Even though millions quit their jobs every month, we understand that telling your boss that you’re leaving the company is never an easy conversation. A respectful resignation letter can mean the difference between an awkward goodbye and a chance for a long-term professional connection.
But how do you write a good resignation letter? What should you include and exclude? Let’s dive in.
What is a resignation letter?
A resignation letter is a formal document that lets your employer know that you are resigning from your position. It can be submitted either by email or printed letter.
It lets you officially announce your departure from the company and offers essential housekeeping information, like your last day and other details about your exit. Ideally, you’ll submit your resignation letter at least two weeks before leaving the company.
An effective one helps you ensure a positive conversation with your boss and a smooth transition to your next journey.
How to Write a Professional Resignation Letter
Your resignation letter should be brief and only include relevant and helpful information. Don’t focus on the advantages of your next role. Instead, take the time to reflect on any appreciation you feel for the company you’re leaving behind.
Your resignation letter should effectively convey your appreciation, professionalism, and willingness to assist in the transition process. Remember to keep it brief and focused on the relevant details.
With this in mind, here’s the ideal resignation letter format.
Resignation Letter Format
The letter should be detailed but brief. Inform your manager of your decision, but keep it professional if the reasons are less positive.
The format of a resignation letter typically goes as follows:
Date and Salutation
Your letter should start with the date along with a formal salutation to your manager. Nothing too complicated here — you simply want to provide a filing date for HR, and to greet your manager courteously.
Although this step is simple, it effectively sets the tone for a professional and respectful letter, which is what you always want in your resignation.
A Statement of Resignation
Use the opening paragraph to state what role you’re leaving, and when. This is known as a statement of resignation. Like the greeting, it doesn’t have to be complicated at all. It’s simply meant to provide your employer with the necessary information surrounding your departure.
No need to gush, like in this example: “I’m so sorry, but I’m resigning from the position of [job title] in two weeks, although it’s been a true pleasure working with you all. I know this is the worst, but I promise, I wouldn’t if I didn’t have to.” You can be corporate and cold here. Leave the emotions for when it’s time to talk face-to-face with your manager!
Example: I would like to inform you that I am resigning from my position as [Position Name] for [Company Name], effective [Date].
Don’t forget your date of leaving — the more exact, the better, because that gives your employer a timeline to work with. They can start planning for your departure by locating a replacement, for instance.
You should use the body paragraph (singular! Not plural. We want the letter to stay short) to express gratitude for your time at the company, as well as share your exit plan.
I highly recommend lingering on your gratitude. Take the opportunity to reflect on your time at the company and express your appreciation for the experiences you’ve had. Highlight any professional development or growth you achieved while there.
Even if you have negative reasons for leaving, be as specific and genuine as you can. I’m sure you can find at least one good thing about the job. For example, you can thank them for the valuable training, supportive team environment, or work experience.
As for the exit plan, focus on making the transition easier. It’s less about you leaving and more about what happens after you leave. Offer to train your replacement and ensure that all your responsibilities are properly handed over. You can even outline your projects and tasks so your successor has an easier time picking up the slack.
Although optional, you can use the closing paragraph to list your contact information. I specially recommend it if you plan to use your former manager as a reference. Thank them for the opportunity to work at the company and express your interest in staying in touch. Provide your email address or phone number, then sign your name.
In the next section, we’ll go into more detail about these key elements and look at a few examples.
What do I include in a professional resignation letter?
- Statement of Resignation and End Date
- Transition Details
- Personal Contact Information
Writing a professional resignation letter starts with understanding each of its components.
1. Statement of Resignation and End Date
Begin your letter by stating your position at the company. This might seem redundant if you work at a small company and your boss knows you well, but it’s essential to include it since the letter is your official termination. Along with this information should be a simple statement of your resignation.
Also, providing an end date in the first paragraph is helpful since that’s one of your employer’s first questions.
Here’s what this first paragraph may look like in practice:
I would like to inform you that I am resigning from my position as [Position Name] for [Company Name], effective [Date].
