There seem to be two kinds of resignation. One where you split amicably and one where you split with animosity. Most people dread the second situation but it happens more often than not. A major factor in how you leave your current employer is the resignation letter you tender.

Whether you’re resigning to pursue your own business or an opportunity for advancement presents itself at another company, it’s important to resign with class. The resignation letter is, at its core, a notice of departure but it can do so much more.

In this guide, you’ll learn exactly what a resignation letter is (and isn’t), how to write one, see examples for different situations, and even get access to a resignation letter template.

What is a resignation letter – really?

Many people have the wrong conception of what a resignation letter is and isn’t. It’s an official (and usually formal) document the employee gives to the employer stating their intention to resign.

Though it can be the first notice you’ve given your employer about your resignation, it’s often the last step after you’ve spoken about it and hashed out the details with them. This is even more apparent if you hold a lot of responsibility in your current role.

One of the main things to keep in mind is that it’s a legal document that can protect you in the case of a dispute. The way you word it and what you include is important. Let’s look at the elements that go into writing a resignation letter. 

How to write a resignation letter

Before you write your resignation letter or even accept a new position, look at your current employment contract. These can vary widely between employers and may stipulate things such as how much notice you should give your employer, non-compete terms, intellectual property considerations, etc.

If you don’t go through your own due diligence, you may be in for a surprise when you tender your resignation to the HR manager.

What to include in your resignation letter (mandatory)

Your resignation letter has multiple optional aspects and a few mandatory ones which we’ll touch on in turn. Remember it’s an official letter so it should be formatted as such with date, name, address, and information of the recipient.

Clearly state your intention to resign. There’s no reason to sugarcoat it. At this point, you’ve likely spoken to your direct supervisor or whomever you need to talk to and your resignation letter is formalizing what they already know. Be concise and get straight to the point.

Add the position you’re resigning from. Though the person you’re submitting the letter to knows the position you want to resign from, it’s still important to mention it because it’s a formal legal document. Also, add the name of the company so it’s crystal clear now and in the future when others are handling the document.

Let them know your last day of work. This gives your employer a clear timeframe for when you’ll leave and will allow them to plan what needs to be done. It’s also a good opportunity to mention the notice period stipulated in your contract.

I’m writing to inform you of my intention to resign from the position of Vice President Operations at Example Company LTD. In accordance with the three week notice period stipulated in my contract, my last day of work will be on August 21, 2020.

Thanks or appreciation for the position. It doesn’t matter if you’d rather be at any other place on the planet, thank your employer because you learned something. Even if all you learned was to deftly avoid office politics, that’s a useful skill. On a more serious note, thank them for one or two concrete things and mention some of what you’ve learned.

I can’t appreciate you enough for allowing me to work at Example Company for the past three years. During that time I enjoyed the opportunities I’ve been presented that challenged my critical thinking, developed my innate leadership abilities, and helped me hone my marketing skills. I especially enjoyed the Brafton contract that opened my eyes to the importance of budgeting and properly planning projects from beginning to end but still staying flexible within the constraints of the project.

Statement committing to make the handover seamless. Leaving your current company shouldn’t be an excuse to drop everything and slack off. People remember the first and the last things you do. Leave your company with a good impression and if you ever need them in the future, they’re more likely to be there for you.

Let them know that while you’re there, depending on your position, you’ll finish up all the work you have on your hands or make the transition as painless as possible. Don’t make any promises you can’t keep and don’t feel the need to go into too much detail.

During my final three weeks, I’ll finish up all the tasks in front of me and do my best to help my replacement settle into their role quickly. If there’s anything specific you’d like me to handle then please let me know.

I wish you and the company continued success.

Sincerely,

Dante Learner

Optional things to include in your resignation letter

The reason why you’re resigning. You’re under no obligation to reveal why you’re leaving or what you plan to do afterward. I left my last official role because my side hustle started to earn more than my day job and it was a welcome challenge.

I didn’t feel the need to tell my employer that and left it out. If you have a great relationship with your employer then you can let them know but keep it brief. You don’t need to give too many details.

