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Whether you land a new job, are taking a sabbatical, are going on maternity leave or simply no longer want to work at your current company, a resignation letter is essential in wrapping up your time at your current workplace.
Thinking of what to include and who to send it to can be daunting; however, writing your official resignation letter does not need to be difficult!
Following the steps below can make resigning from your job easier than you thought.
Your resignation letter will be sent to your HR department or manager. In order to maintain formality and prompt clear communication, your subject line for your resignation email should explicitly state that you are resigning. A short, clear subject line includes your name and states that you are resigning, for example:
[Your Name] – Notice of Resignation
Resignation Letter: [Your Name, Company Department]
The resignation letter itself will outline the details.
A resignation letter is a formal document. Formal letters include the name, address and date for both you and the recipient at the top of the letter, and a resignation letter is no different.
The format of a resignation letter should follow that of a formal letter. You need to send your resignation letter to the person in your company who is responsible for handling resignations.
Find your HR representatives’ names, managers’ names, or if you can’t find either, use one of these to start your resignation letter:
“Attn: Human Resources”
“To whom this might concern”
Addressing your resignation letter to HR or your manager is an important part of workplace formality and should be included in your resignation email as well.
Although the term “resignation letter” sounds like it should include a lengthy explanation, in reality, your resignation letter should be clear and concise. Resignation letters are also known as a “notice of resignation”, and should be exactly that – a notice.
To communicate this, you should simply state it is a notice of resignation from your role within the company.
Date the resignation letter for the same day you send the letter in your resignation email – including the day of the week, date, month and year.
Check your employment contract or company policy to see how much notice you need to give. For most companies, it’s two weeks – include your last day of employment in the letter.
“Please accept this letter of resignation from the [Job Title] role at [Company Name], effective [Date], with my last day of employment being [Date].”
Once you have sent your resignation email, there is not much your employer can do to stop you from leaving. Your reason for resignation can be as detailed or as vague as you like.
Here is an example of what you can write for the reason for your resignation:
“I have decided to leave this position to pursue new opportunities.”
You don’t need to discuss pay or your new employer in your notice of resignation. If you are uncomfortable with providing a reason in your resignation letter, you don’t have to include one.
If you would like to make your resignation letter sound professional, offering to assist in the administration such as paperwork or meetings can show your professionalism. It can also make sure you leave the company on good terms.
HR might not need the assistance; however it provides your resignation letter with an overall friendly tone. If it feels unnatural to include in the resignation letter itself, you can always add it into the body of your resignation email.
This is an important part of your resignation letter and email. If you have a company-issued email, you might not be able to access it once you leave the company, or, HR might want to call you to discuss your transition plan. Therefore, at the conclusion of your resignation letter, you can include your contact if HR wishes to reach you.
“If you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact me on XX-XXX-XXX, or at my email [email protected].”
Alternatively, you can include your phone and email after you have signed off your resignation letter, as a part of your signature.
Your employment contract is important to reference when writing your resignation letter to avoid any legal troubles. Contracts often specify the timeframe for notices of resignation. As mentioned above, it is typically two weeks’ notice.
Also if you’re leaving due to unfair treatment or pay disputes, make sure to go over your contract again to see if there’s any way that you can be compensated.
Regardless of if you enjoyed your job, your resignation letter should always include a polite “thank you” for the support and opportunities you received while employed. An example for a thank you note might look like the following:
“Thank you for the opportunities you have provided for me during my time at [Company].”
Maintaining gratitude and politeness is necessary especially in corporate environments, where you might need to reach out to old employers to use as references. Once again, if this feels unnatural to include in the notice of resignation itself, you can always include it when sending your resignation email.
As mentioned before, expressing willingness to help with your transition in your resignation letter will allow you to leave your current employer on a positive note.
There are things to be done after you send out your resignation email. You might need to return company property, such as a laptop, car, uniform or keys. Likewise, you might have leave or bonuses pending which will need to be paid out or awarded to you before you leave.
Putting a call to action in your notice of resignation will provide both you and HR with a chance to strengthen things up before you leave:
“I would be more than happy to meet to discuss my decision with you, as well as to organize the return of my company-issued laptop.”
Leaving a job due to unfair treatment, poor management or pay, stress or workload can be very emotionally taxing. Resigning from a job is usually the last straw, and can bring up frustration and resentment. It is important that you do not include these emotions in your notice of resignation.
Exit interviews are commonly used by HR for a short discussion with employees upon receiving their letters of resignation. You can calmly and professionally discuss your reasons for resigning in an exit interview if you feel it is appropriate.
In your resignation letter, you can prompt HR to discuss reasons for resigning via a meeting or phone call. Being brief is the key to a resignation letter—additionally, it is an important document which will be saved by HR for administrative purposes, so it is important to have a professional sounding resignation letter. The purpose of your resignation letter is to explain, not complain!
No matter the reason you are leaving your job, you don’t provide a novel-length explanation in your resignation letter. The HR or your manager don’t have the time to read it.
