How to write a resignation letter | Tips and templates
Thinking of changing careers or taking a break from your current job? Learn how to write the perfect letter of resignation.
Are you looking to make a career change? Writing a resignation letter can be a daunting task, especially when you’re busy with preparation for new ventures. To help make that transition easier for you, we’re going to walk you through how to write a resignation you can be proud of. We’ll outline some useful templates and suggest additional resources to help you craft the perfect resignation letter.
This guide to writing a resignation letter will equip you with skills to leave your current position in a professional manner. Ensuring that you leave a company on the best terms possible is crucial for maintaining industry connections that could benefit you in the future.
Don’t worry if you’re torn between offering a formal or an informal letter of resignation, as we’ll be providing you with a template for both instances.
Table of Contents
When to change your career
They say making a change is as good as a rest, and people at all career stages may find themselves looking for new opportunities for a variety of reasons, both professional and personal.
Even though it may be the best time for you to make the leap, many professionals still feel unsure about how to write a resignation letter and are left wondering what to include. It’s understandable to be uncomfortable with confronting the reality of leaving behind colleagues, a familiar environment, and the security of an established role.
If you are in the process of finding the right career, our best online courses for career change article can help you evaluate your options and upskill in the right direction.
Have you already been investing in yourself, building your CV through further education, or upskilling by taking online qualifications or short courses? If so, now could be just the right time to move into the role you have been aiming for.
Or, perhaps you are interested in achieving a better work/life balance by moving into a more fulfilling position? We understand that personal and professional achievement should not be mutually exclusive.
Develop your understanding of workplace wellbeing with our Wellbeing and Resilience at work course from University of Leeds and Institute of Coding. Or, explore stress and productivity at work in our Workplace Wellbeing course from Manchester Metropolitan University.
Sometimes the grass really is greener. If you find yourself unhappy in your current position, it may be best to tackle a new career venture.
When should you hand in your resignation letter?
There may be instances where you think there’s no need to write a resignation letter when quitting your job. However, even if you’re leaving to pursue education, retirement, or other personal endeavours, it’s still best to not burn any bridges. A professional and courteous resignation is always the best option, leaving you with a clear conscience and maintained connections.
If you’re leaving your job to move onto new employment, you may be tempted to send a letter of resignation as soon as you find a job you’re eager to get. However, you should always wait until you have a formal offer of employment before making any commitments, or you’ll risk being in a position where you have no job if the new role falls through.
To maximise your chances of securing any job positions you apply for, brush up your skills with the University of Sheffield’s How to Succeed at: Writing Applications course and CQ-University Australia’s comprehensive Work Ready Skills course.
Once you’ve received written confirmation of a new job offer, you should hand in your resignation as soon as possible. This allows your current employer to begin the recruitment process for your replacement quickly, leaving less of a strain on other staff to cover your role. Crucially, it also enables you to give your new employer a precise start date so you can start your new role.
What is the purpose of a letter of resignation?
At its core, a resignation letter is an official document that informs your employer that you are leaving the employment of that company. The formal resignation letter may be the first time the employer is aware of your decision, or you may have already told your manager/employer, and the letter is only a formality for Human Resources (HR) purposes.
It’s worth noting that it is commonly considered polite to informally advise your manager of your intention to resign and then follow up with an official letter of resignation.
Whatever the exact reasons or circumstances for your decision to resign, it is considered wise to write a polite and concise resignation letter. This document may be kept on file and considered if your previous employer is approached for a reference or to check the dates of your employment.
If you plan to feature your previous employer on your CV or cover letter in future applications, you will want to ensure they have all the necessary information to provide you with a helpful and accurate reference.
For further information about developing your CV or cover letter skills, why not look into some of the relevant courses available on FutureLearn, such as our essential skills course in Career Development from University of Leeds or the University of Sheffield’s short skills course on how to Succeed at Interviews.
What makes a good resignation letter?
As well as knowing what you should say, it’s also smart to consider what you shouldn’t say in the context of a professional resignation letter. Some things are just best left unsaid. You may be leaving your current employment because there are aspects of the company you don’t like, or there may have been problems within your role.
