Resignation Letter (2019): Full Guide, How To Write It, Templates, Samples

Writing the perfect letter of resignation is more of an art than it is a science. And we’re going to cover how to master that art form in this full guide. It can be a stressful and complicated scenario: resigning from your job. But we’re going to help reduce the stress involved in going through this process.

Ready to get started? Let’s dig right in!

Table Of Contents

What Is A Resignation Letter And Why Write One?

A resignation letter is a formal way of ensuring that your employer knows you'd like to remove yourself from the company. While it used to be the standard way to inform your employer about your leave, it has become more of a clerical item. Meaning HR departments require this letter to be stored as part of your employment history. The act of writing and sending a resignation letter is considered a professional and courteous act.

Pro fact: A study that was led by Lou Adler suggests that 85% of critical jobs are filled via networking. This means sustaining your working network is absolutely critical.

How To Write A Letter Of Resignation (Step By Step)

Writing a resignation letter isn’t as complicated as you might think. But it’s good that you’re reading this guide trying to ensure that you follow the steps to resigning in a professional and courteous way. Resigning isn’t usually a practice that’s covered in an employee handbook or as part of your employment training. Meaning, you’ll need to learn how to resign on your own.

Below is an overview of the steps we’ll want to take in order to write the best resignation letter:

1. Always keep your communication positive. This is one of the hardest steps when writing a resignation letter. And one that makes us put it at the top of the list. When resigning, you usually have a good reason to do so. But you’ll want to make sure you aren’t venting your frustration with the company on your way out. Keep your communication positive at all costs!

2. Include a formal greeting. Before you get into your first paragraph of the resignation letter, be sure you professionally address whoever is receiving the letter. Something like, “Dear Sarah”.

3. Be direct in your first paragraph. In your first paragraph of the resignation letter body, be sure you get straight to the point. Say something like, “This is regarding my employment here and my request to resign.” If you’d like, you can list your reason for leaving. But it doesn’t have to be said if you don’t want to.

4. Be thankful for the opportunity. This is truly important. Make sure that in the body of your letter you thank your employer for the opportunity. Something like, “I am truly grateful for the experience I have been able to gather here and the people I’ve been able to work with.”

5. Assist in your transition out. If you can, offer to assist in searching for your replacement or helping to train your replacement to transition the duties you currently manage.

6. Be punctual. This seems simple but be sure that you are proofreading your letter for grammar and spelling errors.

What Should Go In My Resignation Letter

There are a few things that should go into your resignation letter, most of them are some basic data points and structural components of the letter itself.

It should include:

Good Reasons For Leaving The Job

One of the things that many people like to include in their resignation letter is their reason for the departure. It is optional. Though, highly recommended and appreciated by the employer.

But when picking your reason, you have to make sure your position is a polite one. So how do you do that? The way you do it is by choosing to describe your reasoning in a professional way.

Here are some great reasons you can use to include in your resignation letter:

Related: Reasons For Leaving A Job: 35 Good Examples, 15 Bad Examples

What Not To Say In Your Resignation Letter

When writing your resignation letter body, there are a few points you want to avoid. The first thing you want to avoid is a long letter. Something that shows you clearly had issues with the working environment and you’re using this opportunity to vent.

Try to avoid some of the following when writing your resignation letter:

What Do I Do After I Have My Resignation Letter?

What most guides don’t cover is what you do after you have your resignation letter written. The first thing you should do is contact your direct report and make sure you explain either by phone or in-person that you’re going to be leaving.

After that, be sure that you contact your HR department and inform them that you’ll be leaving the environment as well. Both your direct report (your manager) and your HR department should be helpful in transitioning you out of the role.

Submit your resignation letter to both HR and your manager or management team as apart of the standard process. That means you may need to submit two letters.

Here are the steps in short:

Is My Resignation Letter And 2 Weeks Notice The Same?

The discussion of your two-week notice should happen in the step where you communicate with your manager and the HR team. You can request your transition out of the company to be two-weeks due to the need to transition into your new employment role.