Take the time to consider how you’ve grown or what you’ve appreciated most about your time at the company. Be as specific as possible. Perhaps the company provided professional development opportunities. Maybe you’ve enjoyed the environment the company fostered and the supportive atmosphere.
It’s also nice for your employer to receive a thank you for the time and resources they’ve used in supporting your career growth. Here’s an example of what this may look like:
I appreciate the opportunities for professional development that you have provided me over the past two years. I have enjoyed my tenure at [Company Name] and feel honored to have been part of such a supportive team.
If you’d like, you can include where you’re heading. For example, if you’re switching industries to pursue a passion or going to graduate school, it might be appropriate to include that. For example:
I accepted a position as a [New Job Title], and I’m looking forward to [pursuing my passion in [X] or continuing my work with a focus on [Y].
However, if you’re leaving the company for a competitor, it’s better to omit such information.
3. Transition Details
In the third paragraph, mention your willingness to make the transition easier. For example:
If I can be of any help during this transition, please let me know. I am available to help train my replacement and ensure that all my reports are updated before my last day of work.
This sentence might look different for you. But regardless of what you write, it’s good practice to include specific details regarding how you’ll help.
As an optional follow-up paragraph, briefly review the work you’ll be surrendering when you officially leave the company. Although it’s technically your manager’s responsibility to pick this work up and determine how it will continue, it’s helpful to list all the projects and tasks you’ve been in charge of to make the transition even easier on the company in the interim.
If you didn’t serve in a managerial capacity or collaborate with other departments, you could skip this part.
4. Personal Contact Information
This last paragraph is optional and doesn’t need to be included all the time, particularly if you have no desire or need to use your former employer as a reference. However, many candidates choose to maintain their professional networks. A closing may look like this:
Thank you again for the opportunity to work at [Company Name]. I wish you all the best and look forward to staying in touch. You can email me at [Email Address].
What Not to Include in a Resignation Letter
- Future Career Moves
- Distasteful Language
- Emotional Attachments
- Criticism of Coworkers
- Projecting Bitterness
1. Future Career Moves
While you can mention where you’re going next, you don’t need to tell your employer about your new position or salary at length. Keep things professional. You can acknowledge how the current position helped your advancement within your industry. Your letter should be direct and reflective in tone to your employer.
2. Distasteful Language
It goes without saying, but a resignation letter isn’t the time to use profanity and obscene language. You need to remain respectful and professional until your end of tenure. Although you may feel the urge to criticize your former job, the resignation letter isn’t the time to air out the dirty laundry.
3. Emotional Attachments
If you’re leaving a supportive work environment, it’s helpful to leave out emotional sentiments in the letter. Be as professional as possible. You can illustrate those emotions through face-to-face meetings with others.
4. Criticism of Coworkers
Your resignation letter doesn’t need to include negative comments about colleagues or managers at the company. The letter is meant to conclude your tenure, not blame others for incomplete tasks.
5. Projecting Bitterness
This is not the time to project your resentment towards your current job. You need to reflect on positive moments and how you gained useful knowledge about the industry and yourself. You don’t have to leave on a sour note with your employer.
Free Professional Resignation Letter Templates
Sometimes the nature of your position merits a more specific letter of resignation when you leave. Below are a couple of templates that help these more dynamic roles make a graceful departure from the company.
1. General Resignation Letter Template
No matter what position you are resigning from, this template from HubSpot can help you communicate your departure with ease.
This resignation letter provides space for you to thank your manager, outline positive experiences from your time at the company, share your last day, and talk about why you decided to leave.
2. Contractor Resignation Letter Template
If you work freelance, you might need to adjust the focus of your resignation letter to address your final assignments and exactly how you’ll be parting ways with your client. This includes your current duties, tasks you won’t complete, and how you’ll accept your final payment.
Dear [Mr./Mrs.Ms.] [Name],
I regret to inform you that I will be resigning from my position as the [department] Freelancer as my contract with Company A will be expiring on April 20, 2022. I have enjoyed my time with the company, and I have learned and grown a great deal. I am happy to have been a part of the company, and I would like to thank you for the opportunities I have had at Company A.
