Resignation Sample Letters and Topics

When you decide to leave your current job behind but aren't sure how to resign, think about the context of your resignation when approaching how to write your resignation letter. Professionals are on the move all the time and grab opportunities before others do. The tech industry, in particular, sees talent come and go, so writing a resignation letter is common.

As you move up the career latter, never miss out on opportunities to build relationships and keep in contact with strategic partners. The benefits of building and maintaining your network are undeniable. So, when you move to a new position, craft a resignation letter that is professional, polite, and allows for future contact with your boss or senior colleagues.

After all, you might need a reference or recommendation letter from them. Moreover, they have valuable connections in your field and will make a useful addition to your network. Resignations aren't always amicable, but when possible, try to preserve the relationship with a well-written resignation letter.

Resignation Letter Essentials

Letter of resignation
ra-photos/Getty Images

A straightforward letter covers the essentials, such as offering to help with the transition process. It includes an expression of gratitude to the company and acts as a neutral end to the working relationship. It’s advisable to speak to your boss beforehand about your intention to leave, but a general resignation letter makes it official. All resignation letters should include:

  • The date of writing
  • The name of the appropriate manager or department
  • The name of your position
  • Your final day of work

Letters with just the basics are appropriate for short-term positions or when you don't expect future contact. More detailed resignation letters also can state:

  • A reason for leaving
  • A forwarding address
  • A willingness to help with the transition
  • An expression of thanks for the opportunity

Don't use a resignation letter to vent your frustrations with the company. You’ll regret burning that bridge if you need to approach the company at a later date.

Expressing Regret

It helps to express that the decision to leave was not an easy one and extenuating circumstances prompted the move. Thank the company and outline the positive aspects experienced in the position, including career development opportunities, learning and training, and mentorships. Handling the letter this way leaves open the door for a possible return to the company.

The Detailed Resignation Letter

Go into even more detail if a resignation is a shock to the company or you believe it deserves a detailed explanation. For example, if there were long-term expectations for you at the company or if you were in line for a promotion, it can be helpful to express why you had a change of heart.

Besides the basics, give a reason for the decision and outline highlights of your time at the company. Offer to find or train a replacement if you’re able.

Unsatisfactory Working Conditions

If you leave a company because of a poor working environment, you can highlight negative conditions so your supervisors can take corrective measures, but it's important to be professional and stick to facts.

One way to approach this is to highlight the issue by expressing it as something that appeals to you with your new employer. For example, you might state that your new job offers more flexibility with your schedule which was not available in the position you are leaving.

Providing Proper Notice

A job contract often stipulates a notice period. Even a basic employment agreement might state that employees must provide, for example, two weeks' notice in order to be eligible for certain benefits, such as pay for accrued sick time. Offer to use this time to complete outstanding work or to train a replacement before you leave.

Leaving without advanced warning can have serious repercussions, depending on the terms of your contract or employment agreement. It's also poor form and might unnecessarily burn a bridge. If you can't avoid an immediate resignation, express regret, thank the company, and try to explain why you cannot provide more notice. A well-written resignation letter should salvage the relationship if possible or, at least, calm frustrations.

Continued Responsibilities

If you are strongly linked to a project at the company you are leaving, you'll have additional responsibilities during the notice period to help your employer have a seamless transition. Offer to train a replacement and provide helpful tips about the project, as this shows loyalty to your work, and it enhances your reputation.

In industries that are well-networked, that boost to your reputation can be an important benefit.