Resignation Letter Examples (+ How to Write One) [2020 Updated]
Writing the perfect letter of resignation (resignation letter) is more of an art than it is a science. It is about showing your appreciation for the opportunity as well as informing your employer about the next steps. And we’re going to cover how to master that art form in this writeup. 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!
Learn How to Write a Resignation Letter
- What Is A Resignation Letter And Why Write One?
- How To Write A Letter Of Resignation (Step By Step)
- What Should Go In My Letter
- Good Reasons For Leaving The Job
- What Not To Say In Your Letter
- What Do I Do After I Have My Letter?
- Is My Resignation Letter And 2-Weeks Notice The Same?
- Important Resignation Letter Tips
- Emailing Your Resignation Letter (How To)
- Email Subject Lines For Sending Your Letter
- What Are The Most Difficult Types Of Resignation Letters To Write?
- The Last Step: A Farewell Email To Your Colleagues
Resignation Letter Samples
- Sample Resignation Letter
- Teacher Resignation Letter Sample
- Nurse Resignation Letter Sample
- Retirement Resignation Letter Sample
- Chef Resignation Letter Sample
- Short Resignation Letter Sample
- Generic Resignation Letter Template
What Is A Resignation Letter And Why Write One?
A letter of resignation 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 letter of resignation 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 letter of resignation 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 letter of resignation. 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 departing. 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. 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.
Pro tip: Anthony Klotz tells us that resignations that are face-to-face, with one's manager to announce the resignation, and with a standard notice period is considered the best way to resign. Giving a proper explanation for the resignation shows business etiquette.
What Should Go In My Letter
There are a few things that should go into your letter of resignation, most of them are some basic data points and structural components of the letter itself.
It should include:
- A formal header at the top of the letter which includes your name, address, personal email address and personal phone number.
- An introduction where you address the person you are writing the letter to.
- A body of the letter which contains your actual resignation communication to the employer.
- A footer which contains your name, thank you, and signature if you can.
Good Reasons For Leaving The Job
One of the things that many people like to include in their letter of resignation is their reason for the departure. It is optional. Though, highly recommended and appreciated by your boss.
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 letter:
- An advancement opportunity.
- A need to change scenery.
- Having gained as much experience as the environment can offer.
- A desire for a location change.
- A need to address family or health reasons.
- A recent pregnancy that you'd like to focus on.
- A desire to head back to school (or receive an MBA).
What Not To Say In Your Letter
When writing your 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 to vent.
Try to avoid some of the following when writing your letter:
- A reason for rescinding from the job that includes someone's name or the way they work.
- A reason for rescinding from the job that includes what the company needs to do better and why you’re rescinding because of it.
- Too short of a letter, which is another way of stating that you were displeased with the environment and are rescinding on negative terms.
- Not including your contact information or a formal thank you for the employment.
What Do I Do After I Have My Letter?
What most guides don’t cover is what you do after you have your 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 departing.
After that, be sure that you contact your HR department and inform them that you’ll be rescinding from 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 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:
- Connect with your manager about your desire to leave by phone or an in-person meeting.
- Connect with your HR team about your desire to leave by phone or an in-person meeting.
- Submit your letter to your manager or management team.
- Submit your letter to the HR team.
- Once you've been approved for your last day, before your departure be sure that you send a farewell email to your colleagues.
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.
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 letter of resignation.
Should I send my letter by email? You probably shouldn't send your letter body in an email body. That means you don't want your actual 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 letter can download it, forward it or store it more easily.
Should I make my letter funny? Making a funny letter of resignation 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 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 sign-off 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 letter that you'll be paying more attention to your health and informing your boss that your reason for leaving is due to health concerns.
Emailing Your Resignation Letter
As mentioned, you should never make your email your letter. Your 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 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 letter and are ready to send your email, here's what it should look like:
And should look something like this as a final result:
Email Subject Lines For Sending Your 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 letter:
- "Regarding My Employment"
- "Regarding The Employment Of [Your Name]"
- "Regarding Our Discussion On [Date]"
- "Resignation Letter For: [Your Name]"
- "Resigning From My Duties: [Your Name]"
- "Resignation: [Your Name]"
- "[Your Name] Resignation Letter"
What Are The Most Difficult Types Of Resignation Letters To Write?
A few letter types 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 work experience 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 boss 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 letter of resignation. 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.
Resignation Letter FAQ's
Here are common questions that employees have when resigning to their boss.
Why is leaving your job so hard?
It is an emotional time for both you and your boss. It can cause additional work that your manager might not have been expecting. It can be a time of transition and stress. And this is what can make it difficult.
