Mastering the Resignation Letter: Examples and Best Practices

Elizabeth Muenzen, CPRW
By Elizabeth Muenzen, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: March 27, 2024
How To Write A Resignation Letter

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Resignation is an inevitable part of your career development journey. While moving on from a job that no longer serves you is necessary and exciting, it can also feel uncomfortable, and the dreaded resignation letter only makes matters worse.  

This is where we come in. We’re here to help with expert-written example resignation letters, professional guidance and resignation letter templates to help you navigate your career transition. 

In this guide, we’ll cover what to include in a resignation letter (and what not to include). We’ll also provide step-by-step guidance on how to make a resignation letter with professionally made resignation letter examples and templates.

What is a resignation letter?

A resignation letter is a formal document sent by an employee to their employer notifying them that they will no longer be working at the company. The letter establishes an official record of notice with essential details such as the employee’s last day.  

Resignation letters are an important element of the employee-employer relationship and can help maintain positive and professional correspondence between the two parties. The content of your resignation letter might vary depending on your unique situation. 

What to include in a resignation letter

A professional letter of resignation is a formal document that serves as evidence of an employee’s decision to leave their position.

Express gratitude, maintain a positive and professional tone and avoid any negative comments or criticism of the company or your colleagues. 

Below is a sample letter of resignation that shows what to include in each section of your document.  

Resignation Letter Format

By maintaining a respectful and professional tone in your resignation letter, you can preserve your relationship with the company and leave on a positive note.

This can be helpful in the future if you need a reference or want to return to the company in a different role.

What not to include in a resignation letter

How you leave a job is arguably just as important as how you start one. While it can be tempting to share every detail of your departure in your resignation letter, it’s best to stick with the essential information. 

Here’s what not to include in your resignation letter:

  • Specific details about why you are leaving the company. 
  • Unnecessary information about your new job. 
  • Complaints about your employer or your time at the company. 
  • Negative comments about your colleagues. 
  • Unprofessional or emotional language. 

When should you send a letter of resignation?

In general, it is recommended to provide at least two weeks’ notice before the last day of work, although this may vary depending on the terms of employment or the nature of the job. It is important to check your employment contract or company policies to determine the required notice period.

If you work remotely and notify your employer on a video call, attach your official resignation letter as a PDF or Word document in a formal email and send it to them within 24 hours of your initial call. 

It’s always a good idea to write a resignation letter when you resign, even if it isn’t officially required by your employer. Writing a resignation letter helps maintain a positive relationship with your employer which can come in handy if you need a professional reference in the future. 

Are resignation letters required?

Although some companies don’t officially require a formal letter of resignation, it is highly recommended that you send one anyway. You can check your employee handbook to determine the protocol for your place of work.  

Here are some reasons you should send a resignation letter when you leave a job:

  • Provides important details such as your last day so that employers can prepare accordingly for your departure. 
  • Functions as an official record that can be referenced to keep track of when you informed your employer of your departure and the date of your last work day. 
  • Maintains a positive relationship between you and your employer, which can come in handy if you need a professional reference in the future.
  • While it can be tempting to share every detail of your departure in your resignation letter, it’s best to stick with the essential information detailed above. 

A resignation letter does more than just formalize your departure from the company. It’s also a professional courtesy that helps you maintain your reputation, exit your job gracefully and transition smoothly into your next role. 

Whether or not you like your employer, the bottom line is that handing in a well-crafted resignation letter speaks volumes about your professionalism. 

How to write a resignation letter

No need to spend hours researching how to write a letter of resignation. Instead, follow the steps below to craft a professional and polished resignation letter in a matter of minutes.

  • State your intent to resign and your last date of employment

    Oftentimes, deciphering how to start a resignation letter can be the trickiest part of the process. Start your letter by writing your statement of resignation from the position in the company.

    After this, provide the date of your last day of employment. Take a look at the short resignation letter introduction below to get started:

    “Dear Mr. Jones, 

    I am writing to inform you of my resignation as a Bank Teller at JOY Bank, effective September 15th.”

