How to Write a Resignation Letter [20+ Templates]

a picture of business person and resignation letter

A resignation letter is a formal notice (notice letter) to resign from job duties and job responsibilities. The notice letter is to an employer on behalf of an employee. This document is a formal letter authored by the employee to describe the intent to leave a current position. The position could be full-time employment, part-time employment, or contract employment. And where the employee desires to leave on good terms with the company. It's submitted to an employer when they want to leave the company.

What are resignation letters?

A resignation letter (or notice letter) acts as a written notice to the employer. Describing the intent and reason for resigning (the act of “quitting” a job). An employee should meet with their supervisor, manager, or boss to discuss their resignation and provide a “verbal formal notification” of the resignation. Then write a formal notification letter (resignation letter) for their Human Resources department, manager, and current employer.

a resignation letter sample letter

An employee may resign from their employment duties when:

  • Looking to pursue a new career.
  • Deciding to pursue a new job.
  • Deciding to pursue a new job with better benefits and compensation.
  • During or after maternity leave.
  • Deciding to pursue higher education.
  • During organizational or company structure changes.
  • Deciding to resign due to personal reasons, personal health issues, family health issues, or another issue.

It’s important that resigning employees be clear and honest with their employer about their reason for resignation. The reason is that future employers may ask why the candidate resigned from their previous position. And if they call a previous employer, the reasons should align. It’s important that any prospective employer and the previous employer have the same reason for resignation.

Tip: Including references to the reason for resigning on a cover letter is a common activity amongst job seekers. It is important to resign from an employer for honest and professional reasons.

How to Write a Resignation Letter

Here is how to write a resignation letter (notice letter) for a job.

Before Writing a Resignation Letter

Before writing a resignation letter, speak with a supervisor, education board, director, volunteer coordinator, or the person the position reports up to. Inform the manager of the desire to resign. Verbally informing the manager acts as a "verbal formal notice" of resignation.

Meet with a supervisor to provide a verbal notice is Monday, between the hours of 9 AM and 12 PM. Depending on the job and industry type, the manager may ask the employee to follow specific steps to resign. Normally, these steps follow the company or organizational policies.

Tip: Before submitting a resignation letter, review the company handbook and policies. If the employee is considered an "at-will employee," an employer may ask the employee to resign immediately. Especially if they are going to work for a competitor.

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 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."

Writing a Resignation Letter

Write when desiring to leave your job.

  • 1: Use a resignation letter template and replace contact information in the letter heading.
  • 2: Use a resignation letter template and replace the direct supervisor and employer's contact information in the letter heading.
  • 3: Use a resignation letter template and replace the current date. And the date of departure.
  • 4: Start the resignation letter by using a formal salutation or greeting. The intro paragraph should mention the intent to leave the current position and current job (duties and responsibilities). Include the reason for resignation, like a toxic work environment or personal reason.
  • 5: Include the official staff position and the date of the desired last day of employment.
  • 6: Include the agreed-upon notice period between supervisor and resigning employee.
  • 7: Include a note showing gratitude to the current employer for the job opportunity. And the reason for leaving your job.
  • 8: Highlight a positive and heartfelt shared experience with the employer.
  • 9: Offer to train a new hire, replacement, or colleague.
  • 10: End the letter by wishing good grace to the company and team. Printing a hard copy of the letter? Be sure to sign your name at the end of the letter. Submit the letter to HR.

While optional, a "good resignation letter" shares at least one significant and positive experience with the company and team. Once the resignation letter gets submitted, the employee can ask their supervisor for a recommendation letter. Toward the end of the notice period (usually two weeks notice period), the employer may perform an “exit interview." An exit interview provides the resigning employee with an opportunity to give provide feedback to the employer, manager, and team. This way both the employee and the employer can leave the situation with closure and a sense of respect and amicability.

Submitting a Resignation Letter

After writing the resignation letter, it's essential to submit the letter to the supervisor that the position reports to and the human resources department. In a teaching position, this may be the faculty or education board. In a medical job, this may be to the medical director or hospital administrator.

The time to send a formal resignation letter is Monday, between the hours of 9 AM and 12 PM. This time is best because the supervisor, manager, boss, and employer can better coordinate the transition period for the following two weeks.

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.

Emailing a Resignation Letter

When writing a resignation email, here’s what to include.

  • The date of the verbal formal notice of resignation.
  • The job title getting 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.

Resignation Email Sample

Below is a sample resignation email.

Dear John —

As discussed on May 1st, 2020, I intend to resign from my position as Product Designer effective May 14th, 2020. As agreed upon in this meeting, we have determined the notice period’s goals, two weeks from today’s date.

I've attached a copy of my formal resignation letter. I aim to exit the company on good terms with the team. I am here to provide as much assistance as possible to ensure a smooth transition. Please let me know how I can help during this transition.

Please accept my resignation. I appreciate the opportunity to work closely with you. And I look forward to staying in touch.

Sincerely,
Ryan

When sending a resignation email, include a professional email subject line. Like the following:

Ryan Smith - Product Designer - Resignation

Resignation Letter Format

The following resignation format should be followed when writing a professional resignation letter.

