What is the best template for a resignation letter?

As part of the formal resignation process, most people will be required to submit a resignation letter. While it may sound difficult, it does not have to be; in fact, it is often one of the most straightforward tasks you will need to perform.

There are many different templates and formats you can use, and some are more appropriate than others.

Why do you need to write a resignation letter?

Once you’ve met with your boss to discuss your resignation, most companies require a formal resignation letter in order to accompany your decision to quit. Often, this is merely a formality but it’s not just for their benefit; as with most things in business, having a paper trail is advantageous for you to ensure you’ve done the right thing.

It will also confirm your official last day on the job, an important thing for everyone who will be impacted by your departure.

Before you write your resignation letter, discuss your resignation with your boss

Before you even write your resignation letter, you should first organise a private meeting with your boss. Many companies have their own individual processes and policies surrounding resignations, and they will know what you need to do.

In some companies, you will need to fill out specific forms surrounding your resignation. Others will have a specific letter template you will be required to copy and use for yourself, making the job much easier for you. Be sure to confirm the details with your boss.

The best templates are the ones created by your company. However, if there is not one available, writing your own is easy.

A simple resignation letter template

The best resignations are short and to-the-point. They should include:

  • The title of the document: Resignation request (tai shoku negai)
  • To: name of company
  • Reason: “Due to personal reasons, I am resigning from my position at (company) from (date).”
  • Date of submission
  • Your name and position
  • Signature

Fold the letter, put it inside a plain white envelope, and write the title of the document on the outside of the envelope. It is best to handwrite these letters if you have good penmanship, but it is also acceptable to print them out if you do not. Never write them in pencil! Black ink is best.

What not to include in your resignation request

It is important to remember that this letter is likely going to be kept in your employee file for a number of years; many people will have access to it. In this case, less really is more. Keep it professional.

Criticisms of your company or your colleagues

This is not the time to air your grievances with the company, your boss, or your team, even if you have a very legitimate reason. The business world can be very small, especially in Japan, and it’s best to leave on a good note with your relationships intact.

Your reasons for leaving

You do not need to provide anyone with a reason for your departure. Legally, you do not need to justify yourself, even if they ask. Depending on your relationship with your boss, you may want to leave them with constructive criticism, but this is not always appropriate.

What you will do once you leave

Again, legally, you do not need to tell anyone what you plan to do once you leave. Whether you are taking time off, moving to a new company, going back to school, or moving away, your personal reasons are your private affairs, and you can keep them to yourself.

How to hand in your resignation letter

Just as with your initial meeting with your boss, do not just hand your letter to your manager casually. Ask if they have a few minutes to spare you and discuss it with them in private. As with all formal exchanges, be sure to hand this letter to your boss in a formal manner with both hands.

In order to make sure you have yourself covered should anything go wrong, it is best to keep a copy of this letter with you, and note the date, time, and name of the person you submitted it to. We also recommend you follow up your meeting and submission with an email. You can attach a digital copy of your letter with your email as well, if you feel it is appropriate.

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