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How to Write a Resignation Letter (with examples)

Writing a resignation letter is likely a necessary and awkward part of anyone’s work life. Whether you’re leaving your first entry-level job to move up in the world or taking a step down from a larger company role, sending off your resignation letter is usually one of the first steps in the process. 

The unfortunate part about leaving a job is that no one trains you on how to do it. While some of your friends and family have likely left a job before, there is no one at your job that told you how to one day leave, despite telling you how to do everything else for the role.  

However, we’re here to help! Below are some simple Do’s and Don’ts, along with a few examples, on how to best write a resignation letter. 

The Basic Principles

Leaving your job should be done gracefully in order to leave the door open should you want to return or need a recommendation letter in the future. 

A resignation letter can be broken down into a few simple parts.  

1. Formal Resignation

Here, you can explain that you are leaving and when you plan your last day to be. This should be a one-sentence explanation.

2. Thank You

Here, you express your gratitude for the opportunity and thank them unequivocally. This is not the place to air any grievances (you may have your chance during an exit interview). It’s best to list 1-2 examples of why you enjoyed working at the company and how much you cherished the experience and opportunity.

3. Reason for Living

Here, you can share the reason for departure, whether a new job, personal life choice, etc. You don’t need to get into too many details. Don’t mention the new company you’re working for and keep any information here vague. You can share details in-person with those you trust, but don’t put too much into writing.  

What should you do now?

Here are some basic things to DO for your resignation letter: 

Do: Give Notice that You’re Leaving 

Even if you are leaving a toxic workplace, you still should always put into writing that you are formally leaving a company. Make sure you get an email or written confirmation that your employer acknowledges you are leaving. This could save you potential legal trouble down the road, although unlikely.  

Do: Tell Your Manager First 

While you may tell your close colleagues that you plan to leave, the first person you should tell is your direct manager. They are the ones that deal with you the most and they will tell you what you need to do to proceed. Further, the Harvard Business Review explains that you want to make sure your boss knows the reason you’re leaving before they are surprised by the news. Even if you had a bad relationship with them, your manager/boss should learn the news from you first.

Do: Prepare your Computer and Workspace before you leave

While not directly related to your resignation letter, make sure that all personal information from your work computer is deleted. There is always the potential that after you submit your resignation letter, you will be asked to leave immediately. This is the case if you plan to leave to a competitor, work with sensitive information, or other similar situations. 

Don’t do this on your Resignation Letter 

Here are a few things to avoid when writing your resignation letter: 

Don’t: Get Emotional 

Your resignation letter is not the place to write out a heartfelt goodbye or list all the reasons you hated the job and can’t wait to leave. This is essentially a formal document that you are preparing, and thus, it should only contain professional language. You can be grateful and express your gratitude, but if you want to express your thankfulness towards your manager or coworkers, save it for a personal letter.  

Don’t: Brag About Your Next Role 

While you are likely leaving for a better position or to improve your personal life, there is no need to rub it in everyone’s face. While this language should never be included in a resignation letter, this is a good practice during your last two weeks. You should remain grateful and humble during your remaining time, especially if you plan to ask these people for recommendation letters down the line.  

Don’t: Leave Without a Goodbye 

On your last day, the best thing you can do is send a team or company-wide email (depending on what’s appropriate) expressing your gratitude towards the company and how it was a pleasure working with everyone. This will likely be separate from your resignation letter, so you can be a bit more personal. During the resignation process, you want to leave everyone with a good taste in their mouth, and not make them happy you’re leaving.  

If you are preparing for salary negotiation in your next role, check out our blog on How to Negotiate a Higher Salary

Examples to Get you Started: 

Example #1 

Dear Mr. Dumas 

I am writing this letter to give you my formal notice that I will be leaving my role as Senior Engineer on the Web Development team on February 10th, 2022. 

I am truly grateful for the last three years at Webbing.org. It has been a pleasure working and growing the team to what it has become today. Learning from you has helped me grow as an engineer and as a person. While my time here has been incredible, I have been given an opportunity at another company that I feel compelled to take.  

Over the next two weeks, please let me know how I can be of assistance. I am happy to start training a replacement and offboard my responsibilities as you see fit.  

I wish you and everyone on the team the best of luck, and I look forward to keeping in touch.  

Best Regards,  

Michael Felbs 

Example #2 

Dear Ms. Maximoff 

Please accept this email as a formal notification of my resignation as Jr. Web Designer with NewVision Inc. I will plan my last day to be on Tuesday, March 3rd.  

First of all, I want to thank you for the past year and a half at this company. Working here has been incredibly rewarding and I appreciated all the opportunities to learn and grow during my time. The work I did at NewVision helped me become more creative and knowledgeable, skills I will certainly take with me throughout my career.  

During the next month, I will do everything I can to make sure the transition of my departure goes as smoothly as possible. If there are any special tasks you would like me to complete outside of my normal responsibilities, please let me know.  

I cannot thank you enough for everything you have done for me, and I’m wishing you and the team continued success, I hope we can stay in touch!  

Sincerely,  

Nick Silver 

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