I am saddened to be moving on from the company, but I am going to be taking on new challenges with Company B. I hope my experience here has helped the company with their projects and I am happy to have been a part of the team.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me. I will be available to help you with any final projects.
3. Executive Resignation Letter Template
A quick email or two-paragraph notice to your superior might not suffice as an official resignation if you’re in an executive- or senior-level leadership role.
Because these roles are harder to fill, you might play a more significant role in the transition period, especially since you manage more people and decide on the direction of more projects.
The example below separates the resignation into two sections. The first is the resignation itself, and the second is how (and with whom) the resigner’s work will continue. It’s just one of the different templates we have to offer.
Dear Board of Directors,
Please let this letter serve as my resignation as CEO of Anson Incorporated effective immediately. The steadily dropping value of Anson stock and the complete loss of faith of the shareholders can be placed firmly on my shoulders. I no longer feel as though I can do the best possible job for the company and must resign from my position.
I will cherish the friends I have made and hold onto the many accomplishments that are part of my history with Anson. When I first arrived we grew revenue by 45 percent and saved hundreds of jobs. But as time went by, I found it difficult to adjust to the changing business and political climate in our industry.
I am confident that the board will be able to find an excellent replacement as CEO and bring the company back to its former glory. I only regret that I was unable to sustain the success that occurred when I first arrived at the company.
If you need any information or paperwork filled out, then call me at 000-000-0000 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I wish you and the company the best in the future.
Geoffrey J. Harper
4. Teacher Resignation Letter Template
Depending on your profession, you may want to look for a more career-specific resume template. For instance, this teacher resignation letter template provides space for discussing your experience working with students and how you will assist with the transition.
Dear Mr. Amthor,
Please accept this letter as my formal resignation from my position as 4th grade teacher at Highland Hills Elementary School. To ensure ample time for a smooth transition, my last day of employment will be December 16, 2017, the final day of the fall term.
My experience as an educator has been insightful, challenging, and fulfilling, and working with the Highland Hills students has brought me great joy. Thank you for the opportunity to invest in the lives of children through learning and play. I am grateful to have been part of this team and will carry the many lessons I learned with me into my future endeavors.
Because the continued success and care of the students is of upmost importance to me, I am dedicated to doing whatever I can to make the transition as seamless as possible. I am happy to train my replacement on our current curriculum and the content we still need to cover for the spring exams.
I hope all the best for the Highland Hills students, teachers, and administration. Thank you again for your support and leadership during my time here.
Professional Resignation Letter Samples
With the above templates in mind, let’s look at a few sample resignation letters for different positions, each taking a slightly different but amicable tone to their resignations.
1. Gracious Resignation Letter Sample
You can share why you’re quitting if they aren’t work-related reasons. The reasons should be positive or neutral. Its tone is thankful that the employer took a chance on you. Most offer an extended hand to train the incoming person. The letter includes a notice of resignation at least two weeks in advance.
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:
I would like to inform you that I am resigning from my position as Data Analyst for Company A, effective January 3.
I appreciate the opportunities for professional development that you have provided me over the past four years. I have enjoyed my tenure at Company A, and feel grateful to have started my career alongside such a dedicated team.
I have accepted a teaching position in Virginia. While my experience at Company A was rewarding, I’m excited to pursue my passion for teaching.
If I can be of any help during this transition, please let me know. I am willing to help out with freelance work until you find a replacement.
Thank you again for the opportunity to work at Company A. I wish you all the best and look forward to staying in touch. You can email me at X.
2. Brief Resignation Letter Sample
A brief resignation letter will include two important things: your date of resignation and a formal notice to your supervisor. A good letter can also include a “thank you” line, but it’s not necessary. Although you’re ending your tenure with your current employer, you don’t want to burn a bridge without honoring your notice deadline.
