What should you do when you need to leave a job on short notice? When you resign from a job, it is considered standard to give your employer two weeks' notice before you depart from your position. Anything less than that, whether it's one week's notice, a couple of days' notice, or leaving right away, is considered short notice.
Giving sufficient notice will give your manager time to plan for your departure, begin the hiring process, and make sure that your responsibilities are covered. It will also allow you to wrap up current projects or arrange to transfer your responsibilities to a colleague or your replacement.
Here's information on what to do when you need to resign without much (or any) notice, what to tell your employer, and examples of short notice resignation letters.
When You Need to Resign With Short Notice
Unfortunately, sometimes it’s just not possible to provide the standard two weeks' notice. Perhaps you have a personal emergency or work conditions are intolerable, and you have to leave immediately. You may also have received a job offer and the new company wants you to start right away.
Make sure you consider the pros and cons of resigning without two weeks' notice before deciding to leave. If you have an employment agreement, be sure to check your contract requirements before you turn in your resignation.
Your employer will appreciate as much notice as you can give, so do let them know as soon as you are sure you will be leaving.
If you need to resign with short notice, review the sample resignation letters below. One is in the form of a business letter. The other is in the form of an email.
Resignation Letter Writing Tips
You can tell your manager that you are quitting in person, over the phone, or in an email. If possible, telling your manager in person first is ideal. However, whichever way you choose, it's a good idea to then write a formal letter of resignation that the company can add to your employee file.
Here are some strategies to keep in mind when you're writing your letter of resignation:
Write It in a Business Letter Format: Because this is an official letter that will go into your employee file, you should follow business letter formatting rules. In the top left corner of the letter, include your contact information, the date, and your employer’s contact information. End the letter with your handwritten signature and your typed name below it.
State the Date of Resignation: In the first paragraph, state the date that you will be leaving your job. This is the most important piece of information in your letter, so you should include it as early as possible in the letter.
Keep It Short: Don't feel like you need to provide a tremendous amount of detail. The most important thing is to mention your last day in the office.
Explain Why You Are Resigning—If Appropriate: Should you tell your boss why you are leaving so quickly? It depends on your reason—if you are providing short notice because you're unhappy at the job or dislike your manager or colleagues, do not share those details. However, if there are outside circumstances, such as a health crisis, sharing your reasons may help your employer feel sympathetic.
Remember, whenever possible, it's best to avoid burning bridges in the workplace. However, again, keep your letter short—you do not need to go into all of the little details.
Say Thank You: In the same spirit of ending your relationship with your employer on good terms, express your gratitude for the opportunities you've had in the position. Even if you have not had the greatest experience at the company, a brief “thank you” is often appreciated.
Offer to Help During the Transition (Optional): Providing assistance during the transition is not required but is a common courtesy to extend. However, if your personal circumstances prevent you from helping out in any way, you do not need to include this.
Proofread and Edit: Be sure to thoroughly read through your letter before sending it. Look for any spelling or grammar errors. Consider asking a friend or family member to proofread the letter as well. Remember that you want to leave a positive impression on the company—a well-written and well-edited resignation letter will help you do that.
Formal Resignation Letter Sample – Short Notice
346 Sundown Place
Downton, MA 07234
October 18, 2021
Ms. Janaya Campbell
Human Resources Manager
123 Allerton Road
Cambridge, MA 07314
Dear Ms. Campbell:
Please accept this letter as formal notification that I am resigning from my position with ABCD Company on Friday, October 22, 2021. I understand that two weeks' notice is standard. However, personal circumstances require that I leave my position at this company by the end of this week.
I am glad to provide any assistance I can during this transition.
Thank you for the opportunities for professional and personal development that you have provided me during the last five years.
I have enjoyed working for the agency and appreciate the support given during my tenure with the company.
Signature (hard copy letter)
Resignation Email Writing Tips
You can also choose to send your resignation notice by email. This is an especially good idea if you have to alert your employer to your resignation as soon as possible. Even if you resign via email, though, you might consider sending a follow-up letter by mail for your employee file.
Read below for some tips on how to send your email message:
Use a Clear Subject Line: The subject line should clearly convey your purpose for writing so that your employer reads it right away. You might include your name as well. For example, your subject line might read “Firstname Lastname – Notice of Resignation” or “Firstname Lastname – Resignation on MonthDay, 20XX.”
Keep It Short. Just like a resignation letter, you want to keep your email short. Simply state that you are resigning, include the date you are leaving, and add a brief thank you and offer of assistance during the transition (if possible).
Proofread and Edit: People tend to forget to proofread emails in the same way they would a written letter. Just like a resignation letter, be sure to read through your email for any spelling or grammar errors. Also, make sure the font is large enough and easy to read.
Email Resignation Letter Sample – Short Notice
Subject: Resignation Effective October 15, 2021
Please accept this letter as my resignation from XYC company. Unfortunately, due to health reasons, I won't be able to provide the standard two weeks notice. My last day at the company will be this Friday, October 15, 2021.
I apologize for the short notice. I've enjoyed working together tremendously, and have learned so much from your management. Please let me know what I can do in the next few days to help ease the transition.
Thank you for your understanding.