How to Write a Resignation Letter

How to Write a Resignation Letter

by Roberta Codemo, October 2016

So you've finally decided to leave your current position. Before you say goodbye to everyone and walk out that door for the last time, make sure that your employer has a formal resignation letter from you on file as a matter of courtesy. In this way, both you and the company can part ways on a positive note.

What Is a Letter of Resignation?

A job resignation letter is a short letter—no more than one page—that notifies your employer that you're resigning your position. Some companies require you to submit an official letter of resignation, while others do not. If you're not sure, err on the side of caution and submit a resignation letter anyway, even if you're leaving on less than good terms.

The resignation form that you submit to your supervisor and the human resources department sets the tone for your final weeks on the job. This letter also will remain in your personnel file after you leave.

If you're under an employment contract, speak with your supervisor and the human resources department first, to ensure you're not violating any of the legal terms of your agreement.

What to Include in a Resignation Letter

When writing a resignation letter, keep it simple, concise, and upbeat. A letter for resignation has three parts: the opening, body, and conclusion.

  • The opening. In the first paragraph, state the position that you're resigning from and the effective date of your resignation. You don't need to explain why you're leaving. This eases the transition for both parties.
  • The body. In the main body of the letter, thank your employer for the opportunity to work for the company, even if you've had your differences. Let your employer know what you've enjoyed about working for them, and what you've learned and will take away from your position. Keep in mind that you may need this employer for a future reference down the line, so you want to leave a positive impression.
  • The conclusion. In the last paragraph, let your employer know that you're willing to help during the transition phase in whatever capacity is needed, whether it's working with a co-worker to take over your former duties or helping to train a new hire. You want to ensure a smooth wrapping up of your duties so that your employer isn't left in the dark and you both come away from the experience with a sense of closure.

What Not to Include in Your Letter

Since your resignation letter will be retained as part of your permanent record with the company, be sure to keep the letter both polite and professional. A resignation letter is not the place for criticisms—you've already decided to leave, so those concerns are now in the past.

You don't want to include anything negative in this letter, such as what you disliked about your position, or complaints you may have had against the company or other co-workers. It's also good to avoid emotionally-charged statements that begin with “I feel" or I think."

Resignation Letter: Sample Text

If you're not sure how to write a resignation letter, use this resignation letter example as a template:

Your Name

Your Address

Supervisor's Name

Company Name

Company Address

Today's Date

Dear [your supervisor's name]:

Please accept this letter of resignation as formal notification that I am leaving my position as [position title] with [company name]. My last day will be [normally two weeks from the date you give the notice].

I want to thank you for the opportunity to work for [company name] in my current position as [position title] for the past [the number of years you've been employed in your current role]. I've enjoyed the responsibilities I've had here, including [list a few of your favorite job responsibilities]. I also appreciate having been able to learn [include what you've learned on the job], which I will take with me moving forward in my career.

During my last [two weeks] here, I will work with the transition team to wrap up my duties and help train my replacement. Please let me know what else I can do to ease this transition.

I wish you and the company continued success, and I look forward to remaining in touch in the future.

Sincerely,

[Your name]

Leaving on a Positive Note

Your resignation letter provides official notice that you're terminating your employment with your current company effective on a particular date. Keep the letter brief and professional, and follow the above resignation letter format. Leaving well is a useful skill to learn.

You never know when a potential future employer may ask your previous employer for a reference, so absolutely resist the urge to vent. If you are still unsure about how to write a letter of resignation, there are a number of tools available online to help you craft the perfect, polished resignation letter.

Ready to resign from your job? Download a letter of resignation to leave a positive impression on your way out. A LegalZoom resignation letter comes with detailed instructions allowing you to adapt the letter to meet your specific needs.