There’s a right way and a wrong way to quit your job. When possible, it's always best to quit in person. A face-to-face conversation shows courtesy to your soon-to-be-former employer and strengthens the relationship as you close this chapter in your career. You never know when you might need a networking contact, a recommendation, or a letter of reference. Your manager is far more likely to help you out if you conducted your last days at the office with grace and peak professionalism.
When It Is Acceptable to Quit Your Job via Email
There are some circumstances when quitting in person is not possible. Sometimes, personal circumstances require you to leave a job on short notice, or with no notice at all. If you have a family emergency, for instance, and need to leave immediately, you may need to resign by sending an email message to your manager.
Perhaps a face-to-face conversation is not possible because you work remotely in another state. It makes sense, in this case, to resign via email. Since most likely that's how the two of you communicate, it won't seem as abrupt as it would if you worked together in the same office.
Another reason to resign by email is if you work for an abusive manager or in a psychologically unsafe environment. Resigning via email may be your safest option. In this instance, you’re not sacrificing anything by severing the connection because it’s unlikely that your boss would provide you with a recommendation anyway. Most importantly, you’re protecting yourself, which comes before career considerations.
Tips for Sending an Email to Quit a Job
Even if you do quit your job via email, giving two weeks’ notice is standard practice. However, if going into the office isn't feasible, you may not be able to provide that much notice. If you have an employment contract, be sure to check on how much notice you are required to provide.
Give as much notice as you can in order to maintain a good relationship with your employer.
Don't feel like you need to provide details in your letter about why you are leaving. If you don't want to provide a reason for quitting, you can simply state that you are resigning for personal reasons.
This is also not the space to complain about the company or co-workers. Keep your email brief and include only essential details, since a copy of this letter will likely be filed in your employee file, and may be reviewed if you ever ask the company for a reference.
Your emailed resignation letter should be sent to your immediate supervisor, with a copy to the Human Resources department at your workplace. Copy your personal email address on the message so you have the email in your records.
What to Include in Your Email Message
When you quit a job using email, there is information you will need to include in your message:
- The date your resignation is effective
- What the company should do with your final paycheck if it's not direct deposited and you are not returning to work
- Any questions you may have regarding compensation and benefits
- How the company can contact you, if necessary, with a phone number and personal email address in your signature.
You can also include a polite thank you to the company and/or your manager. Make the subject line of your email message "Resignation - Your Name." Using this straightforward subject line will ensure that your manager doesn't overlook this important piece of correspondence.
Resignation Email Template
Use this template as a starting point to create your own resignation message.
Subject Line: Resignation - Your Name
State that you are resigning and include the date when your resignation is effective.
In the next (optional) section of your resignation email message, thank your employer for the opportunities you have had during your employment with the company.
Conclude your resignation email message (also optional) by offering to assist with the transition.
Resignation Email Message Sample
Here's a sample email resignation message, including the final date the employee will work.
Email Subject Line: Resignation - Anna Leonard
Dear Mr. Collins:
My apologies for notifying you by email. However, circumstances are such that I will no longer be able to come into the office. Please accept this email message as notification that I am leaving my position with CDF effective September 1, 2020, due to personal reasons.
I appreciate the opportunities I have been given at the company and your professional guidance and support. I wish both you and the company much success in the future.
Please let me know what to expect as far as my accrued personal leave time and my final paycheck.
If I can be of assistance during this transition, please let me know.