Contact Information
First Name / Last Name
Address
Phone Number
Email Address

Current Date
January 1, 2020

Employer Contact Information
Manager’s Name
Job Title
Manager’s Email Address
Company Name

Salutation / Greeting
Dear Mr./Ms./Mrs. Last Name

First Paragraph
State the notice of resignation and when the resignation is effective (referred to as the end of employment date or effective date).

Middle Paragraph
Thank the employer for the opportunities they have provided to you, the resigning employee. Highlight positive experiences with the employer.

Final Paragraph
End the resignation with a sincere thank you and offer to assist with the transition or train a new employee/colleague.

Closing Statement
Sincerely or Respectfully yours.

Signature
Typed or Handwritten Signature.

Tip: It can be important to check with the state's unemployment benefits office to find out more information regarding unemployment benefits. Especially in the event of a company layoff, resignation, or termination. New York State's Department of Labor website provides helpful frequently asked questions for unemployed persons that are applicable to many states.

Resignation Letter Templates & Samples

Below are resignation letters and letter templates.

Job Title

Format

Reason

By Time

Additional Resources

Resignation Letter Example

Below is a letter of resignation sample to use as a writing guide.

John Smith
[email protected]
888-888-8888
123 Road, St., New York NY 11121

June 1st, 2019

Company Inc.
Sarah Doe
[email protected]
Senior Management
123 Business Road, New York NY 11121

Dear Sarah —

As discussed on May 1st, 2020, I am submitting my formal notice, resigning from my position as Product Designer effective May 14th, 2020. As agreed upon in the meeting on May 1st, 2020, we have agreed upon the transition period’s next two weeks’ goals.

My experience at this company has been nothing but positive. I am so thankful I had the chance to work closely with you and the rest of the team. The lessons and skills I have learned will be invaluable to me in my career. I will dearly miss working with you and the group regularly. My reason for leaving is due to an advancement opportunity that I cannot deny. And I recognize I wouldn’t have that opportunity without the experience I was able to gain by working with you.

I genuinely hope to stay in close contact and continue to have a working relationship in the future. I will be happy to help with my transition. That would mean finding or training my replacement and ensuring all of my work is lined up for the new hire to take on.

Please let me know how I can assist in this transition and ensure the company’s continued success.

Thank you so much for being able to work with you. Please stay in touch.

Sincerely,
John Smith

General Resignation Letter Template

Below is a letter of resignation template to use as an employee who would like to write their own letter of resignation. When writing, follow the sample letter provided in this guide.

[First and Late Name]
[Email Address]
[Phone Number]
[Mailing Address]

[Current Date]

[Company Name]
[Manager's Name]
[Manager's Email Address]
[Manager's Job Title]
[Optional: Business Mailing Address]

Dear [Manager's First Name] —

As discussed on [Date of Verbal Notice], I am submitting my formal notice, resigning from my position as [Job Title] effective [Desired End Date of Employment]. As agreed upon in the meeting on [Date of Verbal Notice], we have agreed upon the transition period’s next two weeks’ goals.

My experience at this company has been nothing but positive. I am so thankful I had the chance to work closely with you and the rest of the team. The lessons and skills I have learned will be invaluable to me in my career. I will dearly miss working with you and the group regularly. My reason for leaving is [Reason for Resignation].

I genuinely hope to stay in close contact and continue to have a working relationship in the future. I will be happy to help with my transition. That would mean finding or training my replacement and ensuring all of my work is lined up for the new hire to take on. [Insert Additional Notice Period Goals as Discussed in the Verbal Notice Meeting]. It's been a pleasure working with you.

Please let me know how I can assist in this transition and ensure the company’s continued success.

Thank you so much for being able to work with you.

Sincerely,
[Your First and Last Name]
[Your Email Address]
[Your Phone Number]
best resignation letter template

Resignation Letter Template

Download this resignation letter template in Word format. Can be imported as a Google Doc. Instant download. No email required.

Download Template

Resignation Letter Tips

Below are the best practices for writing an effective resignation letter.

Offer to assist with the transition

Always offer the employer or manager assistance with transitioning the job duties and responsibilities to another colleague or a new hire. Place this question within the resignation letter's second or third paragraph. And include an offer to help with the transition inside the resignation email.

Provide two weeks' notice

In most jobs, aside from executive positions and academic positions, two weeks' notice is customary. It provides the employer with ample time to replace the team's job function and ensures that projects are being completed on time. Be sure to include the two weeks' notice request in the resignation email.

Refer to the company handbook

Vital information is contained in the human resource manual provided to employees during training. One portion each employee should examine is whether they are considered an "at-will" employee. An "at-will" employee can be terminated, without cause, for any reason. Meaning, if the employee submits their resignation letter, with two weeks' notice attached, the employer has the potential to terminate the employee that day. Especially if they are going to work for a competitor.

Avoid a two-page letter

A common mistake from entry-level workers writing their first resignation letter is to write a two-page letter. While it may seem heartfelt to share such an in-depth story, this isn't the best practice. Keep the letter to one page and use the "goodbye email."

Deliver the letter in person

After writing the resignation letter, ask to meet with the manager and deliver the letter in person. During this meeting, the details of the resignation should be discussed. The details should include the desired last day of employment, transition period, reason for resigning, and transition period goals.

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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