  • Briefly detail your reason for resigning

    If appropriate, give a brief reason for why you’re leaving. You don’t have to go into detail about where you’re going or what you’ll be doing in your next place of employment; a simple explanation will do. For example: 

    “I was given a job offer that I simply cannot refuse and must vacate my position.”

  • Express your gratitude

    It’s important to resign gracefully, even if your time working for the employer was less than great. Thank them for the opportunity to have been part of their team and maintain a positive attitude. For example:

    “Thank you for making me a part of your team. These four years have brought incredible professional and personal growth.”

  • Share your willingness to help with the transition

    After thanking them, offer to help during the transition period, if feasible. Perhaps your manager will turn down the offer and assure you they’ll handle everything, but they’ll appreciate the gesture. It’s as simple as writing:

    “Please let me know if I can be of any help to make this transition seamless during my remaining time at JOY Bank.”

    Now that you know how to end a resignation letter, complete the document with your signature. If it’s convenient, print a hard copy, sign it and give it to your manager, but emailing a PDF version of your resignation letter with an electronic signature will work if you are remote or unable to meet up.

Free resignation letter template

Writing a resignation letter can be tricky, so we’ve put together this resignation letter sample template to help you get started.

Your Name

Your Address

Your Phone Number 

Your Email

 

Today’s Date

 

Employer’s Name 

Employer’s Title

Company Name 

Company Address

 

Dear [Employer’s Name], 

I am writing to announce my resignation as the [position] at [company name], effective [date of last day]. 

This was not an easy decision to make. [Company name] opened many doors for me and the past three years have been an incredible learning experience. Thank you for the opportunity.

If I can be of any help during the transition, please let me know.

 

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

 

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Resignation letter examples

Below you’ll find several scenarios or reasons for which you may decide to resign. Find the one that applies to you and use it as a base to create your resignation letter.  

Simple letter of resignation examples

These are general resignation letters that you can use for many circumstances. They keep it simple and straight to the point.

TwoWeeksNotice

Two Weeks’ Notice resignation letter 

Basic

Basic resignation letter 

Simple

Simple resignation letter 

Short-notice resignation letter examples

Most employers expect a two weeks’ notice when you resign. However, in some situations, you will need to write a short notice or immediate resignation letter. It is important to remain gracious and professional in a resignation letter effective immediately, regardless of the circumstances. Reference the examples below for guidance. 

Less Than A Week

Less than a week resignation letter 

Immediate Notice

Immediate notice resignation letter 

Better opportunity example letters of resignation

Maybe you got a fantastic job offer that you can’t refuse, or perhaps you think that something better awaits. Either way, you’re ready to take the leap, and these examples will help you get started.

Dream Job Offer

Dream job offer resignation letter 

New Job Opportunity

New job opportunity resignation letter 

Lack Of Growth Opportunity

Lack of growth opportunity

Family matters or medical resignation letter examples

Unexpected situations and big life changes, like health issues, family situations and childbirth, can be why you may feel it’s necessary to resign. If you cannot give a two weeks’ notice, we recommend referring back to our effective immediately resignation letter samples. 

Health Reasons

Health reasons resignation letter 

Pregnancy

Pregnancy resignation letter 

Family Reasons

Family reasons

Temporary or part-time job resignation letter examples

There are times when you know that turning a temporary or part-time job into something permanent isn’t something you want to do — and other times, a new opportunity comes along that you have to accept.

Internship

Internship resignation letter 

Part Time Job

Part-time job resignation letter

How to hand in your resignation letter 

When it comes to handing in a resignation letter, it’s important to be professional and respectful in order to maintain a positive relationship with your employer. 

How to tell your boss that you are resigning

Generally, you should give your employer two weeks’ notice before quitting. This allows both of you the necessary time to plan for a smooth transition. This should be done in person whenever possible. If you work remotely, schedule a time to meet via video call. 

Depending on the circumstances of your resignation, you may or may not want to bring your formal letter of resignation to the meeting. For instance, if your final day is flexible or you are open to negotiating a raise if your manager offers one, you can hand in your official letter after this initial meeting. 

