How to Write a Resignation Letter (With Samples)

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Are you ready to resign from your job? It's always a good idea to write a resignation letter to formalize the details of your departure. But what is a resignation letter, and why should you write one? What should you include, and when do you need to provide notice to a soon-to-be former employer?

Here's information on writing a resignation letter or email message, along with samples and templates to use to write your own letter.

What is a Resignation Letter?

A resignation letter is a document that notifies your employer that you are leaving your job. It formalizes your departure from your current employment, and can be written as a printed letter or an email message.

The letter provides the details of your departure from employment, including written notice and documentation of the end date of your employment.

How to Write a Resignation Letter

When you resign from your job, it's important to resign gracefully and professionally. However, you don't need to include a lengthy explanation. Keep your letter or email simple and focused on the facts. Here's what to include in your letter:

  • Your Intent to Resign: Give adequate notice to your employer, write a formal resignation letter, and be prepared to move on prior to submitting your resignation. Your letter should start with the fact that you're resigning.
  • Your Last Day of Employment: Resignation letters not only describe the employee’s intent to leave but also provide information about the last day to be worked and other requests or details. This eases the transition for both employer and employee.
  • An Offer to Assist with the Transition: Often, resignation letters will also offer to help in the transition, whether it be by recruiting or training a replacement. In this way, both the employee and the employer can leave the situation with closure and a sense of respect and amicability.
  • Questions You May Have: If you have questions about your final pay or benefits, you can inquire in your letter or email.
  • Your Contact Information: Include your personal contact information, so it's easy for the company to get in touch with you.
  • Your Signature: A hard copy letter should include your written signature above your typed name. If you're sending an email, simply type your name.

To maintain a positive and graceful exit, a letter of resignation will often thank the employer for the opportunities provided and mention experiences gained at the company or how the employee enjoyed their time there.

What Not to Include in Your Letter

There are some things you shouldn't include when writing a resignation letter. Resignation letters are not an appropriate place for complaints or critiques of the employer or co-workers.

Keep it simple, stick to the facts, and don't complain. It's important to leave on a positive note because you may need a reference from the employer. There's no point in burning bridges when you've already made the decision to move on.

Here's a list of what else shouldn't be included in your resignation letter.

When to Give the Letter to Your Employer

It's polite to send this letter out well in advance of your departure (especially as required by contract), with two weeks in advance being generally accepted as the minimum unless there are circumstances where you need to resign without advance notice or with short notice.

If you tell your boss in person that you're resigning, have a printed copy ready to share. When you work remotely or resign with short notice, however, you can send your resignation via email.

Resignation Do's and Don'ts

How should you resign from your job? How about what you shouldn't do when turning in your resignation? Here's what you should (and what you shouldn't) do when resigning from your job.

Resignation Letter Samples

Review some of the best resignation letter examples to get ideas for your own letter to use to resign from employment. There are general resignation letters, email messages, letters specifying a reason for leaving, and many other examples to use to announce that you are leaving a job.

Basic Resignation Letters

The following are general resignation letters that can be used for any circumstances. They are short and to the point.

Resignation Letter Examples With a Reason

Review resignation letters that provide a specific reason for leaving, and letters and email messages for special circumstances, including no notice and short notice.

Short Notice Letters

Although many employers expect their personnel to provide two weeks’ notice before leaving their jobs, sometimes this simply isn’t feasible. Here’s how to resign with little or no notice.

To Pursue Better Opportunities

People are often prompted to take the risk of quitting their jobs when they know that better opportunities await.

You can explain why you’re leaving without reflecting negatively upon your current employer.

For Family Reasons and Medical Reasons

Major life changes like marriage, pregnancy, childbirth, and health issues are common (and understandable) reasons why people feel it necessary to leave their jobs.

Because of Organizational Restructuring

Changes in one’s workplace aren’t always easy to weather. If, after a change in management or organization, you feel like it’s time to move on, these examples will help you to structure a tactful letter of resignation. There’s also a sample of a manager’s acceptance of resignation.

To Resign From Short-Term Positions

Sometimes, you know from your first day of work that you won’t be enjoying a long tenure with an employer, either because of the work climate itself or because it’s understood that the job is temporary or seasonal.

Announce Your Retirement

You’re ready to retire—congratulations! Have a look at these examples when you know your working days are over.

To Resign Graciously

Even if you experienced negativity in your job from others, it’s best to resign from one’s position gracefully and with gratitude. You want to leave the organization on a good footing, for you never know when you might need to ask for a letter of recommendation or referral.

Resign from Specific Positions

Here are a few examples of how to resign from specific occupations.

Email Resignation Messages and Announcements

Review resignation email message examples and sample resignation announcements to use to resign from employment and to inform colleagues and clients that you are leaving your job.

Farewell to Co-Workers Letters

Review these letters for examples of how to let co-workers know you're moving on to a new position and provide them with your contact information.

Resignation Letter Template

You can download the resignation letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word) to use as a starting point for your own letter.

Screenshot of a resignation letter example

Resignation Letter Template (Text Version)

Joseph Q. Hunter
123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 12345
555-212-1234
josephq@email.com

August 7, 2020

Jane Smith
Senior Manager
Johnson's Furniture Store
123 Business Rd.
Business City, NY 54321

Dear Ms. Smith,

I would like to notify you that I am resigning from my position as Assistant Manager for Johnson's Furniture Store effective August 21. 

Thank you very much for the opportunity you’ve given me to learn all about store management and proper customer service. I have genuinely enjoyed my time with the company, and I believe the experience has taught me much about the furniture industry as well as how to effectively manage employees.

Next month I will be taking a position as a manager of a new retail store, but in the meantime, I will be happy to assist in the transition of a new Assistant Manager.

Sincerely,

Joseph Q. Hunter (signature hard copy letter)

Joseph Q. Hunter

More Resignation Letter Templates

These are templates you can use as a starting point for your own letter.

How to Handle Your Departure

You have found a new job, and you're ready to give two-weeks notice to your current employer. Here's how to handle your departure and gracefully move on from your job.