Resignation letters are an important part of transitioning from one job to another. But, due to their purpose — leaving a job — resignation letters aren’t fun to write and may even be stressful. Below you’ll find an outline for an effective resignation letter, example letters for multiple resignation scenarios, and some general advice to make writing a resignation letter easier.
The Purpose of Resignation Letters
A resignation letter, as the name implies, is used to formally resign from a job. While it’s possible to quit a job without one, a resignation letter is considered the proper way to document departure. It’s a way to announce future plans, provide details about leaving a position, and communicate any key information on the record. These letters are generally included in an individual’s human resources file and used to guide the exit process. In most cases, resignation letters are provided to both a direct manager and the human resources team.
Outline of an Effective Resignation Letter
Include these six components on your job resignation letter, usually in the following order:
1. Standard header with your name, contact info, and the date
[City, State Zip Code] | [Date]
2. Professional salutation
Dear [Hiring Manager Name],
3. Straightforward sentence stating your decision to resign
For many people, this is the trickiest part of their resignation letter. Try not to overthink it. State your decision in clear, forthright terms. If you’ve already given your notice in person, your resignation letter serves as a formality to help initiate and guide the exit process. In both scenarios, the following example is sufficient:
Please accept this letter as formal notice of my resignation from the Finance Manager role at TSZ Corp.
4. Definite end date
If you’re unsure when that date should be, choose one at least two weeks away with the understanding that you and your manager may negotiate or change the exact day later on.
5. Any plans or ideas you have for supporting the transition
Show your professionalism by indicating you plan to apply yourself right down to your last day on the job. You can offer to help interview potential successors, organize your institutional knowledge, or create training documents for other staff members. If you’re willing to work after your end date in any contractor capacity, feel free to mention this in your resignation letter as well.
6. Expressions of goodwill and thanks
Whether you’re resigning on good terms, bad terms, or somewhere in between, you should keep your letter honest yet upbeat and professional. The more negative your experience at a company, the shorter your letter should be. Here are three scenarios and the appropriate phrase you can use in your letter:
I greatly enjoyed my time at TSZ and will genuinely miss my colleagues. It’s been a pleasure working for you, and I hope we can stay in touch. Thank you very much for all your guidance and support.
This scenario is the easiest to write. If you’ve had a great time working for your manager and company, tell them so and thank them for the opportunity.
Maybe you liked the company in general but didn’t like your role or found it wasn’t a good fit for you. Or perhaps you found the company was disorganized or mismanaged somehow, but you don’t attribute that to any bad faith on the leadership’s part. If so, you can still thank them for the opportunity and express your best wishes going forward.
I appreciate being given the opportunity to work for TSZ. Best wishes to you and the entire finance team for a successful future.
Even if your time at the company has been unpleasant, you’ve likely learned something from it. In these cases, you can focus on what you’ve learned and how you plan on applying that knowledge in the future.
I have learned a great deal during my time here, and I look forward to applying that knowledge in my next career stage.
7. Complimentary closing followed by your name and signature
Optional Resignation Letter Components
Your recipient’s name, title, and contact details
You may not need to include this information if your recipient is someone you’ve worked with closely and know well. But keep in mind a resignation letter is one of the more formal career documents. When in doubt, include your recipient’s information so you can be confident your letter has the correct formality and professionalism.
Details on your new job or employer
Adding some brief details on your new opportunity can help you maintain goodwill with your current manager and company. It’s a signal that you’re moving toward a great opportunity elsewhere, not necessarily away from a bad situation where you are.
References to your employment contract
While most workplaces in the US are at-will, in some cases, you may be bound by a contract outlining rules for your resignation. If this applies to you, consider citing those rules and clauses, so your manager and human resources team know you’re on the same page.
Personal reasons for leaving
You may have chosen to resign due to new factors or priorities in your personal life, such as travel or starting a family. If you’re comfortable sharing that information, feel free to do so in your resignation letter. Similar to details on a new job, this helps set a more positive or neutral tone for your choice to leave the company.
Additional Advice for Writing a Resignation Letter
If you want to write a great resignation letter, keep these tips in mind:
- Be succinct. In the first few words, the reader should know that you are resigning. Keep your letter short and to the point.
- Keep details firm. If you aren’t sure when your last day should be, choose one at least two weeks away and include it in the letter. This should be the earliest day at which you will depart. Future circumstances may be negotiated, but in general, what is included in your resignation letter should be as close to reality as possible.
- Do not overshare. You may have some thoughts to share with your current employer, but anything overly personal should be handled in a face-to-face manner, like in an exit interview.
- Stay largely positive. In some cases, quitting a job can be a contentious choice. In toxic workplaces, for example, employees may have strong feelings associated with leaving. However, your resignation letter is not the time to air grievances. Instead, stay professional and polite.
- Be sincere. While certainly not a requirement for those leaving on bad terms, those leaving on good terms should share genuine thanks or kind words when appropriate. This can result in a more professional presentation and an easier transition.
Job Resignation Letter Examples
123 W Adams Ave, Detroit, MI 12345 | (123) 456-7890 | [email protected]
December 9, 2022
Director | TSZ Corporation
123 W 15th Street
Detroit, MI 12345
I am writing to tell you I’ve decided to resign from my position as a Finance Manager with TSZ Corp. My last day will be December 23rd, two weeks from the date of this letter. I recently accepted a new position as Director of Finance at AHW Inc.
Over the next two weeks, I will be available in whatever way necessary to streamline the transition process. I am happy to train existing team members, formally document my duties, or carry out any other tasks you have for me in closing out my time with the company.
I greatly enjoyed working at TSZ and will genuinely miss my colleagues. I have learned a great deal during my time here, and I plan to apply that knowledge in the next phase of my career. Best wishes to you and the entire TSZ finance team.
123 Bedford Avenue, New York, NY 12345 | (123) 456-7890 | [email protected]
December 9, 2022
I am writing to notify you of my resignation from the role of Finance Manager at TSZ Corp. I have accepted a position at AHW Inc. as their new Director of Finance, a role outside the scope of my non-compete clause.
Per my contract, my last day will be one month from the date of this letter (January 9th). Before then, I will return all company equipment and surrender my account passwords. I will also transition my existing accounts to Sarah Johnson, as she is most familiar with those client relationships.
Over the next month, I will be available to help streamline the transition process. Please let me know if you need me to take any additional measures before my departure.
I hope we can remain in touch going forward. Best wishes to you and the entire TSZ finance team for a successful future.
123 Bridge Street, Boston, MA 12345 | (123) 456-7890 | [email protected]
December 9, 2022
Manager | TSZ Corporation
123 Convoy Street
Boston, MA 12345
Please accept this letter as formal notice of my resignation from the Finance Manager role at TSZ Corp. My last day in this role will be December 23rd, two weeks from today.
Working at TSZ has been a pleasure, and I will miss all my colleagues. With the birth of my second daughter, I have decided to take a long-term leave of absence from the workforce.
Over the next two weeks, I will be available in whatever way necessary to assist the transition process. I would be happy to train existing team members, formally document my duties, or carry out any other tasks you need me to address as part of this change. Should two weeks not suffice to move my responsibilities to other team members or new hires, I am available to work on a contract basis for the first four weeks following my departure.
Best wishes to you and the entire TSZ leadership team.
The Bottom Line
Your resignation letter is not the place to air grievances or give elaborate explanations. Keep it concise and polite, and save any criticisms for your exit interview with HR. Through a clear, professional resignation letter, you can set the stage for a smooth transition out of your current job and into your next one.