Guide to Writing a Resignation Letter

Following the steps outlined ensures leaving your job is as smooth and positive as possible.

Although you can leave your job at any time, you don’t want to burn bridges. Your current boss or teammates can serve as excellent networking resources and write letters of recommendation for you in the future, so it’s best to notify them formally and in advance of your departure.

This is where a letter of resignation comes in. This letter allows you to leave on good terms and alerts your boss or manager of your last day of employment 14 days in advance. 

What’s the Purpose of a Resignation Letter?

When you signed your job contract, it likely detailed a requirement for a formal notice of resignation at least 14 days before your last day of work. Although this isn’t legally required, it’s common courtesy to do so. This formal letter allows your employer to begin searching for a replacement and gives them two weeks to transition your current projects.

This also provides the HR department with an official document to add to your file. Remember, the written word is far more binding and serious than anything said verbally.

How to Write a Resignation Letter

First, let’s start with a basic template:


Company name:

Your name and job title:

Dear Mr./Ms. [insert name]

Please consider this a formal notice of resignation from my position as [position name], effective [date].

The support and guidance I’ve been given during my time at [Company] is something I will never forget. I want to express my sincerest gratitude for the opportunities I’ve had while working here.

During this transition period, I plan to continue work on my projects and begin handing unfinished ones off to the appropriate parties. I want to ensure this is a smooth transition that doesn’t disrupt the team’s work. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can do to assist.

I wish everyone here all the best and hope the company sees continued success. Please keep in touch!


[your name]

[signature for hard copy]

Now, let’s break that down.

Introduction and Notice of Resignation

For this formal notice of resignation, you must include your position title. This is particularly important for large companies with thousands of employees. Although it may seem silly for small companies where everyone knows each other, remember this is a formal document. You need to follow some basic protocol.

Once you’ve detailed who you are, give the date of your last day. This helps your employer stay organized, contact any recruiters to begin searching for a replacement, and overall helps ease the transition.

Statement of Gratitude

To avoid any negativity, express sincere gratitude. Thank your employer for the professional and personal growth opportunities you experienced during your time at this company. Mention how impactful the support and guidance you were given was.

Even if you hated your job, there must have been some parts you found positive or otherwise uplifting. Now is the time to focus on the positives to avoid burning professional bridges. People talk, so it’s best to keep your final days gracious.

Focus on being specific and personal, talking about what circumstances were truly impactful to you. This is the time to deviate from the template a bit and make it personalized.

Next Steps and Conclusion

Be as specific as you can about detailing how you’ll ensure a smooth transition. Tell your employer that you’ll continue working on current projects and inform your coworkers of what they need to know to take over any unfinished ones.

Although the template mentioned above is vague, make it as relevant as possible. Leave your employer with as few questions and as little stress as you can.

Finally, ending this section with a formality detailing that you’re willing to assist with this transition in any other ways needed demonstrates your care for the company and that you want what’s best for everyone involved.

What to Avoid

Remember that this formal notification serves to express gratitude and a willingness to aid in the transition. For this reason, it’s best to avoid expressing any negativity regarding your time with this company or the people you worked with.

In general, do not disrespect the company. Remain polite and gracious.

You also don’t want to provide details on future employment. Never outline your new job, salary, benefits, coworkers, or anything of that nature. This letter isn’t for you, it’s for your company, and that’s irrelevant to them.

Additionally, steer clear of overly emotional statements or threats of payback for mistreatment. You want to keep this very formal and leave emotions out of it. The only “emotion” you should express is gratitude.

Finally, you should of course proofread your letter and make sure it is free of any grammatical or spelling errors. Those would demonstrate a lack of care and decrease the chances of your termination ending positively.

When and How to Give the Letter to Your Employer

As previously mentioned, common courtesy is 14 days, so you’ll want to hand in your letter of resignation no later than that. If you’ve secured another job offer, make sure to submit your letter at least 14 days before starting your next position. No double-dipping!

At the time of this writing, COVID-19 is still in full swing. In this case, you’ll need to email your letter of resignation. Otherwise, it’s best to give it in person if at all possible. 

If your company has an HR department, make sure to hand them a copy of your resignation, as well, so they can keep a record of your departure.

This is a chance to build your professional image by being gracious and expressing thanks. Following the steps outlined above ensures this transition is as smooth and positive as possible.


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