Saying “goodbye” is never easy. Long gone are the days when an employee was expected to stay at the same company for twenty, thirty, or even forty years and retire with a gold watch. In the current job climate, moving on and moving up are expected occurrences in most people's career paths. But making the move can be tricky. A straightforward, professional letter of resignation can help ensure that your transition from your old job goes as smoothly as possible.
This blog will cover the basics of writing a letter of resignation, including the how, when, why, and what should be included (as well as what should be left out). Here is what will be discussed:
Is a letter of resignation really necessary?
Reasons for resigning.
What should be included in the letter of resignation.
Example of a letter of resignation.
This blog has been created to help you leave your job professionally and efficiently. For more insight on the job search process, check out our articles about writing a follow-up email after an interview or identifying your transferable skills.
Do you have to write a letter of resignation?
Short answer? Yes. Writing a letter of resignation is the best way to give official notice that you plan to leave your current job. It’s essentially a professional “heads up” to your company that you will be leaving and that they’ll need to find a replacement. While this is not the first thing you should do — having a one-on-one with your supervisor or manager two weeks before you plan to leave is your imminent priority — a resignation letter is an official document that will be filed with the human resources department, and can affect your remaining time with the company as well as maintain a positive relationship after you leave.
While most people have left jobs for other opportunities at one time or another, deciding to resign from your position can still be a multifaceted and thought-provoking process. It's important to think through your decision and weigh all your options. If you're still on the fence, though, it might be helpful to know some common reasons people leave their jobs.
According to a Pew Research Study, 63% of people who left their job cited low pay and lack of opportunities for advancement as their primary reasons.
Reasons to give for resigning
You got a new job
A very common reason for resigning from your job is, well, landing a new one! Examining the pros and cons of leaving can help cement your decision to stay or go.
Personal commitments and potential conflicts
Sometimes, things happen in your life that are out of your control and may conflict with holding your current position.
Long-term care of a family member.
Relocation due to a partner’s career.
If you leave your job for any of these understandable and valid reasons, any gaps in your resume will be easily explained (and it might even be a good time to update your skills).
Discontent with your current responsibilities or work environment
It goes without saying that if you are dissatisfied with your current responsibilities, a discussion with your manager is in order. This might help redefine your role and allow for taking on new or different duties. If a change isn't in the cards, you should consider finding a new outside position.
You may also have issues with your current environment. These are more difficult to change, if not impossible, and might be something you need to separate from for your career and mental health. Examples include
Company or team expectations.
Company culture or values.
Corporate leadership styles.
If a company’s values and mission do not line up with your own, it can be detrimental to your physical or psychological well-being. If it is clear things will not be changing any time soon, it might be time to move on.
You want a career change
Sometimes, a career path just isn’t right for you. Whether it’s boredom, lack of advancement opportunities, or just finding new challenges, a change of environment might be the thing you need to revitalize your career. If your current job can’t change to meet your needs, it’s appropriate to resign.
When considering a change in your career field, it’s important to do some deep introspection and take inventory of your interests, abilities, and goals. Career.io’s article about knowing yourself will help you take those first steps in your career journey.
How to write a letter of resignation
If you’ve weighed the pros and cons of getting a new job, and you’re ready to leave, it’s time to write your resignation letter. While it might be tempting to craft your letter with two words — “I quit” — in reality, you need a bit more than that. Be sure to give as much notice as possible, ideally two weeks. This will allow your manager adequate time to find your replacement and will maintain a positive impression as you move on to greener pastures.
So what do you need? Keep your letter to one page, and be sure to include the following information:
Statement of intent.
Your current position within the company.
The date you will be leaving.
An expression of gratitude.
A proposal to train your replacement.
Wish the company well.
Your contact information.
While you can adjust the letter based on your experiences with the company and the length of time you've worked there, make sure to keep it brief, professional, and polished. This is not the time to air grievances. You may think it will just sit in a file cabinet gathering dust, but in truth, it will set the tone for your departure and make sure you don't burn any bridges on the way out.
Now that you know what needs to be included in your resignation letter, it’s time to put it all together. Here are two examples of appropriate letter formats.
Copyable Example #1
231 Main Street | Anytown, MD 55555 | Phone: 555-555-5555 | email@example.com
Mr. Albert Waters
24412 First Avenue
Anytown, MD 55555
Dear Mr. Albert Waters,
I am writing this letter to notify you that I am resigning from my position as Sales Associate at SGS Finance, effective April 11, 2022.
I appreciate the opportunity for professional growth you have provided during my time at SGS Finance. Thank you for your support and encouragement.
Please let me know how I can help this transition go smoothly. I wish SGS Finance continued success.
Copyable Example #2:
1821 Downers Street | Anytown, IA 55555 | Phone: 555-555-5555 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Sally Allen
3241 Main St.
Anytown, IA 55555
Please accept this letter as notice of my resignation from my position as Marketing Specialist. My last day of employment will be Friday, November 22, 2022.
I received an offer to serve as the Digital Marketing Manager of a Fortune 500 company, and after careful deliberation, I decided that this opportunity is too exciting for me to decline.
I have truly enjoyed working with you and the team over the last six years. One of the highlights of my career was partnering with you to streamline Silverbright’s marketing operations and establish a social media presence.
I would like to help with the transition of my marketing duties so that everything continues to run smoothly after my departure. I am available to assist in the hiring and training of my replacement, and I will make certain that all outstanding accounts are wrapped up before my last day of work.
Sally, thank you again for the opportunity to work for Silverbright Industries. I wish you and your staff all the best and I look forward to staying in touch with you. You can email me at email@example.com or call me at 555-555-5555.
Make sure to keep your resignation letter professional and polite.
Boast about your new job.
Proofread the letter before submitting it.
Vent about any negative experiences at the company.
Check with HR or your company handbook before giving your notice.
Discuss your new salary.
In this day and age, a letter of resignation may seem like an antiquated relic, but it serves to act as a written record of your departure and provides helpful information about the transition out of your position. Not only is it courteous and professional, but it also provides a paper trail documenting your notice should there be any questions regarding your insurance and paycheck. The bottom line is to make sure there are no lingering "bad feelings" as you move on to a new stage in your life and career.
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.
Thoroughly consider your reasons for resigning before notifying your manager and handing in the letter.