You're ready to dive into your new career and have informed Human Resources (HR) of your two weeks’ notice. But before you pack up and set off on your new adventure, you should write your employer a formal letter of resignation to keep on file. Some employers may require it as part of the exit process as evidence that you are voluntarily terminating your employment.
It's also important to use your official letter to set the right tone for the next two weeks you'll be in the office as well as your relationship with the company in the future.
The letter may sit dormant in an HR file, but your former boss (who's also a potential future reference) will be impressed with your professionalism. Plus, you never know when an old employer might become a new client down the road or when you'll cross paths again.
What to Include in a Resignation Letter
Resignation letters should be simple and straightforward, containing four essential elements:
- The date you're submitting the letter
- A formal statement indicating your resignation
- Your projected last-day-of-work date
- Your signature
Beyond that, consider including the following elements. When writing your letter, think about the best times you had on the job—this will put you in the right frame of mind to compose a positive and professional letter.
There’s no need to get creative in the opening; just state the position you’re resigning from and the effective date. Since you've likely already told your boss your reasons for leaving, you don’t need to describe them in detail here—keeping it simple is the way to go. You may also want to indicate that this decision is final to preclude a counteroffer to keep you on.
Thanking Your Boss
Thank your employer for the work and the opportunity, describing a few of the primary things you learned on the job and enjoyed experiencing at the company. Keep in mind that you may need your boss as a reference in the future; leaving on a positive note will create a good impression.
Handing-Off Your Job
Lastly, state your desire to help out with any necessary elements of transition.
You don’t need to offer specifics, and you certainly shouldn’t make an offer that you can't live up to.
Just note a few sentences indicating that you're committed to working responsibly through your last day and that you'll fulfill all your expected duties.
These might include tasks such as alerting ongoing clients to your departure, finishing any current projects, and/or writing an outline of your daily responsibilities and processes for the person who will replace you.
Statements to Avoid
According to a Robert Half survey, 86% of human resources managers said the way employees quit a job at least somewhat affects their future career opportunities. On that note, keep your attitude positive on the way out.
Don't use the letter as a chance to vent if you're bitter. If you didn't like your boss or felt you were underpaid, this is not the time to mention it. Also, avoid expressing any hostility or resentment in your letter's tone; keep emotion out of your correspondence.
At this point, your tenure with the company is almost over, and it's best to leave as gracefully as you possibly can.
Career Change Letter of Resignation Example
Here's a sample resignation letter to let your employer know that you are resigning because of a career change. Download the career change resignation letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.
Career Change Letter of Resignation Example (Text Version)
123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 12345
September 1, 2021
Director, Human Resources
123 Business Road
Business City, NY 54321
Dear Mr. Lee,
I regret to inform you that I am resigning from my position as Marketing Manager for Acme Industries. My last day of employment will be November 15.
I will be working for a local non-profit organization and look forward to the new direction of my career, even though I will miss my work with you.
Thank you for the support and the opportunities that you have provided me during the last several years. I have enjoyed my tenure with the company. If I can do anything to help ease the transition for my colleagues, please let me know.
I wish you and the company all the best. I do hope our paths cross again in the future.
Signature (hard copy letter)