However, if you are certain that you are leaving for a new job, an upcoming move or another reason, you can bring your resignation letter with you when you meet with your manager and hand it to following your verbal discussion.  

If you hand in your letter during the meeting, follow up later that day with a thank you email thanking your employer for the opportunity to work with them and expressing your appreciation for their support.

Is it acceptable to send a resignation letter by email?

It is best to notify your manager of your resignation in person (or by video call if you work remotely). If you do not hand your resignation letter to your manager during this initial meeting, it is perfectly acceptable to email the letter to them afterward.   

In the body of the email, you can briefly address your employer and any additional recipients, thanking them for their guidance throughout your time at the company and notifying them that you attached your official letter of resignation. 

Who should you send your resignation letter to?

When you resign from a job, it is important to send your resignation letter to your immediate supervisor or manager. If there is an HR department in your company, you should also send a copy of your resignation letter to the HR department.

It is important to follow any specific resignation procedures outlined in your employment contract or company policy. This may include providing a certain amount of notice or completing an exit interview.

In some cases, there may be additional individuals that you should notify of your resignation, such as a CEO or other members of the executive team. This will depend on the structure of your company and your position within it.

Sending your resignation letter to the appropriate individuals ensures that your resignation is properly documented and that the necessary steps can be taken to transition your responsibilities to someone else.

The impact of resignation on your career trajectory

The impact of resignation on your career trajectory can vary depending on the circumstances and how you go about resigning. 

How can resigning positively impact your career prospects?

If you take the necessary steps to exit gracefully, resignation can positively impact your career trajectory. Positive effects of resigning from a job can include:

  • Pursuing a better opportunity: Resigning to take on a new job that offers better pay, benefits or career advancement opportunities can help to improve your career trajectory.
  • Improving work-life balance: Resigning to achieve a better work-life balance, such as spending more time with family or pursuing personal interests, can lead to a happier and more fulfilling personal life, which can have a positive impact on career trajectory.
  • Removing a negative work environment: Resigning to remove yourself from a negative work environment can help to improve mental health and well-being, which can in turn have a positive impact on your career trajectory.

If you leave a job on good terms — with proper notice and a clear reason for leaving — it is unlikely to have a negative impact on your future job prospects. 

Can resigning negatively impact your future job prospects?

If you leave a job without proper notice, in a confrontational manner or because of poor performance, it may have a negative impact on your future job prospects. Employers may view such behavior as unprofessional and be hesitant to recommend you in the future.

It is important to handle your resignation with professionalism and respect, regardless of the circumstances. This includes giving proper notice, offering to help with the transition and thanking your employer and colleagues for the opportunity to work with them.

Ultimately, if you handle your resignation with professionalism and respect, it is unlikely to have a negative impact. 

How to discuss resignation during a job interview

Explaining your reasons for leaving a past role during a job interview is an important part of the hiring process. Here are some tips on how to do it effectively:

  • Focus on the positive: Instead of dwelling on the negative aspects of your previous job, focus on what you learned from it and how you will apply these skills in your new role.
  • Keep it professional: It’s important to maintain a professional demeanor when discussing your reasons for leaving a job. Avoid speaking negatively about your previous employer and instead focus on the reasons why the new opportunity is a better fit for you.
  • Be concise: Keep your explanation brief and to the point. You don’t need to go into great detail about your reasons for leaving, but you should provide enough information to satisfy the interviewer’s curiosity.

By being honest, focusing on the positive and maintaining a professional demeanor, you can effectively communicate your reasons for leaving and make a strong impression on the interviewer.

Key takeaways 

  1. A resignation letter is a formal document that informs your employer of your departure.
  2. It’s important to send a professional resignation letter to maintain a positive employee-employer relationship.
  3. Your resignation letter should be short and sweet and should not include any negative comments.
  4. You can use resignation letter examples to help craft your resignation letter according to the circumstances of your departure.
  5. After notifying your employer face-to-face that you are resigning, you can hand in your resignation letter in person or attach it to a professional email.
  6. When you take the necessary steps to exit gracefully, resignation can positively impact your career trajectory.

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