With that said, your resignation letter and two-week notice are essentially the same things. Though, your resignation letter does not need to cover the fact that you are requesting to end your employment within two weeks. That step should happen verbally, between you and your management team.

If you are desiring to submit two weeks notice but don't know how to do so, read our full guide here.

Related: Two Weeks Notice Letter: How To Write It, Samples, Full Guide

Best Sample Resignation Letter

January 1, 2019

John Smith
john@smith.com
888-888-8888
123 Road, St., New York NY 11121

Company Inc.
Sarah Doe
sarah@company.com
Senior Management
123 Business Road, New York NY 11121

Dear Sarah —

This letter is with a heavy heart. I’m submitting my letter of resignation. My experience at this company has been nothing but positive. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to be able to work closely with you and the rest of the team. The lessons and skills I have learned will be invaluable to me going forward in my career. I will dearly miss working with you and the team on a regular basis. 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 truly hope that we can 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 continued success of the company.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to be able to work with you.

Sincerely,
John Smith

Download As A Word Document ↓

Sample Resignation Letter For Teachers

January 1, 2019

John Smith
john@smith.com
888-888-8888
123 Road, St., New York NY 11121

Sam Elementary School
Ian Doe
ian@company.com
School Coordinator/Principal
123 Business Road, New York NY 11121

Dear Ian —

This letter is to inform you that I would like to resign from my position as a 3rd Grade Teacher from Rock Sam Elementary School. I'd like to sincerely thank you for the opportunity to be part of this team and community. Being able to interact with these great children on a daily basis is something I will truly cherish. I cannot thank you enough for taking a risk on me and teaching me invaluable skills that will help me propel my career going forward.

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

Thank you so much for the opportunity to be able to work with you.

Sincerely,
John Smith

Download As A Word Document ↓

Best Sample Resignation Letter For Nurses

January 1, 2019

John Smith
john@smith.com
888-888-8888
123 Road, St., New York NY 11121

New Sam Hospital
Ryan Doe
ryan@company.com
Hospital Coordinator
123 Business Road, New York NY 11121

Dear Ryan —

This letter is to inform you that I would like to relieve myself of duties starting September 1st, 2019. This will alleviate me of my nursing responsibilities for those in our cancer ward. I have sincerely enjoyed my tenure here at New Sam Hospital. The experience I have been able to receive here will be invaluable for me going forward in my career.

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

Thank you so much for the opportunity to be able to work with you.

Sincerely,
John Smith

Download As A Word Document ↓

Best Sample Resignation Letter For Those Retiring (Retirement Letter)

January 1, 2019

John Smith
john@smith.com
888-888-8888
123 Road, St., New York NY 11121

Company Inc.
Bryan Doe
bryan@company.com
Senior Management
123 Business Road, New York NY 11121

Dear Bryan —

This letter is with a heavy heart. I've decided it is best for me to retire starting on September 1st, 2019. I have had a very long and fruitful career and I am very thankful to end my career at such a great company and with such a great team.

While it will be very difficult for me to wake up every morning and not come into this wonderful atmosphere where I am embraced with creativity and excitement on a daily basis, I must focus on my family and health moving forward. This will be a unique change for me but one that I am excited about.

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

Thank you so much for the opportunity to be able to work with you.

Sincerely,
John Smith

Download As A Word Document ↓

Best Short & Simple Resignation Letter Example

January 1, 2019

John Smith
john@smith.com
888-888-8888
123 Road, St., New York NY 11121

Company Inc.
Bryan Doe
bryan@company.com
Senior Management
123 Business Road, New York NY 11121

Dear Bryan —

It is with a heavy heart that I must submit notice for my employment to end at the ideal date of September 1, 2019 and relieve my duties as Director. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity that Company Inc has provided me. And the guidance that you have shown me. I would be happy to assist in the transition and I look forward to staying professionally connected.

