Resignation Letter Guide

Resignation Letter Guide

An important milestone in your career is approaching: it's time to resign, but how best to go about it? Whether you’re leaving on good terms or not, it's good protocol to write a resignation letter.

While the main purpose of the resignation letter is to inform your employer that you're leaving the company, you can also use it as a chance to build relationships and help you and your employer part ways amicably.

Here is everything you need to know about writing a concise and professional resignation letter.

What Is a Resignation letter?

A resignation is the act of leaving your job. A resignation letter is an official document that is required after you’ve indicated your decision to leave verbally.

Why is a letter needed?

Resignation letters are an ethical and professional way to leave an organisation. A resignation letter gives notice to your manager that you're leaving the role and a replacement will need to be hired. The content will state that you are planning to depart and how soon you will leave. Good resignation etiquette enables you to leave your position on the best terms possible.

Before resigning in writing

Unless you must leave under emergency circumstances, you should give sufficient notice. In most cases, you will need to work for the duration of your notice period; this should be outlined in your employment contract.

Before you compose your letter, review your company's policy on notice periods. They may stipulate a calendar month or a 30-day notice requirement, or you may be on a three month notice period. You should give your manager enough time to find a replacement, so it is good etiquette to give your job the amount of notice or more than they require.

Resignation etiquette tips

Often it’s not easy to leave a job; you will have built up relationships with colleagues and be familiar with your role.

  1. Talk to your manager first.
  2. Use standard business letter format.
  3. Keep it short and in formal language
  4. Be straightforward and polite.
  5. Avoid being critical of the company
  6. Include your contact information.
  7. Ensure your dates are correct.
  8. Proofread your letter.

What to include in a resignation letter

You should notify your manager in-person before sending your letter of resignation. A resignation letter should be broken down into easy-to-read paragraphs.

It can be difficult to know what information you should include. Your letter should contain:

  • A short statement that expresses your intention to resign
    It is important to state at the start of your letter that you are officially resigning from your role. State the position you're resigning from and the last date of your employment with the company.
  • A short explanation of why you are resigning
    This is optional, however it is best practice to make it known to your employer why you are leaving. You can provide reasons such as a new job opportunity, that you are relocating, studying or going travelling.
  • Express appreciation for what you've learned
    Regardless of how long you have been at a company and your reasons for resigning, it is still common courtesy to thank them for the opportunity. Expressing gratitude shows your appreciation for the skills you have learned and the opportunity you were given.
  • Next steps and other critical information
    If you have questions about your final pay or benefits, you can inquire in your letter. You may want to offer to help in the transition, particularly if you had a good relationship with your manager and company.

Don’t forget to also include:

  • The date of your resignation
  • Your personal contact information
  • A contact name - usually your line manager, or HR team member
  • Your signature

Language and Tone

You should always be polite, professional and remain diplomatic. Keep your tone neutral but optimistic and professional. This document is a reflection of your time at the company - either positive or negative - so use tactful and positive language. If it is known that you were unhappy in your role and you use overly positive language about the company and how great it was, it can be seen as sarcastic or offensive.

What shouldn’t I include?

Avoid negative comments and criticism of the company. You won't get along with every manager or colleague, and even if you are leaving because of them, it is important to remain professional. You may be invited to an exit interview, and it is here that you can voice any concerns and give constructive feedback.

After resigning

To remain professional, you should do as much as you can to help the company once you are transitioning out of your role. Mention key details surrounding your handover and where to look for important documents, team passwords and logins. Your manager and successor will be grateful for your final pieces of information.

Examples of resignation letters

A resignation letter can be one of the most challenging professional documents you’ll have to compose, so here are some samples to help you write your letter.

Sample 1:

Final thoughts

While resigning is not always the easiest thing to do, in the pursuit of career development, it is sometimes needed. Following these tips and sample letters will make resigning easier, and enable you to focus on your next career opportunity.