While this can be frustrating, your letter of resignation is not the appropriate format to air grievances. You must remember that the resignation letter is an official document that will be kept on file.
If you want to discuss any specific issues or matters of disagreement, it is preferable to ask for a face-to-face meeting, where you can calmly discuss any unresolved details or pass on the necessary feedback. Many workplaces often have the opportunity for an ‘exit interview’ for this very reason.
Although your resignation letter is focused on you leaving current employment, it can still be an effective tool that reflects well on you as an individual, leaving a positive record of your time at the company. Therefore, it is wise to make sure you get it right and utilise it as part of your overall career development.
Build additional skills for building your career with Coventry University in our Career Skills for the 2020s course.
Resignation letter templates
As promised, below are a few ideas for what you could include in your resignation letter, along with some useful templates. With our guidance, you should have no problems when it comes to writing your own.
If you have only worked at the company for a short period, or if your position is a junior or part-time position, you may not feel it is necessary to write a long or in-depth formal resignation letter. If you are in a junior position and you’re looking to move to a position with more responsibility, take a look at this ‘next steps’ guide called — The ‘how’ of landing your dream job.
If you are satisfied that only an informal or straightforward resignation letter is required, then use the following simple format either by email or hardcopy:
- Name and date
- Notice of your intention to resign
- Date you will be leaving
- Brief expression of gratitude for the opportunity of working at the company
- Your signature
Example simple resignation letter
32 Bachelor Gardens
July 2, 2022
Dear Mr Jones,
Please accept this letter as notification that I am leaving my position with X Company on August 2nd. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the opportunity to have worked at X Company.
Formal and professional
For roles that operate in a more professional capacity, you may need to offer your formal resignation letter in a way that conveys the seniority of your position and your intention to leave the company professionally and graciously.
The following points outline the essential elements of a professional resignation letter:
- Use formal letterhead or your business email address
- Name and date
- State who the letter addresses — you may need to notify more than one person/department
- Notice of your clear intention to resign
- Date you will be leaving — recognising any contractual obligations
- Next steps — including transition, security policies, and any outstanding projects
- Expression of gratitude for your time at the company and any career development opportunities
- Your signature
Example professional resignation letter
32 Bachelor Gardens
July 2, 2022
Dear Mr Jones,
Please accept this letter as my official intention to resign from my position as XXX with XXX [company]. In accordance with the notice period set out in my contract, my final day will be XXX [date of last day including the name of the weekday].
I would like to thank you for the opportunity to have worked in the position/sector for the past [number of months/years at the company]. I have learned a lot during my time at XXX [company] and have enjoyed working with my team. Although I am excited about my next move, I am sad to be leaving my team, and I’m proud of the work we’ve achieved. I will look back on my time here as a valuable period in my career.
During the transition period, I will do what I can to make the handover of my projects as easy as possible. I’ll support the team however I can to hand over my outstanding work effectively to colleagues or my replacement. Please let me know if there is anything more I can do to assist the process or if you would like to discuss anything further.
Once again, I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for my time at XXX, and I wish you, and the team, all the best.
Crafting your own letter of resignation
Using the templates above, you should craft your own unique resignation letter that takes into account the sector you work in, your position, the person receiving the letter and whether they require any industry-specific information.
Once you have written your formal letter of resignation, you should print off a copy for your own records or email it to your personal account to be able to access it in the future. If you are working a notice period, you should not be treated any differently by your colleagues, though you may find new work and projects are diverted to other team members. It is essential to remain professional at all times as you work through your notice period, and be flexible around these potential changes.
A well-crafted, polite, and professional resignation letter can help you exit your current role in the most positive way. It will also set the tone for a possible mutually supportive role with the company and your previous colleagues in the future — after all, you never know when your paths may cross again.
Resigning from a role that you have outgrown or may not be the right fit for you can be a positive step forward on your chosen career path. If you’re keen to upskill and better prepare yourself for a career change, we have a wide range of short courses designed to help you build career-ready skills.
If you’re still looking for help with finding getting ready to change careers, here are a few courses to help you through the process: