If you’re wondering whether you need to write a resignation letter, we’re sorry to tell you that you most certainly do. If you’re leaving your job, it’s worth it to make sure you depart on a positive note and professionally to avoid burning bridges.
While there are plenty of resignation letter templates out there, and there's nothing wrong with using one to craft your letter of resignation, we're fans of formal resignation letters that give your current employer or your boss a good idea of the details surrounding your departure from your current job.
How to write a resignation letter the right way
What does resign mean? If you’re wondering whether you always need a resignation letter, or even a resignation email, when you leave a job, the answer is no. But a basic resignation letter — or at least formal, written notice of resignation — is a good idea when you’re voluntarily giving up a job or position (as opposed to being fired or laid off).
Depending on your office’s culture and communication tendencies, an email resignation letter may or may not be appropriate. But it’s always safe and wise to read some resignation letter examples before you begin writing a resignation letter.
Here are some resignation letter example phrases, as well as some additional tips on what to do (and what not do) as you prepare to formally resign.
1. Get to the Point
A good resignation letter will start by getting right to the point, and be clear about all of the facts.
Resignation letters are not the place to show off your writing skills, talk about what a tough decision this was for you, or mention any possible desire to return to the company sometime in the future. Being brief will serve you well and makes for a good resignation letter.
In the opening of your letter, you should very plainly state that you are resigning, and you should be clear about the notice period (and make sure your notice period is a reasonable one) you are giving, including a clear statement of your last day. You should also make sure to include the title of the position from which you are resigning. Here’s a sample resignation letter opening:
Please accept this letter as my formal resignation. As of [date 2 weeks from the dated letter], I will be vacating the role of Marketing Manager at Company XYZ.”
2. Thank Your Employer
Thank your employer for the opportunity, and make sure you don’t look to place blame.
Resignation letters are living documents that may be referenced in the future and live on in your employee file. They are not a place to air grievances, list everything you think is wrong with the company, or place blame.
Instead, be gracious about the opportunities you’ve had, and make sure your employer knows you’re thankful (citing a few specifics will help make your letter sound genuine!) You might write something like this:
I have learned so much over the past X years at XYZ, and I am so grateful for the opportunities and support you’ve provided. I appreciate that you helped me hone my skills in XXX and I will miss working with you on XXX. I’m confident that my time here has prepared me well for what’s ahead.
Even though you may think you’ll never come back to this company, you can never be sure of where your path will lead or whether your employer might be able to connect you with valuable resources or people in the future.
3. Give Feedback
If you have an exit interview, you’ll be asked for constructive feedback about your experiences in your current position, and it's a good idea to give them a sense of that without going overboard in terms of negative criticism.
4. Don't Quit Working Hard Before You Actually Quit
Don’t leave them in the lurch and give your job your all until your very last day.
5. Offer to Help with the Transition Period
Be sure you let your boss know that you’re committed to helping her make a smooth transition. Here’s how you can make that clear:
I’m committed to making sure this transition goes as smoothly as possible. Within the next two weeks, I will make sure to complete XXX, and I am happy to assist in finding and training a replacement if that would be helpful. Please let me know if I can do anything else to ensure that this process is as seamless as possible.
It’s important not only to write this in your letter but also to perform on it. You may be tempted to check out early, but that’s unfair and distasteful. During your last two weeks at work, you should work just as hard as you did during your first two weeks on the job.
6. Leave it on a Positive Note
Finally, close on a positive, warm note.
I wish you and Company XYZ the best of luck in the future, and I look forward to staying in touch.
Of course, you may want to tweak this letter template depending on your specific situation — but these general rules should apply to any formal letter or resignation letter you have to write. Always remember that this is a formal notification, and in a job resignation letter there’s no need to express emotions, especially negative ones. These sample resignation letter snippets are to help you craft a pleasant but factual employee communication. Your resignation letter format doesn't have to be fancy but these letter samples can help you when you're feeling writer's block about how to write a formal resignation letter.
Finally, don’t forget that someday, you might need someone from the organization to write you a recommendation!
Michele Mavi has nearly 15 years of experience as a recruiter, interview coach, and resume writer. She is Atrium Staffing’s resident career expert, as well as director of internal recruiting and content development. She also founded Angel Films, a division of Atrium Staffing focused on the creation of recruiting and training videos.