Blaming others, complaining, explaining frustrations in detail and recounting particular incidents are not to be included in your resignation letter. Make the HR’s job easier by sending a succinct notice of resignation.
Even if your workplace was informal, it is important to maintain formality in your resignation letter. Your resignation letter can be brief but should be properly written, attached to a resignation email containing a few sentences in the body of the email. Never send an attachment, especially a resignation letter, in an empty email!
Although you might not plan to use the company as a reference, maintaining professionalism is still the best practice. Avoid name-calling, swearing, insults, jokes or passive-agressive comments in your resignation letter or email. Not only will your coworkers and management not appreciate it, but it will also reflect poorly on you as well.
And that's it! Resignation letters are simply a way to notify your HR that you’ll be leaving. Use the resignation letter example and checklist below as a template to write your own!
Here’s a checklist for you to make sure you’ve got everything when you write your resignation letter.
[HR Manager’s Name]
Attn: [HR Representative’s or Manager’s Name]
Please accept this letter as formal notice of resignation from [Position Title] at [Company Name], effective immediately as of [Date], with my last day of employment being [Date].
Due to unforeseen circumstances, I believe I am no longer able to satisfy the requirements of [Position Title]. It would be in both mine and the company’s best interests if I vacate the role.
I would like to thank the team at [Company Name] for providing me with support and opportunities during my employment. If there is anything I could do to assist with the transition from the role, I would gladly help.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to discuss this further. You can contact me by phone on XX-XXX-XX or on my personal email [email protected]
Dear [Manager’s Name],
Please accept this notice of resignation from [Job Title] at [Company Name], effective [Date]. My last day of employment at [Company Name] will therefore be the [Date].
Due to the severity of my recent mental health diagnosis, I have decided that I will need to step away from the commitments of full-time employment in order to seek treatment. I intend to achieve a full or functional recovery before seeking employment again, and therefore believe that the role of [Job Title] would be better suited to an employee who can confidently handle the commitment.
I would like to express gratitude to all the staff at [Company Name] for the support during my role and especially during this difficult period of my life. I wish the company great success in the future. If I can provide any assistance with the changeover of this role before my employment ends, I would be more than able to help.
Let me know if you would like to discuss this further, please feel free to contact me.
Dear HR Manager,
Please accept this letter as a formal notice of resignation from [Job Title] at [Company Name], effective [Date], with my last day of employment on the [Date].
I submit this letter with hesitation as I believe the direction the company wishes to continue with management strategies is incompatible with my own goals and professional growth. I believe my skills and expertise would thrive under alternative management circumstances, and therefore have decided to move on from [Job Position] at [Company Name].
I thank all staff and managers at [Company Name] for providing me with opportunities and insight in the [Industry/Field]. I wish the company great success in the future.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you wish to discuss my decision in more detail. Additionally, please let me know how I can assist with my exit from [Company Name], particularly the return of entrance keys and company-issued computer.
Dear [Manager’s Name]
Please accept this letter as a formal notice of resignation from [Company Name] as a [Job Title], effective as of [Date]. My last day of employment is the [Date].
Due to my recent [Diagnosis/Deterioration] of [Health Issue], I have decided to make my health a priority and seek appropriate care. I therefore believe I am not able to fulfill the objectives of the [Job Position] role and believe that it would be in the best interests of myself and the company if the responsibilities of the [Job Position] role were handled by an employee more suited to the role.
The current projects I have been assigned are on-track to be completed before my end of employment. I am more than happy to help with this transition before the end of my employment if necessary. Likewise, if you wish to discuss the return of company equipment and permits, please do not hesitate to contact me.
I extend my gratitude to the whole team at [Company Name] during this phase of my life, as well as during my employment. I wish the team great success in the future.
Attn: [HR Manager]
Please accept this letter as a formal notice of resignation from the [Job Title] position at [Company Name]. This letter is effective as of [Date] and my last day of employment will be the [Date].
I reluctantly end my employment with [Company Name] as I believe that the work culture promoted within [Company Name/Department Name] is incompatible with my work ethos and I feel as though my potential would be better explored through other opportunities.
I wish to thank the team at [Company Name] for providing guidance and support during my employment. I am thankful for the experience I have gained in the [Industry/Field].
Please feel free to arrange a time to meet if you would like to discuss this further.
Attn: [HR Manager]
Please accept this letter as formal notification of resignation from [Job Title] at [Company Name], effective [Date]. My last day of employment will officially be [Date].
After much deliberation, I find the work culture and management dynamics unacceptable, and no longer feel content with working at [Company Name]. The treatment of employees is not conducive to professional or personal development, and therefore I believe my expertise and experience would be appreciated in an environment where they can be appropriately handled.
I thank [Company Name] for the opportunity in spite of this. If you would like to discuss it further, do not hesitate to arrange a meeting.
--- Originally written by Bronte McNamara ---