You found another great opportunity. Or you’re making a career change. Or perhaps you’re retiring.
Regardless of the situation, at some point in your career you’ll end up making a change, and you’ll have to submit a resignation letter.
What Is a Resignation Letter?
This is a short letter where you formally tell your company that you’re leaving your job. They’re often short and sweet, and the idea is to part ways on good terms.
But why not simply quit in a quick, informal manner? Because honestly, it’s not the best approach.
There are many reasons why you should write a formal resignation letter instead of quitting in a less formal way:
- It maintains a good relationship with your previous employer.
- It acts as an official notice, leaving a paper trail in case of legal hiccups.
- It confirms your final date of employment.
What Your Formal Resignation Letter Should Include
Resignation letters should be simple and straightforward, and it often helps to be systematic in your approach to writing them.
You should follow the simple format with a few key elements:
Start with the Reason Why You’re Leaving.
There’s no need to go into detail. Your boss doesn’t need your life story laid out for them.
Simply state why you’re leaving, such as personal reasons, you’ve accepted another position better suited to your skills, you're retiring, or you want to change directions in your career.
Define Your Last Day on the Job.
This one is pretty straight forward – your boss needs to know exactly when your last day will be. The general rule of thumb is giving two weeks notice before your last day.
Express Gratitude for the Experience.
This part is important for maintaining a good relationship with the company and the boss. By expressing gratitude for the experience you’ve had working for them, you recognize the investment they made in you and display your desire to part on good terms.
If you really want to go the extra mile and ensure leaving on excellent terms with the company, you can add a few more points to your letter, such as:
Offer to Help with the Transition Phase.
When an employee leaves, it can leave a company scrambling to fill an important position. Offering to assist in the search for your replacement and even train them before you leave is a great help to the company you’re leaving, and it’s often appreciated.
Note Your Favorite New Skills You Learned.
Making a note of the skills you learned while working for their company is another great way to express gratitude for the training and investment that they put into you as an employee.
It shows your appreciation for the professional development you experienced and tells them that these kinds of investments are valued by their team.
A Resignation Letter Format to Follow
Need some help getting started? Follow this format:
Your Contact Information
Employer Contact Information
Respectfully inform them of your resignation and your last day at work.
Express gratitude for the opportunities you’ve had from working at their company and what you’ve taken away from the experience.
Conclude your letter on a positive note, and if willing, offer to help with the transition period.
[Your Typed Name]
Free Resignation Letter Templates
Even with a simple format, writing a letter of resignation can still be difficult. So instead of writing it all out from scratch, take one of these downloadable templates with you!
Resignation Letter Template for Executives
Those in an executive position often play a big role in their company, so these positions can be hard to fill. With this in mind, you may play a more active role in the transition period for your company.
Letter of Resignation
Terms of Resignation
Over the past [length of employment] years, I have had a very positive experience serving as [your position] at [company name]. It is with a heavy heart that I announce my resignation. I have a great amount of respect for this company and the individuals who define it and make it a great place to work.
As of [date of new employment], I will be taking on the role of [new position] at [new employer] to assist them with [specific goals or responsibilities of your new position]. I’m excited to continue my professional growth and take on this new challenge.
Terms of Transition
I’d like to personally endorse [colleague’s name] to take over the role of [your position]. I believe that he/she has been instrumental in the success of this company, and that his unique skills as [relevant skills of colleague] would make him/her a good fit for this position.
Thank you for your understanding and the incredible opportunity,
[Your Typed Name]
Resignation Letter Template for Contractors
Resignation letters can be a lot more simple for contractors because you don’t hold a strong stake in the company, and you’re less inclined to play a part in the transition period.
Notice of Departure
[Your Contact Information]
[Company Contact Information]
Hello, I wanted to inform you that I have accepted a full-time position at [company name] effective [start date]. With this in mind, I will no longer be doing freelance/contract work, and you can remove me from your list of contractors. My last project with your company will be [project/assignment name] to be delivered on [due date].
I have greatly enjoyed working and building a strong professional relationship with [company name], and I wish you the very best moving forward. Please let me know if I can be of any help during this transition period, I am happy to suggest fellow professional [contractor area of expertise] who I believe would be a good fit.
[Your Typed Name]
Resignation Letter Examples
In case you need to see some resignations in action to really help you write your own, here are a few hypothetical examples we put together:
Dear James Black,
Please accept this letter as my notice of formal resignation from my position as Sales Manager at Cross Media. My final day of work will be July 31, 2019.
I want to thank you for the opportunities I have had during my five years here at Cross Media. During my time here, I have grown as a sales professional, made some lasting friendships with colleagues, and learned valuable skills along the way.
I am extremely grateful for my experience here, and I have enjoyed helping the company grow to be the incredibly successful enterprise it is today.
I would like to officially appoint Gordon Lances to fill the role of sales manager. I believe his strong sales experience, leadership skills, and rapport with the sales team would make him an excellent fit for the position. I am more than happy to assist with the training transition period before I depart.
Dear Larry Caves,
I’m writing to inform you of my resignation from my position as a client account manager at Baker & Son Financials, effective July 31, 2019.
I have decided to make a change of direction in my career, and am excited to announce that I will be taking on the position of a junior content creator for Haven House to assist them in their content marketing strategy endeavors. I am looking forward to this new challenge.
Please allow me to express my utmost gratitude for the opportunities and experience that I have had access to here at Baker & Son over the last three years. Working for your company has helped me develop important professional skills, such as communication and project management.
Please let me know if you need any assistance during this transition period, I would be happy to help.
What to Do After Writing Your Resignation Letter
Your work isn’t quite done once you write your formal resignation letter. Leaving a job is a big life change, so there’s a lot more that goes into preparation for this than simply delivering a letter.
There’s a certain etiquette to stick to when you resign. So after you write your resignation letter, make sure you take care of each of these tasks:
Tell Your Supervisor Before You Tell Anyone Else.
Having your supervisor find out through the grapevine that you’re leaving the company is not a great way to leave on good terms. No matter how close you are with your colleagues, your supervisor should be the first person to know that you’re resigning.
Provide the Formal Resignation Letter After Telling Them in Person.
Delivering a resignation letter is not how you break the news to your supervisor that you’re leaving. It can often be received as an impersonal, disrespectful slap in the face.
It’s best to sit down and inform your supervisor of your resignation in person, and then give them a heads up that you’ll be providing a formal letter afterward.
Start Saying Goodbyes Once You Formally Resign with Your Boss.
Don’t start bidding adieu until the resignation is absolutely final. Your boss should be the one to make the formal announcement that you’re leaving, and that’s when you can start wishing well to your colleagues.
If you start making waves before everything is finalized and announced, it can cause a lot of confusion and you may just piss off your boss before leaving. Also, in the event that plans change and you don’t end up resigning – well, you’ve got some awkward explaining to do.
Keep Your Eyes Open for the Last Paycheck.
Make sure you know when you’ll be receiving your last paycheck so there’s no miscommunication and nothing goes missed.
Depending on the company and the state, you might be paid immediately upon resignation, or you may receive it on a date other than your usual payday.
Research Your Eligibility for Certain Benefits like COBRA.
In some instances, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits if you don’t have another immediate job lined up.
For example, depending on the size of your company, you’ll still be eligible for health insurance through COBRA, which provides coverage for you and your dependents in the case of you losing your job or reducing hours.
Review Any Unused Sick Pay and Vacation.
In some cases, you’ll be entitled to pay for unused sick or vacation days. Review your company’s policy on these matters, otherwise you could be missing out on some extra dough!
Transfer Pension Plans, 401k, etc.
Depending on your specific plan, you may be able to transfer your pension over to your next job, or you may get paid a lump sum once your retire. Make sure you review how it’s going to work before you leave.
Make sure you ask for references from your supervisors before you leave.
However, you’ll want to make sure you carefully select who you request references from, especially if you’re leaving the company on tense terms. Ask people who you’ve worked closely with and with whom you're parting ways on friendly terms.
Take the Leap...Gracefully
You’re ready to make the big leap! Just make sure that you do it gracefully – be sincere and professional throughout the resignation process so you can maintain positive relationships.
All of this will begin with the initial conversation with your boss and your resignation letter. These first steps in your resignation process will set the trend for how the rest of it will play out – whether to your professional advantage or disadvantage.