I’ve come across an offer that will help me advance my career.

I’m leaving for personal reasons.

I’m travelling to another country.

An offer to assist in training your replacement. Again, this depends on the relationship you have with your employer and your bandwidth. If you think you have time and energy to do this then it’s your call but it’s not required.

Your contact information. I’m sure your current employer already has your contact information so that’s a nonissue. In this case, it would be other personal information they could use to reach you in case the need arises. For example, your personal email address or a permanent home address that’s unlikely to change in the near future.

Resignation letter examples

There are different types of resignation letters which are determined by the reason for resignation.

Change in career path resignation letter example

Example Company Ltd
333 Fremont Street
San Francisco, California, 23001

29th July 2020

Dear Mr. Lewis (manager’s name),

I’m writing to inform you that I’m resigning from my position as Head of Marketing at Example Company LTD. In accordance with my employment contract, I’m giving you two weeks notice and my final day of work will be August 12.

I’m leaving the company to be a relationship coach which has always been something I’m passionate about. Before I go, I’ll ensure that I’ve completed the work I have right now or arrange it so that it can be easily handed over to the next Head of Marketing.

I want to take a moment to thank you for the opportunities I’ve been presented with to lead a team, push my abilities further, and be a part of a movement I know will have a positive impact on the world.

I wish you and the company continued success.

Sincerely,

James Doe

Moving to a new city resignation letter example

Useful Tools LTD

2798 Quarters Lane

Powder Springs GA, 30127

July 29th 2020

Dear Mr. August,

I’m writing this letter to give you formal notice of my resignation from the position of Operations Lead at Useful Tools LTD. I accordance with my employment contract, this is my one month notice and my final day of work will be August 28, 2020.

I’m moving to an area where the company doesn’t have an office and, due to the nature of my work, I’ll be unable to continue remotely. In order to create a seamless transition, I’ll complete the work I’m currently doing or get it to a point where it can be continued by one of my colleagues.

I want to thank you for the myriad opportunities I’ve been presented while working at Useful Tools. I’ve been challenged and have grown in experience and skills as a result.

I wish you and the company continued success now and in the future.

Sincerely,

John Wong

Retiring resignation letter example

Growth Media LTD

1920 9th Street

New York NY, 30127

July 29th 2020

Dear Mr. Austin,

I’m writing this letter to inform you of my intention to resign from the position of Head of Design for Growth Media LTD. Mt final day of work will be August 19, 2020.

I’m retiring to pursue a quiet after 30 years of working with the company. I want to take a moment to thank you for the countless opportunities I’ve had to grow and develop with the company. From starting as an intern to leading a design team all the way up to planning and executing the aesthetic direction of the company.

I wish you and the organization continued success.

Sincerely,

David Dubrik

Resignation letter template

Formal resignation letter template

[company name]

[company street address]

[City, State, Zip code]

[Date]

Dear [manager name]

I’m writing to inform you of my resignation as [position name] at [company name]. My final day of work will be [date of last day]

I am resigning for [state reason but this is optional]

Thank you for [mention specific things you’re grateful for]

During my remaining days, I’ll round up all the things I’m working on now or get them to the point where they can be handed off to one of my colleagues.

I wish you and the company continued success.

Sincerely,

[your signature]

[your name]

Straightforward resignation letter template

[company name]

[company street address]

[City, State, Zip code]

[Date]

Dear [manager name],

I’m writing to inform you of my upcoming resignation from [position name] at [company name]. [date of resignation] will be my final day of work.

I want to thank you for the myriad opportunities you have given me at [company name] to develop myself personally and professionally.

I’ll round up any pending work or get it to the point where it can be handed off to a colleague before I go.

I wish you and the company continued success.

Sincerely,

[your signature]

[your name]

Conclusion

A resignation letter doesn’t have to be something you sweat over or what causes bad blood between you and your employer. It should be an amicable parting of ways.

In this guide, you’ve learned a few key pieces of information that should be included and what’s optional. The only thing left is to draft the letter, sign it, and pursue your new business venture (#ImJustSaying).

Let me know what you think in the comments or your resignation horror stories.