How to write a resignation letter

If you’ve decided to resign from your current position, you’ll likely need to write a formal resignation letter.

At first, this letter can seem like a difficult task, but don’t worry! It is actually very easy. A resignation notice should be short and to-the-point, and not include too many unnecessary details.

What is the benefit of handing in a formal letter?

Why bother with a resignation letter at all? There are a number of benefits.

It formalises your official last day

And this is helpful, as having it written down and accepted by your managers means it is indisputable. It also gives you an idea of the timeframe you have to wrap up any projects, create handover documents, and organise any farewell meetings or parties with your colleagues.

It is evidence in case of disputes

Unfortunately, there have been cases where employers have disputed the resignation of their employees. Having a resignation letter on file makes this harder for them to do, particularly if you have a copy of the letter, and have noted when you submitted it, and to whom.

It gives your employer a schedule for your resignation

This is helpful for your team, who are going to need to organise a replacement for you once you leave.

How should you write your resignation?

First, you should discuss your resignation in person with your boss. Not only is this the more considerate way to go about leaving your job, it is also a good opportunity to confirm your company’s policies. They may have a letter template for you to fill out. If they do not, you’ll need to write a letter yourself.

Even if your relationship with your boss is friendly, compose your letter as a formal business document - which is what it is. Remember also that this letter may be kept in your employee file for a number of years, so write it with the knowledge that many people may have access to it.

If you have strong calligraphy skills, it’s best to write the letter by hand, but if not, it is acceptable to type it up and print it out.

This document should be short and to-the-point, and follow the below points:

  • A short statement thanking the company for the opportunity and support you received while working there.
  • A short sentence stating that, for personal reasons, you have decided to move on.
  • Include the date you intend to be your final day at the company.

Once you’ve written, dated, and signed your letter, fold it inside a plain white envelope. You will need to see your boss privately in order to hand them the envelope. Again, regardless of how casual your relationship is with your boss, treat this as a formal occasion. Hand it to them with both hands. Use this opportunity to thank them for their support, and if they were the one to hire you, for the opportunity they provided you.

What not to include in your resignation letter

Even though you will be leaving the company, it is best not to treat your resignation as an opportunity to bring up any issues you have had with either the company, or with your colleagues. It is best to keep this document as professional and polite as possible; that means formal language, and if you are going to make any comments about your time at the company, keep them positive.

Regardless of whether your experience at the company has been a positive one, or negative, your aim should be to resign with your reputation intact, and with your work relationships maintained. Though perhaps awkward at times, remain calm and treat this as document as any other formal work document, and your resignation is one step closer to completion.

Looking for a new opportunity?

Submit resume