Sincerely,
John Smith

Download As A Word Document ↓

Resignation Letter Template (Easy Copy & Paste)

[Current Date]

[Your Full Name]
[Your Address]
[Your Personal Email]
[Your Personal Phone Number]

[Company Name]
[Manager Name]
[Manager Email]
[Manager Role/Title]
[Company Address]

Dear [Manager Name] —

Body of your resignation letter should go here, as per our guide, be sure that you include:
A sincere thank you for the employment
Addressing the fact that you are leaving the company
A reason for why you are leaving
Asking to assist in the transition
Keep your body of the letter between 300 - 500 words

Sincerely,
[Your Hand Written Signature]
[Your Name]

Important Resignation Letter Tips

Here are a few tips based on the most frequently asked questions as it relates to both the process of writing and sending your resignation letter.

Should I send my resignation letter by email? You probably shouldn't send your resignation letter body in an email body. That means you don't want your actual resignation letter to be an email. But what you should do is either create a PDF or create a DOCX (Microsoft Word Document) file that you then attach into the email you send. This is so that the receiver of the resignation letter can download it, forward it or store it more easily.

Should I make my resignation letter funny? Making a funny resignation letter is very difficult. And it also requires a very deep relationship with the person you're sending it to. An attempt at a funny resignation letter could easily come off as unprofessional and that will be difficult for you to manage. Keep your resignation letter professional and sincere, it will be the easiest for you to manage in terms of communication with your HR department and management team.

Can I use other forms of signoff instead of "Sincerely"? Absolutely. The other options that you have are "Thank you so much" or "With the utmost of respect" or something else that is classified as formal writing.

What if I have health issues? Is that a valid reason for resigning? Absolutely. All you have to do is communicate in your resignation letter that you'll be paying more attention to your health and informing your employer that your reason for leaving is due to health concerns.

Emailing Your Resignation Letter (How To)

Like mentioned, you should never make your email your resignation letter. Your resignation letter should always be attached as either a Microsoft Word Document or a PDF that is part of the email that you'll send to both your HR department as well as your manager. Both of these parties should receive separate emails as well as separate resignation letters.

Important: Be sure that you have a discussion with your manager about your desire to leave before sending this email.

When you have your resignation letter and are ready to send your email, here's what it should look like:

Dear Sarah —

It is with a heavy heart that I send you my resignation letter (attached here) per our discussion the other day. If you have any questions or concerns please don't hesitate to ask.

Please let me know how I can assist in the transition and drive success for the last few weeks that I am part of this great company.

Sincerely,
John

And should look something like this as a final result:

Email Subject Lines For Sending Your Resignation Letter

As mentioned in this guide, you should send an email to both your management (or manager) as well as your HR department. When you do that, you'll probably be wondering what email subject line you should use. Here are a few example email subject lines you can use when sending your resignation letter:

What Are The Most Difficult Types Of Resignation Letters To Write?

A few resignation letters are particularly difficult to write. And this is due to your working history with that employer. Here are a few of the most difficult types of resignation letters you might have to write and how to deal with them.

When You've Had Short Employment (Not Much Time At The Company)

If you've worked at the company for less than 3-months writing your resignation letter is going to be difficult because the employer isn't going to take kindly to the volatility you are placing into the role. The best thing you can do is be appreciative of the opportunity and apologize for not being able to stay with the company longer.

When You Are Resigning On 24-Hour's Notice Or Short Notice

Resigning on short notice is very hard. The best thing you can do is communicate with your employer and if you have a valid reason for leaving on short notice (like family or health issues) that you are clear about that being the case. As long as you do that, it should be much easier to deal with.

The Last Step: A Farewell Email To Your Colleagues

After this is all said and done, you'll want to be sure you connect with your colleagues and thank them for your time with them. They don't individually need a resignation letter. But it would be good to send a personalized email where you inform them that you'll be leaving the company. We've put together an incredible guide on writing a goodbye email to your coworkers to help you with this process.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams.

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