examples here!). After reading this guide, you will be able to dash off a resignation letter that conveys a professional, positive tone – even if you weren’t so hot about the gig you’re leaving. All that’s left for you to do is hand it in and waltz on out!

What is a resignation letter?

A resignation letter is a document you provide your boss or company with when you wish to leave a job announcing your departure. While you’ll probably have an in-person conversation about why you’re leaving, a resignation letter is a formal notice to the company of your departure. Usually, a resignation letter isn’t a place to air out grievances you had with the company or your colleagues. Instead, a resignation letter can be used to express what type of relationship you hope to keep with the company in the future. In addition, since the letter of resignation might be shared with HR, your colleagues, or the company‘s higher-ups, it’s best to keep things short, sweet, and professional.

When to submit a resignation letter

If you’ve decided to quit, it’s good to put a little thought into when you’ll leave – unless the situation is truly unbearable, or you have another job offer that you have to take ASAP. It’s best for your company to give at least two weeks’ notice, and even better to quit in between projects instead of dropping the ball in advance of a big deadline. Of course, we can’t always plan for that. In any case, you’ll want to take a look through your contract and see the stipulations surrounding your departure.

You’ll want to have an in-person conversation with your boss before you send the letter. Even if you already have your drafted and ready to send, the contents of your conversation might prompt you to add or delete something from your letter, so wait to send it until the day after the conversation.  

When to submit a resignation letter

If you’ve decided to quit, it’s good to put a little thought into when you’ll leave – unless the situation is truly unbearable, or you have another job offer that you have to take ASAP. It’s best for your company to give at least two weeks’ notice, and even better to quit in between projects instead of dropping the ball in advance of a big deadline. Of course, we can’t always plan for that. In any case, you’ll want to take a look through your contract and see the stipulations surrounding your departure.

You’ll want to have an in-person conversation with your boss before you send the letter. Even if you already have your letter drafted and ready to send, the contents of your conversation might prompt you to add or delete something from your letter, so wait to send it until the day after the conversation.  

Who to send the letter to

Definitely send your resignation letter to your boss. If your company has an HR department, you should send it there as well. Submit a digital version via email, but also print your letter and submit a paper copy so they can keep it for their records. And don’t forget to keep a copy yourself, especially if you sent it from a work email address that will soon be defunct!

How to address a resignation letter

It might seem like a silly formality, but you’ll want to include your address and the company’s address in the heading of the resignation letter – just like you would in a cover letter. This is an official letter for your company’s records. Here’s what it should look like:

  • Your Name
  • Your Address
  • Your City, State, and Zip Code
  • Your Phone Number
  • Your Email
  • Date
  • Your boss’s name (or HR person’s name)
  • Their title
  • Organization
  • Address
  • City, State, Zip Code

How to craft a resignation letter

How to begin the letter

The most important part of the first section is stating the date when you will leave. It’s basically a formality, so don’t shed any sweat over this part of the letter. Here’s how it should begin:

Dear [Boss’s Name]

This is a formal notice that I am resigning from my position as [job title] at [your company’s name], effective [date of resignation].

What the bulk of the letter should express

This is the only part of the letter that deviates from a formula, and that you might choose to personalize. Even if you had issues with the company, use this part of the letter to express gratitude. Remember – the resignation letter is not a place to raise issues about your company or colleagues. You can give feedback to your boss in an in-person chat – or in a Glassdoor review! Unless you’re going into a completely different life track, you very well may need to have this company serve as a reference for you at some point. They may even look back at your letter of resignation before acting as a reference. So keep it sweet – and if you don’t have much nice to say, keep it short!

You’ll also need to address how you will aid in the transition period as you leave the job. You should include the projects or responsibilities you intend to complete before you leave, and offer to help train a replacement for your position. If applicable, also include the name of a colleague who will be the point of contact immediately after you leave the company.

Here’s an example of what this portion of the letter will look like:

I’ve learned so much at [company name] during the past [number] years. I’m so appreciative for the opportunities to grow professionally I had here, and I want to thank you for your time and support. I wish the company future success and growth.

As I transition out of the company over the next [transition time], I will do everything I can to make it a smooth transition. I plan to complete [X task] and [Y responsibility] before leaving. I will also help train my replacement if necessary. After I leave the company, [colleague’s name] will be the new point of contact.

How to close the letter

This is the part of the letter where you express what type of relationship you’d like to have with the company in the future. You’ll also want to give contact information through which they can reach you in the future; preferably your personal email and/or phone number. You never know – you might even interview for a job with them in the future. Here’s an example of what you should write:

I just want to restate what a pleasure it has been working with the team here. I hope we can keep in touch in the future. My personal email is [email address], or you can reach me at [phone number].

Sincerely,

[Your name]

Resignation letter checklist

Let’s go over the components you need to include in a resignation letter.  

  • A heading with your address and contact, and the company’s address.
  • The date you filed the letter
  • The date you plan to depart
  • Your boss’s name
  • A positive statement about your time at the company
  • How you’ll aid in your transition out of the company
  • Your future contact information

Learn More!