Here’s information on writing a resignation letter or email message, along with samples and templates you can use to write your own letter.
- A resignation letter is a formal document notifying an employer that you are leaving your job.
- A resignation letter includes notice that you’re resigning, your end date of employment, and your contact information. You can include additional details, but they are not required.
- Resignation letters can be submitted in print or sent by email. In some cases, you may want to share a printed letter with a manager in person.
What Is a Resignation Letter?
A resignation letter is a document that notifies your employer that you are leaving your job. It formalizes your departure from your current employment and can be submitted by email or as a printed letter.
The letter serves as written notice of your resignation and provides the details of your departure from employment, including information about the end date of your employment.
When To Give the Letter to Your Employer
It’s polite to send your resignation letter well in advance of your departure, with two weeks in advance being generally accepted as the minimum unless circumstances require that you resign without advance notice or with short notice.1
In some cases, you may not be able to provide notice. If you’re working in a difficult workplace, have a family emergency, or other circumstances require you to move on right away, give your employer as much notice as is feasible given the situation. When you are considered an at-will employee, you are not legally required to give notice.2
If you have an employment contract, it’s important to adhere to its terms when you’re resigning. Check your contract to determine how much notice you need to give your employer.1
If you tell your boss in person that you’re resigning, have a printed copy of your resignation letter ready to share. When you work remotely or resign with short notice, however, you can send your resignation via email.
What To Include in a Resignation Letter
When you resign from your job, it’s important to do so gracefully and professionally. However, you don’t need to include a lengthy explanation. Keep your letter or email simple and focused on the facts.
Here’s an overview of what to include in your letter:
- Your Intent to Resign: Your letter should start with the fact that you’re resigning.
- Your Last Day of Employment: You should provide information about the last day you plan to work at the company.
- An Offer to Assist with the Transition: Often, employees will also offer to help in the transition, perhaps by recruiting or training a replacement. In this way, both the employee and the employer can leave the situation with closure and a sense of respect and amicability.
- Questions You May Have: If you have questions about your final pay or benefits, you can inquire in your letter or email.
- Your Contact Information: Include your personal contact information so it’s easy for the company to get in touch with you.
- Your Signature: A hard-copy letter should include your written signature above your typed name. If you’re sending an email, simply type your name.
To achieve a positive and graceful exit, a letter of resignation will often thank the employer for the opportunities provided and mention experiences gained at the company or how the employee enjoyed their time there.
What Not to Include in Your Letter
There are some things you shouldn’t include when writing a resignation letter:
- You don’t need to include the reason that you’re moving on, especially if it’s a negative one.
- Resignation letters are not an appropriate place for complaints or critiques of the company, manager, or co-workers.
- There’s no need to mention in your letter that you’ll be getting a higher salary at your new job (if you are). If you’re looking for a counteroffer to induce you to stay, that conversation is better held in person.
- Don’t use your letter to discuss how great the new job is or how thrilled you are about leaving.
Keep it simple, stick to the facts, and don’t complain. It’s important to leave on a positive note because you may need a reference from the employer. There’s no point in burning bridges when you’ve already made the decision to move on.
How To Write a Resignation Letter
A resignation letter needs to include your contact information, official notice that you’re resigning, and when your final day of work will be. If you’d like to include more details you can, but they are not required.
Here’s how to write a resignation letter, with information on what to include in each section of the letter:
Contact Information (Written Letter): A written letter should include your and the employer’s contact information (name, title, company name, address, phone number, email), followed by the date.
Contact Information (Email): In an email resignation letter, include your contact information at the end of the letter, after your signature. You don’t need to include the company’s contact information.
Greeting: Address the resignation letter to your manager, using their formal title (“Dear Mr./Ms./Dr.”).
Paragraph 1: Note that you are resigning from your job and state the date on which your resignation will be effective. This will give the employer official notice for your personnel file.
Paragraph 2: (Optional) You can mention the reason you’re leaving, but this is not required. If you choose to give a reason, be sure it’s a positive one, such as starting a new job, leaving the workplace, or going back to school.
Paragraph 3: (Optional) If you’re able to help with the transition, mention your availability in your letter.
Paragraph 4: (Optional) Mention your appreciation for the opportunity you had to work for the company. If there was something that was especially rewarding, share the details.
Closing: Use a formal sign-off, such as “Sincerely” or “Yours sincerely.”
Signature (Written Letter): End with your handwritten signature followed by your typed name.
Signature (Email): Include your typed name followed by your contact information.
How To Format a Resignation Letter
Resignation letters should be simple, short, and written in business format using a traditional font.
Length of the Letter: Most resignation letters are no more than one typed page.
Font and Size: Use a traditional font such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri. Your font size should be between 10 and 12 points.
Format: A resignation letter should be single-spaced with a space between each paragraph. Use one-inch margins and align your text to the left (the alignment for most business documents).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How much notice is required when you resign from a job?
Two weeks is considered the standard amount of notice to give an employer when you resign from a job. When an employee is covered by an employment contract, however, they are expected to adhere to the contract terms, which may require a longer notice period. In some cases, an employee may need to quit with less or no notice.
Do you have to write a resignation letter when you’re leaving a job?
Company policy or employment contracts may require resignation letters, but most employers don’t require formal notification when an employee resigns. When a resignation letter isn’t required, it can still make sense to write one to create an official record of your end date of employment.