You are ready to leave your old job and dive into new opportunities in your career.
And you might have heard that a resignation letter is important in these moments.
But what raises quite a few questions – what is a resignation letter, why is it important, and how to write one when you need it?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
And once we have the answers to all these questions, we are going to leave you off with a template for a resignation letter, as well as a great example of one.
So, if you are ready to learn how to use a resignation letter to leave your old job, let’s dive in.
What is a resignation letter?
A resignation letter is a formal document that notifies your current employer about your decision to leave your job.
It formalizes your departure and can be submitted either by email, or as a printed letter.
Your resignation letter serves as a written notice for your departure from the company, and provides any details about it, including date of resignation and the end date of your employment.
Should you write a resignation letter?
Writing a resignation letter is the professional thing to do when leaving a job, as it officially gives notice to your superiors that you are leaving your job, and a replacement should be found to take on your responsibilities.
And even though most employers don't require a resignation letter with their contacts, it is still a good idea to write one for 4 simple reasons:
- It creates a paper trail – even if a resignation letter is not required, you would want to leave a paper trail for your departure, which will also help with the paperwork around your final paycheck and transition of your responsibilities
- It is the professional thing to do – depending on where you work, it might be expected of you to provide a resignation letter, even if it is not a legal requirement. Just to be sure, you can ask around and contact someone who has left the company recently and see whether they submitted a resignation letter
- It might help manage the conversation – telling your manager about your departure might feel awkward, and a great way to make things a little smoother is by emailing your resignation letter before your meeting, so that your manager would know what the meeting is about and would have a few minutes to process the information
- Helps you control the message about your departure – writing a letter of resignation can help you be clear about when you are leaving and why. If you are worried that your manager might still spin your leaving in a way that suits them, you can also send the letter out to HR or the upper management
What to include in a resignation letter?
When you write your resignation letter, you need to make sure it sounds professional. It needs all the important information about your departure, but lengthy explanations are unnecessary.
Here is what your resignation letter should include:
- Your intent to resign – your letter should start and be clear about your decision to resign
- Your last day of employment – it is essential to provide information about the last day you plan to work at the company
- An offer to assist with the transition – often employees often to help by recruiting or training a replacement for their position, which leaves the feeling of closure and a sense of respect in both the employer and the employee
- Any question you may have – don’t be afraid to ask any question about your final pay or benefits in your resignation letter
- Your contact information – include your personal contact information so that the company can easily get in touch with you
- Signature (optional) – this one is only applicable if you are using a hard copy of your resignation letter
- Thank the employer (optional) – if you want to make sure you leave things off on a positive note, you can always thank the employer for all the opportunities and experiences gained at the company, and how you enjoyed your time there
How to write a resignation letter?
Now you know what your resignation letter should include, so let’s take a look at the overall structure it should follow:
- Contact information – A written letter should include your employer’s and your contact information, and the data of the letter, all before the start of the actual letter. If you have chosen to write it as an email, you can only leave your contact information, but move it under your signature and name at the bottom, and move the date to the subject line
- Greeting – Address the resignation letter to your manager – Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms. [Name]
- Paragraph 1 – Notify your manager about your resignation from your job and state your last day of employment. This gives the employer an official notice for your personal file
- Paragraph 2 (optional) – You can mention the reason for your departure, but it is not required. If you decide to write one, make sure it is positive one, like starting a new job, or going back to school
- Paragraph 3 (optional) – If you are able to, offer to assist with the transition by recruiting or training a replacement for your position
- Paragraph 4 (optional) – Mention your gratitude and appreciation for the opportunity of working in the company. You can go in more detail, if you would like, with something that you found especially rewarding
- Closing – Use a professional sign-off, such as “Sincerely” or “Regards”
- Signature – If you are using a hard copy for your resignation letter, you can take the chance to include your handwritten signature, followed by your names. However, if you are sending out an email, just your names would do fine, but don’t forget to follow them with your contact information
How to format a resignation letter?
Resignation letters should be simple, short and should look professional. To do so, stick to the basics:
- Make your resignation at most 1 page long
- Use a traditional font like Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri
- Keep your font size between 10 and 12pt
- Make your letter single-spaced with a space between each paragraph
- Use one-inch margins
- Align text to the left
Resignation letter template
Resignation letter example
We are all done, now you know how to write a professional resignation letter. Remember to pay special attention to the important things like intent to resign, last day of employment, and an offer to assist with the transition.
Now go get your resignation letter ready, and move on to your next job opportunity.