What is an exit interview and how should I prepare for one?
An exit interview is a way for your boss to learn more about what they could do better in the current work environment. Try to prepare by having a list of talking points or valuable additions on how the next person who takes your role might be able to improve their work.
Should I submit a resignation letter at my current job before I have accepted a new job offer?
You should accept your new job offer before you resign from your current job, always.
How should I address my prior resignation in my upcoming cover letter?
You should not. Keep your cover letter focused on your work accomplishments only. Those letters are not intended to express why you left a job. If you want an example see our cover letter sample database.
Should I mention anything about work-life balance in my resignation letter?
No. Even if this is your real reason for wanting to resign. This is not something that you should mention in your resignation letter.
Is a resignation letter required to quit your job?
Ideally, yes. You should write a resignation letter when you quit your job. You don't have to submit one but it is considered a polite and formal action when you quitting your job.
Do I need to submit a resignation letter when going on maternity leave?
No, you should not have to. Though you may want to refer to your employee handbook on the maternity leave policies and ensure you're following them appropriately.
Should I meet with my supervisor before writing my letter?
Yes, it is courteous to meet with your supervisor about your desire to depart and relieve your duties before you write your letter.
What is the best day to submit a resignation letter?
The best day to submit a letter is either the beginning of the week or the end of the week. Monday or Friday.
Should I mention this isn't my dream job in my letter?
No, you should not mention anything regarding this position or company not being your dream job. That would be impolite.
What if I have to resign under emergency circumstances?
Then be sure to communicate with your manager that it was not your intention to leave so abruptly but due to emergency circumstances you have to relieve your duties.
What does the phrase careful consideration mean and why do I see it in resignation letters?
The phrase careful consideration is a formal way of describing the level of thought you put into making your decision. It implies you took time to consider your actions before making them.
Should I include my job title on the resignation letter?
Yes, it can help to make your letter seem more formal. Including the date, job title, and managers information can be helpful to the human resources team and your current employer.
What should the tone of my resignation letter be?
No matter what, express your gratitude for the job. This is the best way to make a great letter. Gratitude is your optimal tone. Your boss will appreciate this.
What if I was only filling an employment contract, should I write a letter?
Yes, you should. Even if you were on a contract position, you should submit a resignation letter just the same as any other employee.
What is a transition period?
A transition period is the time required to alleviate you of your duties and allow another professional to take them over.
What's one piece of career advice you would give someone quitting a job?
Try to be graceful in your exit. You never know who your boss is connected to and how that could impact your professional development. Don't quit abruptly. Handle the situation with grace and professionalism.
Key Research & Insights
We conducted a survey in 2019, asking business owners to tell us their experience with professionals providing their resignation. Here are the insights we were able to obtain:
- Professionals who didn't provide a full two-week notice were often not given letters of recommendation for future employment.
- 84% of professionals were able to gracefully resign after having face-to-face discussions with their managers.
- Upwards of 68% of professionals decide to have face-to-face discussions with their employers before submitting their two-week notice letter or letter of resignation.
- Professionals where management felt their performance was poor often didn't complete their full two-weeks before resigning. An indicator that when both parties feel the relationship is poor while actively employed, it often leads to poor exits.
- Professionals who spent time on their letter of resignation and left a lasting impression (using more than 400 words) often received multiple letters of recommendation and their management provided them the chance to be a reference for future employment opportunities.
Best Sample Resignation Letter
When writing a resignation letter, be sure that you:
- Have spoken with your manager in advance of writing.
- Keep your message friendly, upbeat, and sincere.
Teacher Resignation Letter Sample
When writing a teacher resignation letter, be sure that you have:
- Spoken to school faculty about notifying parents.
- Indicated your plans for a replacement if not discussed with the principal or other faculty.
Nurse Resignation Letter Sample
When writing a nurse (or RN) resignation letter, be sure that you:
- Have spoken to your hospital or medical staff about your replacement.
- Have dediced on your final end date in accordance to a replacement so that patient care doesn't suffer.
Retirement Resignation Letter Sample
When writing a retirement resignation letter, be sure that you:
- Clearly communicated that you plan to retire after this position.
- Communicate with sincereity that you are happy this was your last place of employment before retiring.
Short Resignation Letter Sample
When writing a short resignation letter, be sure that you:
- Have spoken with your manager in advance of writing.
- Keep your message friendly, upbeat, and sincere.
Resignation Letter Template
Chef Resignation Letter Sample
When writing a chef resignation letter, be sure that you:
- Have spoken with the restaurant staff regarding your depature.
- Have made plans to train your replacement so the establishment doesn't suffer.
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