Quitting your job can be a really difficult process. It’s not always easy letting your manager know you’re moving on, but it’s an inevitable part of our career paths.
If you’re like the many Americans quitting their current jobs and finding new jobs, writing a letter of resignation is an inevitable part of the process.
So how do you write a letter of resignation? What should be in the letter of resignation? How do you sound genuine while still being truthful?
We have some handy tips for writing a letter of resignation. And we also include a nifty (and free) template you can use.
P.S. If you’re this close to sending a letter of resignation but don’t have your next gig lined up, check out our purpose-driven startup and tech community. Explore open jobs, find top companies, and get a job that makes you excited for Mondays.
Best Tips For How to Write a Letter of Resignation
While you don’t always have to write a formal letter of resignation (more pro-tips on quitting your job here), if you do choose to write one, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Use a formal business format
The most common format is block format. Everything is left-aligned, and includes the following sections:
Your Contact Info
Inside Address (the company’s)
State your resignation formally
Share your last day
Commit to ensuring a smooth transition
Share well wishes
Identify your last day
The main purpose of a letter of resignation is to (1) state that you’re leaving and (2) share your last day. This is the most important information so don’t leave it out. Clearly call it out by saying something like “My final day will be Friday, January 7th.” It’s that simple but very critical.
Be factual + formal
Resigning, while it often brings relief afterwards, can be uncomfortable and anxiety-inducing while you’re in the middle of it. While I will always try to express some sort of gratitude in my letters of resignation, the rest of the letter should use a formal tone and keep your emotions removed. State the facts. You’re resigning. This is my last day. You get the idea. You can see this in action in our template below.
No negative emotions
We leave jobs for a variety of reasons. There’s a chance your reason may leave you feeling resentment toward your employer. For me, I was feeling hurt and lost. I had poured my heart and soul into the organization, and I didn’t understand how we could have gotten to the point we had. I was upset with how things were coming to a close.
If your departure is the result of a culmination of negative emotions, it’s valuable to share these, but not in the letter of resignation.
These emotions and the challenges you’ve faced that have brought you to this point should be shared as they happen (i.e. months before you actually resign). Letting them fester is not going to help anyone.
However, if you get to the point where resigning is what you must do to take care of yourself (whether you’ve had the hard discussions leading up to your decision or not), your organization hopefully has an exit interview in place to discuss exactly this: why you’re leaving. If they don’t, consider asking for one. Sharing your feedback in a constructive method can help give the organization information they may need to improve, and you’ll likely feel better about your departure.
But again, keep negativity and resentment out of your formal letter of resignation. It won’t reflect well on you if you include it. And you may very well burn a bridge that could be useful to you down the road.
Two Weeks Notice Letter of Resignation Template
I’ve prepared a template for you to use should it be time to resign. You can access and download it here.
I recommend printing this out and taking it to an in-person conversation where you tell your manager that you are resigning and share the physical letter. If you’re working remote, have the letter ready to email or Slack over once you’ve shared the news.
If you’re resigning, this has likely been a hard decision to come to. You may feel guilty for leaving. You may be disappointed with how things turned out. You may be dreading what comes next — finding a new job (if you haven’t found one already), or starting something new.
But remember, if that wasn’t the right fit for you, the best thing you can do for both yourself and your employer is move on. Staying would have only hindered your happiness and the growth of the organization. Go find somewhere where your work will bring you joy.