How to Write a Resignation Letter (With Examples) [20+ Free Templates]
A resignation letter is a formal notice to resign from job duties and job responsibilities to an employer on behalf of an employee. The 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.
A resignation 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.
An employee may resign from their employment duties when:
- Deciding 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. If future employers read a cover letter with one reason and contact an employer, and hear another reason—that could make the employee seem distrustful.
How to Write a Resignation Letter
Here is how to write a resignation 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.
The best day and time to 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 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."
Writing a Resignation Letter
- Step 1: Use a resignation letter template and replace contact information in the letter heading.
- Step 2: Use a resignation letter template and replace the direct supervisor and employer's contact information in the letter heading.
- Step 3: Use a resignation letter template and replace the current date.
- Step 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).
- Step 5: Include the official staff position and the date of the desired last day of employment.
- Step 6: Include the agreed-upon notice period between supervisor and resigning employee.
- Step 7: Include a note showing gratitude to the current employer for the job opportunity.
- Step 8: Highlight a positive and heartfelt shared experience with the employer.
- Step 9: Offer to train a new hire, replacement, or colleague.
- Step 10: End the letter by wishing good grace to the company and team.
While optional, a "good resignation letter" shares at least one significant and positive experience with the company and team. Once the resignation letter is 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,” which provides the resigning employee with an opportunity to provide feedback to the employer, manager, and team.
After Writing 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 best day and time of the week 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 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.
Resignation Email Sample
Below is a sample resignation email.
When sending a resignation email, include a professional email subject line. Like the following:
Resignation Letter Format
The following resignation format should be followed when writing a professional resignation letter.
Tip: It can be important to check with the state's unemployment benefits office to find out more information regarding unemployment benefits 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 Document Format
A resignation letter should follow these document guidelines:
- Use a business letter format.
- Use the default page margins.
- Use line spacing of 1.15 or 1.5 at the most, avoid using double line spacing.
- Use a font size of 9pt to 11pt at the most.
- Use a professional font like Helvetica, Garamond, or Times New Roman.
Use the default business letter settings built into Google Docs to expedite this process.
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
- Switching Departments
- Unethical Practices
- Heavy Workload
- Feeling Undervalued
- Job Dissatisfaction
- Travel Distance
- 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
Resignation Letter Example
Below is a letter of resignation sample to use as a writing guide.
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.
Formal Resignation Letter Example
Below is a sample resignation letter.
Nursing Resignation Letter Example
Police Resignation Letter Example
Teacher Resignation Letter to Principal Example
Below is a sample resignation letter for a general teaching position. A resignation letter should be written to the parents and student body, as well.
Resignation Letter Due to Hostile Work Environment Example
Sample resignation letter due to a hostile workplace or toxic work environment.
Resignation Letter Due to Relocation Example
Health, Illness, and Stress Resignation Letter Example
Immediate Resignation Letter Example
Short Notice Resignation Letter Example
Board Resignation Letter Example
Retirement Resignation Letter Example
Heartfelt Resignation Letter Example
Department Change or Promotion Resignation Letter Example
Better Salary and Benefits Resignation Letter Example
Executive Resignation Letter Example
Executive positions require writing more details regarding the resignation than "at-will" employees.
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.
Ask a friend to read the letter
To prevent potential miscommunication, ask a friend or mentor to read the resignation letter before sending it. Having a friend read the letter can assist with word use, grammar, punctuation, or other potential mishaps.
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 or not 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 a best practice. Keep the letter to one page and use the "goodbye email" sent to colleagues on the final day of employment as the place to be heartfelt.
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.
Common resignation letter questions from employees and job seekers.
What's the best reason for resigning?
No upward mobility or "looking for career growth."
How do I know when I should resign from my job?
Priscilla Claman of Havard Business Review says, "There are two times when you should consider resigning even if you don't have another job line up: When you believe something illegal or unethical is going on at work and you are concerned it will reflect badly on you. When your current job is negatively affecting your health and your life outside of work."
Related Hiring ResourcesBest Resignation Letter Due to Health and Stress (Example, Free Template) 
Best Volunteer Resignation Letter Example (+ Free Template Download)
Best "Going Back to School" Resignation Letter Example (+ Free Template Download) 
Best Police Officer Resignation Letter Sample (+ Free Template Download) 
Best Voluntary Resignation Letter Example (+ Writing Guide) 
Best Retail Resignation Letter Sample (Retail Associate or Retail Worker) 
Best Teacher Resignation Letter Example (+ Free Template Download)
Best Nursing Resignation Letter Example (+ Free Template Download)
Best Maternity Leave Resignation Letter Example (Before or After Leave)
Best Board Resignation Letter Example (+ Free Template)
Best Retirement Resignation Letter Example (+ Free Template, How to Write One)
Best Short Notice Resignation Letter Example (+ Free Template) 
Best Pastor Resignation Letter Sample (Congregation Resignation) 
Resignation Letter for Switching Departments or Transferring Within the Same Company
Best 24 Hours Notice Resignation Letter Example (+ Free Template) 
Best "Personal Reasons" Resignation Letter Example (+ Writing Guide) 
Best Resignation Letter Sample for a New Job Opportunity 
Best Resignation Letter Due to Relocation Example 
Best "Better Salary and Benefits" Resignation Letter Example 
Best Short and Simple Resignation Letter Example (+ Free Template) 
Sample Resignation Letter Due to Unethical Practices (Or Behavior) 
Best Sample Resignation Letter Due to a Heavy Workload
Best Resignation Letter Sample Due to Feeling Undervalued at Work
Best Resignation Letter Due to Job Dissatisfaction Sample (Unhappiness at Work)
Best Resignation Letter Sample Due to Travel Distance
Sample Resignation Letter Due to Unfair Treatment in the Workplace 
Sample Resignation Letter for a Part-Time Job (+ Free Template) 
Best Chef Resignation Letter Example (+ Free Template Download)
Best Immediate Resignation or "No Notice" Letter Sample (+ Free Template)
Best Formal Resignation Letter Example (+ Free Template Download)
Best Resignation Letter Sample Due to a Hostile Work Environment 
Sample Resignation Letter When Unhappy With Management 
Best Resignation Letter Format (+ Free Template Download)
Best Heartfelt Resignation Letter Example (+ Free Template Download)
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