Laura Berlinsky-Schine
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No matter where you’ve worked in the past and where you’ll work in the future, at some point, you’ll probably find yourself giving two weeks’ notice. This is a convention of the working world, a measure of courtesy and a formal resignation.

So, how do you write a two weeks’ notice letter that is polite and effective and doesn’t burn bridges? Here’s what you need to know.

When should you write a two weeks notice letter

You should write a two weeks’ notice letter any time you resign from a job, unless you need or want to give more notice (in that case, you should write, say, a four weeks’ notice letter). This is important for several reasons — it gives your current employer time to prepare for your departure, for one, and it creates a record of your resignation.

Even if you have a conversation with your manager about leaving, you should still submit this letter, too. This serves as a formal step and paper trail to confirm that you’re quitting and have taken the steps necessary to inform your employer.

What is considered two weeks notice?

Two weeks’ notice, just as it sounds, is the standard amount of time to give employers before you officially leave your job. Some employers may ask for or require more notice, usually outlined in your contract.

While you can give two weeks’ notice verbally, typically, you’ll need to deliver it in the form of a written letter as confirmation of your resignation (as discussed above). When the clock starts (either from your discussion or the submission of your letter) usually depends on your individual situation and an agreement between you and your employer.

When is it okay not to give two weeks notice?

There are some cases in which you may not want or be able to give two weeks’ notice. Most employment is at-will, meaning that you and your employer are both entitled to sever ties from one another without notice or cause (aside from illegal reasons like discrimination for employers). Still, you must meet the terms of your contract, which may state that you must give a certain amount of notice before leaving.

Circumstances in which not giving two weeks’ notice would be appropriate include cases of physical or emotional abuse or harassment at work, being asked to do something illegal or personal emergencies that make it impossible for you to continue working at the employer.

How to write a two weeks notice letter in 5 steps 

1. Talk to your employer first.

As we’ve discussed, it’s important to make sure you talk to your manager prior to submitting the letter. (An exception would be if your manager has been abusive or harassed you.) This is courteous — you don’t want them to find out about your resignation from someone else. If possible, do this in person. Otherwise, schedule a time to talk on the phone.

2. Include your contact information.

Include your contact information in the header of your letter: name, address, email address (NOT your company email) and phone number. This should be a physical letter, so you should sign it at the bottom, above your full name.

3. Clearly state the fact of your resignation and your final day at work.

This is the most important part of your letter — the fact that you are giving your two weeks’ notice. Make sure you not only say clearly that you are resigning but also your official last day of work, so there’s no ambiguity.

4. Offer your assistance with the transition.

This is optional, but it will help you leave on good terms if you offer to provide your assistance with the transition, such as by training your replacement. Of course, if you’re not able to assist, then it’s your prerogative to not include this part.

5. Be gracious.

Convey your gratitude for the opportunity to work with your manager and the business. Again, this will help you leave on a high note. You might, for example, offer an example of something you really enjoyed about working at the organization.

Two weeks notice letter, example 1 

Emily Smith

24 Canterbury Rd.

New York, NY 10014
[email protected]

(123) 465-7891

March 15, 2021

Samantha Jones, director, sales

ABC Organization

25 Beach Dr.

New York, NY 10038

[email protected]

(123) 987-6543


Dear Ms. Jones:

Please accept this as two weeks’ notice of my resignation from ABC Organization as Sales Manager. My last day of work will be March 29, 2021.

I truly appreciate the opportunity to work with you and the sales team over the past three years. It has been a pleasure to be a part of such a dynamic and passionate team.

Please let me know how I can assist with the transition between now and my final day at ABC Organization. I am eager to support you in any way I can.

Sincerely,

[Signature]

Emily Smith

Two weeks notice letter, example 2

Emily Smith

24 Canterbury Rd.

New York, NY 10014
[email protected]

(123) 465-7891

March 15, 2021

Samantha Jones, director, sales

ABC Organization

25 Beach Dr.

New York, NY 10038

[email protected]

(123) 987-6543


Dear Ms. Jones:

I am writing to inform you of my resignation as Sales Manager from ABC Organization. My final day with the organization will be March 29, 2021, two weeks from today.

My time with ABC has been extremely rewarding, and I have learned and gained so many skills over the past three years. I look forward to continuing to grow in my career using this knowledge. 

I truly appreciate your guidance and mentorship. I would be happy to assist with the transition in any way I can. Don’t hesitate to contact me at the above email address.

Sincerely,

[Signature]

Emily Smith

What if my employer gives a counter-offer?

Many employers will give employees they value a counteroffer when they deliver their notice. The hiring and onboarding process is time-intensive and costly, after all, and if the employer has a talented employee in the role already, it makes sense that they’d want to keep them by offering incentives.

Usually, this means your current employer will match or even exceed the terms of the arrangement your future employer is offering, in terms of salary, title and/or benefits

But be careful about accepting a counteroffer, even if the offer is generous. According to survey results published in the Harvard Business Review, nearly 40% of senior executives and HR leaders said that accepting a counteroffer from a current employer would “adversely affect” the individual’s career. But 78% of senior executives and 80% of HR leaders agreed that it can sometimes be okay to accept a counteroffer.

Why might it be detrimental to your career? For starters, you could be burning bridges with the would-be new employer, who might believe you were using them to encourage your employer to promote you. Then, they might be unwilling to hire you in the future. You could also find that your relationship with your current employer has suffered, now that they know you were intending to leave.

If you are tempted by the counteroffer, you should carefully consider the factors at play. Was it just a matter of money? Or were you also looking for more responsibilities? Or, perhaps you’re looking for a different company culture. If that’s the case, a counteroffer probably won’t satisfy you. Moreover, keep your future at the original employer in mind. Right now, they could be desperate to keep you, but what will it be like when your decision to leave is in distant memory?

Also, think about the benefits each company is offering — your salary isn’t your only form of compensation. Make sure you understand the full value of each compensation package.

There are, of course, reasons why you might be unwilling to accept a counteroffer, such as if you were unhappy with the employer or are relocating for personal reasons.

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