Dear Mr./Ms/ Last Name:
Please accept this letter of resignation from my position as content creator at Company Y. My last day of employment will be June 1.
It has been a pleasure working with you and the team for the past two years. In particular, I’ve enjoyed tackling extensive copywriting projects as the business has grown. I’m very appreciative for the opportunities to develop my skills in the field, and want to thank you for all your guidance and insight. I wish your company much success.
Please let me know if you need any assistance with the transition.
3. Immediate Resignation Letter Sample
While the best way to quit a job is to give at least two weeks’ notice and offer to help with the transition, sometimes circumstances make that impossible. If you need to leave your job immediately without notice, you need an immediate resignation letter.
Here is a sample that can help you:
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:
I regret to inform you that I’m resigning from my position as the X at Company A immediately.
While my contract requires me to work until July 31, I would be grateful if I could cease working immediately. I sincerely apologize for any inconveniences this sudden news may cause.
Thank you for the fantastic opportunities you’ve offered me to grow professionally and personally.
Please let me know if there is anything I can do to make the transition smoother.
4. Retirement Resignation Letter Sample
A thoughtful resignation letter is especially important when you are retiring. Not only are you telling your employer when you plan to stop working, but you also are notifying them of when you plan on receiving retirement benefits.
It’s not uncommon to have conversations about your retirement before you officially resign. Depending on your position or company policy, you may be asked to give extended notice so your employer can better prepare for your departure. At a minimum, you should give 30 days notice, but it’s courtesy to give more time, especially if you are higher up in the company.
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:
With great consideration, I have decided it’s time for me to retire from Company A, starting on September 30.
I have enjoyed working here over the past X years and I am proud of everything our team has accomplished. Though I am sad that this chapter of my life is closing, I am looking forward to traveling and spending more time with family.
As we prepare for my departure, I am happy to assist with hiring my replacement and anything else that will help make this a smooth transition.
Thank you for all the opportunities and support you have offered me over the years. I wish you all the best.
5. Extended Notice Resignation Letter Sample
Although giving two weeks is the standard, providing additional notice of your resignation will be much appreciated by your employer since it gives them more time to prepare for your departure. Leaving your job in a considerate way can leave a lasting impression on your employer and may help you out down the road.
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name,
Please accept this letter as notice of my intent to resign from my position at Company A at the end of this quarter. My last day will be June 30.
While it is tough to leave this incredible team, I will be moving on to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Iowa. It’s always been my dream to write books and I believe that this is the best path for me to achieve that.
Thank you for all the support and guidance you have given me over the last X years. I am deeply grateful for all of the opportunities I have had here.
Since my last day is six weeks from now, I will work toward completing my current projects, along with training and handing off my high-level tasks to other members of the team. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do that may help ease this transition.
6. Personal Reasons Resignation Letter Sample
Every now and then, life throws us a curveball. And depending on your situation, you may need to resign from your job for personal reasons. While you don’t need to specify in your resignation letter, personal reasons can include moving to a new location, caring for a family member, becoming a stay-at-home parent, or addressing serious health issues.
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:
I regret to inform you of my resignation from Company A. Due to personal reasons, I am no longer able to fulfill my duties as project manager. My last day of employment will be April 15.
It has been wonderful working with you and the team for the past three years. I truly appreciate the opportunities I have been given to develop my skills and grow within my role.
Over the next two weeks, I will work to complete my remaining assignments and hand off my ongoing projects to other members of the team. I am also happy to assist with anything else you may need during this transition.
Thank you for your guidance and understanding. I will look back on my time here at Company A fondly. I wish you all the best moving forward.
Ready to Write Your Resignation Letter?
Be polite in your resignation letter no matter your role, state why you’re leaving, and be clear on who you’re informing. Gratitude and support during your departure go a long way with employers, and the last thing you want to do is leave the company on a sour note — even if you’re leaving for unpleasant reasons.
By drawing inspiration from these resignation letter samples and templates, you’ll protect your professional bridges and keep your professional network intact as you start your next adventure.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.