Template: How to Write a Resignation Letter

After you’ve decided to quit your job, it’s only natural to be anxious about quickly making the change. And during your final days, it’s just as common to feel like chewing-out coworkers who’ve made your life more difficult in the past. But resignation isn’t the right time or place for emotional catharsis. You never know who you’ll be working with in the future, so ensuring your job transition goes smoothly is almost always in your best interests.

Used properly, letters of resignation are a blueprint for your plan to resign professionally and part with your employer on good terms. Writing the most effective letter of resignation demands you know what to say, and what to avoid saying. And in the interests of being fully prepared, you’ll also want to have a good idea what you can expect in the days after your letter has been submitted.

What to Write in a Resignation Letter

A letter of resignation should be simple. Its only real requirements are a formal statement of your intention to quit, an end date for your service, and your signature. But examples of good resignation letters always exceed the bare minimum.

Give Thanks

Resigning professionally is about ensuring a smooth transition in spite of the emotionally charged situation. In the interests of keeping things positive, it can help to include a paragraph giving thanks to your employer. Even if you dreaded every moment of your time working at your old job, stay positive by mentioning a couple things you learned or enjoyed on the job.

Timely Notice

Most employee contracts ask for a standard two-week period of notice. But you’ll want to take a look at your company’s policies to be sure what period of time is expected. From the perspective of an employer, two weeks can be the bare minimum amount of time necessary to interview and train your replacement. As much as your employer may not want to see you go, providing as much head-up as possible is something they’ll almost certainly appreciate.

Helping With a Transition

Additionally, you may want to express a willingness to help make the transition as easy as possible. Depending on your circumstances, that might mean offering to help train your replacement, ensuring your current projects are wrapped up, and assuring your boss that you’re developing a transition strategy for ongoing projects.

What Not to Include in Your Resignation Letter

At the end of the day, resignation letters don’t disappear into a bottomless void, and they’re not often carelessly discarded. Employers tend to keep resignation letters in personnel files, partially for their own records, and partly because the letter is evidence you’re voluntarily quitting. If you end up wanting to return to that company later, you may find your resignation letter is a lasting reflection of yourself in the eyes of the company.

Long after you’ve let go of personal grudges, any harsh worse you may have used in your resignation letter can continue to haunt you. If you can stay positive, it’s fine to describe your reasons for quitting. But doing so is not necessary, especially if you already intend to speak to your boss on the subject. If you can’t stay positive, you’re transferring to work for a competitor, or you’re otherwise at risk of inflaming feelings, then it’s better to stay quiet.

What Happens After Handing in Your Resignation Letter

Managers don’t like losing their people. Don’t be surprised if your current employer makes a counter offer to get you to consider staying. If the reason you’re leaving involves factors your boss may be able to change, then you’ll want to think about the kind things that would convince you to stay. In most cases, this includes things like your salary, benefits, or job responsibilities. Being prepared for that question will ensure you don’t get caught off guard, allowing you to focus on making the right decision for your career.

After you’ve handed in your letter, you may be asked to take part in an exit interview.  These interviews are for the benefit of the company. Like with your resignation letter, it may be tempting to call out coworkers who wronged you, or make aggressive statements about the organization as a whole. But doing so can be just as much of a mistake as writing those comments in your letter of resignation.

After you’ve handed in your letter, it’s typically okay to inform other employees about your plan to leave. But like your resignation letter, unless you can stay positive, resist the urge to discuss your reasons for leaving. Some people may react negatively to the news, which can make it hard to avoid a heated exchange. And for a couple more tips about keeping your job hunt on the right path, be sure to check our MyPath’s ​Career Planning Resources​.

Resignation Letter Sample

Dear John Managerson,

Please accept my formal resignation from my role as Medical Librarian. My last day with The Cancer Institute will be December 11th, 2018.

During these finals weeks, I would be glad to assist with any training tasks my replacement may need. Additionally, I intend to leave detailed instructions and records about my ongoing projects.

Thank you for the opportunity to work here, it’s been an invaluable experience to learn how to research the medical index. I hope we have the chance to work together in the future,


Sarah Jones

November 10th, 2018

Calling it Quits

Professionally, farewells can be as important as first impressions. You want to finish your job on a positive note, and a positive and direct letter of resignation is the first step to doing that.