Employees can resign from a company in a number of ways. Some choose to tell their manager in person while others provide a written departure notice. Providing management with a resignation letter is often the best way to formally resign from a position. In this article, we explain what a resignation letter is, describe the format of a resignation letter, provide steps for writing a resignation letter and give a template and examples.
What is a resignation letter?
A resignation letter is a formal document you present to your manager or employer explaining your departure from your job. Usually, employees provider resignation letters after verbally explaining their resignation to their company. The resignation letter is simply a formality, and human resources often include it in the employee's personnel file.
Resignation letter format
It is always best to speak directly with your manager before sending a resignation letter to give them as much time as possible to prepare. If you work remotely or do not see your manager in person, ask if you can have a conversation by video chat or on the phone.
Typically, a resignation letter includes the following information:
- Statement of resignation from the company
- Date of last day of work
- Statement of gratitude
- Next steps or important information
Why are resignation letters important?
If you decide to leave your job, it is a matter of professional courtesy to submit a resignation letter. Resignation letters are also crucial for HR departments to keep on hand as a record of your time at the company for things like payroll and to reference in the future if necessary.
These letters are also important because they contain essential operational information for your direct manager, such as your last day and what is needed as you plan your departure from the company.
How to write a resignation letter
Writing a resignation letter can be a simple process if you follow a few key steps. Before writing your letter, you should consult with your direct supervisor or HR manager to follow any processes your company has in place regarding resignations. For example, they might ask you to provide specific information or send your letter to certain people at the company. Follow these steps to write a resignation letter:
- Record the time and date
- Start with an address line
- Include a statement of resignation
- List your last day or work
- Add a statement of gratitude
- List next steps or important information
- Close with your signature
1. Record the time and date
In a standard business letter, it's typical to include the time, date and a few other details to keep a record of time stamps. In an email, this information is not necessary as it is digitally available. If you are planning to type a letter, you should include this information at the top of the page.
2. Start with an address line
Address the recipient by name. You can use introductions like “Dear,” “Hello,” or simply “Mr./Ms. [supervisor's last name].”
3. Include a statement of resignation
Clearly state that you are writing to submit your formal resignation from the company. If you'd like, you can include your position title as well.
4. List your last day of work
While it is standard to provide two weeks' notice, your company might have specific instruction around what your last date of work should be. After getting this information from a direct manager, list the date and weekday of your final day at the company.
5. Add a statement of gratitude
It is always a good career decision to keep your relationships positive. Writing one or two sentences explaining what you are thankful for about your time at the company will help foster a peaceful transition.
6. List next steps or important information
List any key information the recipient should be aware of regarding your transition. These details can be worked out with your manager ahead of time. If you're not sure of what to write, simply adding that you are happy to do whatever you can to make the transition as smooth as possible will be appreciated.
7. Close with your signature
Finish the letter by signing your name after a closing statement like “Sincerely,” or “Thank you.”
Resignation letter template
It can be helpful to use a template to structure your own resignation letter. Below is a sample resignation letter template and suggestions for customizing it based on your circumstances.
Dear Mr./Ms. [your supervisor's last name],
Please accept this as my formal resignation from [company]. My last day will be [your final day of work], two weeks from today. I am grateful for all of your support during my time here and deeply appreciate all of the valuable experiences I have gained. It has been a sincere pleasure working with you and the team.
Please let me know how I can help during this transition and make it as smooth as possible. I wish you all the best.
Best wishes, and thank you for everything,
Resignation letter examples
Your resignation letter might differ from the general template based on the reason for leaving your position. Consider your departure explanation when crafting your resignation letter. Here are a few sample paragraphs that can explain your departure in more detail:
- Resignation due to a better opportunity
- Resignation due to relocation
- Resignation due to family reasons
- Resignation due to a change in career
- Resignation due to returning to school
Resignation due to a better opportunity
Dear Mr. Smith,
I have accepted a position at a company that I feel is a better fit for my career moving forward. Please accept this note as my formal resignation from Painters Deluxe. My last day will be two weeks from today, June 8th.
While I will be moving on to a new position, I am deeply grateful for the opportunities to grow and learn during my time here.
Resignation due to relocation
Dear Ms. Jones,
Please accept this as my formal resignation from Jackson Plumbing. My last day will be August 12th, two weeks from today. I will be relocating to Montreal in the coming months to be closer to family.
Thank you for the opportunity to learn and grow in the accounting department–I hope to find a new position with equally inspiring, helpful and kind colleagues. I wish the company success in the future.
Please let me know of the ways I can help make the transition as smooth as possible.
Resignation due to family reasons
Dear Ms. Archer,
I am writing to inform you that next month, I must resign from my role at Montgomery's. Family circumstances require my full attention at this time and leave me unable to continue in this role.
I will be available over the next month to assist with the transition.
Resignation due to a change in career
Dear Mr. Westcott,
Please accept my resignation effective March 28th. I have accepted a position at a construction firm and look forward to the new direction of my career, even though I will miss my work with you.
Thank you for the support and the opportunities over Hanson and Brothers.
Please let me know if you need any assistance during this transition and how I can help over the next few weeks.
Resignation due to returning to school
Dear Ms. Brown,
Please accept my resignation effective July 1st. Next month, I will be enrolling in graduate school and will need to resign from my role at Pools and Spas Unlimited.
I would like to thank you for the many great opportunities I had while working on this team. The learning experiences and skills I have developed here have laid the ideal foundation for this new stage in my life at graduate school.
Please let me know how I can assist during this two-week transition. Thank you again for the many positive experiences over the past two years, and I look forward to staying in touch.
Tips for writing a resignation letter
Here are several tips you can use to make your resignation letter as effective as possible:
- Keep it positive. Regardless of the reasons you're resigning, the tone of this letter should be positive—aim to part on good terms and maintain your professional network. Above all, do not use your resignation letter to vent frustration.
- Deliver your letter in person. If possible, you may want to deliver your resignation letter in person to your manager. If you resign with a hard copy, be sure to include the date at the top of the letter. You may also send an email. Use a subject line that's clear and direct, such as: Resignation—[Your Name].
- Keep it brief. If you are leaving your company for sensitive reasons and prefer not to provide optional details, simply include your statement of resignation, last day at the company and a statement like “I wish the company success in its future endeavors.”
- Plan for an immediate departure. In certain situations, your employer may ask you to leave on the day you resign. Pay attention to what happens when others resign and plan accordingly when you are determining your start date in a new job.
- Follow your manager's instructions for next steps. After you submit a formal resignation, your manager might ask you to put together a transition plan, finish up certain projects or write a goodbye note to your colleagues.