What is a Two Weeks' Notice and How to Submit One
Two weeks’ notice is a notice period given to an employer when resigning from a current position. This provides the company with ample time and opportunity to replace job duties and responsibilities currently held. It is a commonplace to have the company or employer hire a new employee or train an existing worker to replace the employee who is resigning.
Two weeks notice is sometimes referred to as “2 weeks notice” or giving a “final two weeks.”
A notice period of two weeks is considered standard in all full-time and contract positions. Employees should refer to their employee handbook (or employment contract if in a senior executive role) if they aren’t familiar with the notice period defaults they have as part of their human resource policies.
When submitting a resignation letter, it is often implied that the employee will provide two weeks to allow the position to be replaced or filled. This is considered providing “proper notice” to an employer and is generally standard practice across the United States.
How to Submit a Two Weeks' Notice
Here's how to submit a two weeks notice.
Tell the manager or boss, first
It's important to inform the manager or supervisor of the position that there is intent to resign. This should happen in a face-to-face meeting or by phone. The employee should schedule time with the manager directly. From there, inform the manager of the decision to leave and why.
Here's what should be said in the meeting:
For more information on how to tell your boss you're quitting, visit this resource.
Review the company handbook
All employees are provided a company handbook during training. The employee handbook should contain insights into the resignation process. For example, a professor teaching in Illinois at a four-year university should follow the academic guidelines for separating employees. The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana describes their process as including meeting with the "State Universities Retirement System (SURS). SURS will meet with the employee and discuss all of the employee’s options. Once the employee has talked with SURS and signed retirement papers, he/she will need to contact their department. The department will need a signed statement indicating the employee’s last day of work."
Be formal about the two weeks' notice
It's best to provide the notice in person rather than writing an email. This shows the supervisor and manager a great deal of respect. And can assist in the process of moving forward. Also, for some employees, this may provide a framework for receiving a counteroffer if the employee is leaving the place of employment due to low salary.
Always provide the two weeks' notice in person or by phone.
Explain the reason for leaving
Sharing a short story on why the two weeks' notice is being provided will help the employer comprehend the reason. Any information that's not shared with the supervisor or manager could leave the notice up for question. Or potentially bring in an opportunity for a miscommunication.
It's better to provide an honest and heartfelt reason for resigning when submitting a two weeks' notice. This way, the manager feels more compelled to write a letter of recommendation when asked. Or can provide a strong recommendation if being contacted as a reference for future employment opportunities.
Write a resignation letter
All employees will be asked to write a resignation letter. The resignation letter provides the human resources team with the employee's official notice of resigning from their duties. It includes an end date of employment and an agreement on the transition period objectives.
For more information on writing a formal resignation letter, visit this resource.
Submit the resignation letter
When writing a resignation email (or including a resignation letter as part of a resignation email), here’s what to include:
- The date of the verbal formal notice of resignation.
- The job title being resigned from.
- A formal resignation notice note (a positive note to the employer).
- The agreed upon notice period (most commonly two weeks' notice).
- The date of the desired last day of employment.
- An offer to train a colleague or new hire to make the job transition (transition period) easier.
Below is a sample resignation email.
Resigning from Employment
When an employee resigns from their duties, they should follow these steps:
- Speak with the supervisor. The employee will speak with their boss, supervisor, or manager and inform them of the resignation notice. During this conversation, the two employees will determine the goals for the notice period or two weeks' notice.
- Writing a resignation letter. The employee will write a formal resignation letter or notice letter. And submit this letter to the HR department to keep on record. Then begin the transition period with the supervisor or manager, transferring all duties to another person. The employee will write the letter in a PDF document but send a resignation email to the HR department informing them that the employee is quitting.
- Final day of employment. On the final day of employment (two weeks after the formal notice date), the employer will perform an exit interview, allowing the employee to provide feedback on the position and the manager.
Tip: Holding an employment contract with a company may make resigning more difficult. It may mean a longer notice period to the employer and other contractual obligations. Refer to the employment agreement for further details. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, an employment contract contains information on termination, dispute resolution, compensation and benefits, and restrictive covenant. An employment contract may be more common for job titles like Chief Operating Officer or medical positions like oncologist or surgeon.
When the employee decides to leave or resign, they often inform their current employer of the reason. Some of the reasons for leaving the current company might include:
- Relocating for a spouse or family member.
- Family illness or health issues.
- A new job with better benefits and salary.
For more information on providing reasons for leaving a job, visit this resource.
When resigning from a position on “short notice” it means that the employee is deciding to leave the company on short notice, or less than two weeks of time to transfer the current job responsibilities to another coworker. Some reasons why an employee may decide to leave on short notice include:
- Dissatisfaction with management.
- Dissatisfaction with coworkers.
- Coworker bullying.
- Sexual harassment or other hostile workplace issues.
Resigning on short notice is considered poor business etiquette as this places significant pressure on the employer to replace existing job duties. This is considered not providing “adequate notice” to the employer. And can make leaving the company on “good terms” difficult.
Depending on the situation, for example, a family illness. The employee may only be able to provide one week of a notice period. In this circumstance, the employee may leave the company on “good terms” due to the reason and inability to provide a full two weeks' notice. If the employee speaks with their manager about resigning properly, a professional relationship can be retained.
Often, short notice is provided to an employer when they are dissatisfied with the workplace or job. This immediate resignation is often based on the employee’s perspective and leaves the manager feeling there may have been a “better way” to resign. When possible, provide two weeks of a notice period.
Tips for Giving a Two Weeks' Notice
When giving a two weeks notice, consider the following:
- Don’t submit a letter without speaking with the manager. Writing a letter and submitting it without any verbal notice of resignation is not a great way to transition out of the company. And may eliminate your former employer from being a future reference.
- Have a transition plan. Determine who might be a good fit for taking over the roles and responsibilities currently held. This should be a colleague first; then new hires second.
- Write a thoughtful resignation letter. Sharing one or two heartfelt stories can be a great way to end the professional relationship.
- Drive home goals. Don’t forget that the next two weeks are about leaving a “positive mark” as a former employee. Drive home results.
Two Weeks' Notice Letter Template
Below are resignation letters and free templates.
By Job Title
- Maternity Leave
- Board Resignation
- Personal Reasons
- New Job
- Better Salary and Benefits
- Hostile Work Environment
- Unhappy with Management
- Unfair Treatment
- Health and Stress
- Going Back to School
- Voluntary Resignation Letter
- Immediate Resignation Letter
- Two Weeks Notice
- Short Notice Resignation Letter
- 24 Hours Notice
- Part-Time Job
- How to Tell Your Boss You're Quitting
- What is a "Two Weeks Notice"
- Resignation Letter Format
- Resignation Email
- Goodbye Email to Coworkers
- How to Quit a Job
- Rescind Resignation Letter
Our favorite resources are included below.
Job interview resources
- Common Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Prepare for Behavioral Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Preparing for Job Interviews by the University of Kansas
- Mock Interview Handbook by CSUCI
- Interview Guidebook by Lebanon Valley College
Resume and cover letter resources
- Writing a Resume and Cover Letter by USC
- Resume Writing Tips by the University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Resume and Cover Letter Guide by Harvard University
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