How to Write a Letter of Resignation – 2018 Extensive Guide

April 18
7 min read

How to Write a Resignation Letter - 2018 Extensive Guide + Examples

If you are on the hunt for a new job in 2018, you will rely on a few key documents. Depending on where you are applying, you will need to update your resume or CV, and you will probably have to draft a professional cover letter.

But if you are looking to switch from one job to another, there is one more document you will have to consider: a letter of resignation.

how to write a resignation letter

What is a resignation letter?

  • A resignation letter is written with the intent to announce that you have decided to leave the position that you are currently holding, such as member of an office, employment, commission, organization, board, etc.

What to include in a resignation letter?

  1. Personal details
  2. Date
  3. Manager details
  4. Salutation
  5. Opening line/paragraph
  6. Second paragraph
  7. Final paragraph
  8. Salutation, signature and typed name

It’s important not to overlook the importance of a resignation letter because it can actually help or hinder your chances of getting hired in the future.

This guide will help you understand why the letter of resignation is so significant, and provide you with other useful information and tools, including:

  • Tips on how to write a resignation letter
  • A resignation letter sample
  • Advice on how to submit your resignation

Why Write a Resignation Letter?

The reason for writing a resignation letter:

  • The main reason why you should write a resignation letter is that your employer will probably need it from a legal standpoint. It serves as formal proof of your intention to leave the organization. Simply stating your intention to leave to either a colleague or manager is not enough.

Keep in mind that when you were first hired, you probably signed an employment contract. This agreement outlined what is required of you should you decide to leave the organization, including the amount of notice to be provided. This period varies, but it is most common that employers require at least 2 weeks notice.

The term two weeks notice has become synonymous with resigning from a job. You’ve probably heard a friend or colleague say, “I gave my notice” or “I gave my two weeks.”

This two week period starts the moment you submit your formal letter of resignation. When you’ve decided to quit, it’s best to have this document prepared ahead of time so that you can tell your manager and offer proof in writing at the same time.

Why is a Resignation Letter Important? 

The importance of a resignation letter:

  • In addition to providing legal proof of your intention to move on, as described above, the letter of resignation is important because it can affect your future job prospects.

People quit their jobs for different reasons. Some people may have already secured another opportunity elsewhere, while others may be leaving without another job lined up. Sometimes this can simply be due to frustration. 

However, no matter how fed up you may be with your current role, resist the urge to go out in a blaze of glory. That includes being careful with what you say in your letter of resignation.

Your 2 weeks notice letter or resignation letter needs to be professional. What you say to your manager before you part ways can leave a lasting impression. Remember that you may want to use this person as a reference for future job opportunities or even for conducting business.

Negative or offensive comments in a letter or resignation can hurt you down the road. Don’t let that happen.

Letter of Resignation Writing Tips

Here are some standards do’s and don’ts of how to write a letter of resignation.

How to write a resignation letter - DOs

  1. Be concise – Half a page to a full page should be more than enough to include all relevant information.
  2. Be specific – Provide the name of the position you are resigning from and the date that you want your resignation to come into effect
  3. Be professional – Your words will live forever in this document. Show your former employer that you take professionalism seriously, under any circumstance.

Avoid the following when writing a resignation letter - DON'Ts

  1. Justify your decision – You are under no obligation to explain why you are leaving. And you don’t have to convey the inner turmoil you went through to arrive at your decision.
  2. Forget your notice period – While some roles allow for your resignation to be effective immediately, most require a notice period. Make sure that the date you submit your letter and the resignation effective date provide adequate notice.
  3. Start negotiating – Don’t use your letter as a tool for getting a raise or promotion by proposing a way for the company to keep you.

Resignation Letter Format

Your letter of resignation should include a few key elements. Together, the elements listed below should give you an idea of a simple resignation letter format to follow. 

•  Personal details: List your name and address, so there is no mistaking who is resigning.

•  Date: This should be the day you submit your letter.

•  Manager details: Include the name, job title and organization for the person to whom you will submitting your resignation.

•  Salutation: Start by addressing your direct manager or the person you report to. If you have a close relationship with this person, don’t be afraid to use his/her first name (E.g. Dear Jack) since calling them Mr/Mrs/Miss may seem overly formal and out of character.

•  Opening line/paragraph: This line is meant to convey the purpose of your letter. It is here where you announce your decision to resign. The best approach is to get straight to the point rather than trying to “soften” the news for your manager. After all, you’ve probably already voiced your decision to him/her in person.

The opening line/paragraph should also include the position you are resigning from, the name of your company, and the date whereby your resignation will become effective. Here is an example:

“With this letter, I hereby announce my resignation from the position of Sales Manager for ABC Ventures, effective March 31, 2018.” 

•  Second paragraph: This section offers you the opportunity to explain why you are leaving and to express some gratitude towards your former employer. By no means are these elements necessary, but they can provide a bit of context for your opening paragraph. 

If you are leaving for another job, and you feel comfortable disclosing this, go ahead. And even if your time at your former company was a complete disaster, it’s a good idea to express thanks. It can be as basic as saying “Thank you for the support you have given me in this role.”

•  Final paragraph: To close, you want to reinforce your goodwill in order to reassure your manager that there are no hard feelings. Therefore, offer to support with the transition process, such as helping a replacement get settled into your former role.

•  Salutation, signature and typed name: End with a typical salutation like “Sincerely”, then leave a space for your hand-written signature, followed by your typed name.

Resignation Letter Sample 2018

What do all these elements look like when they are put together? Here is a resignation letter example you can follow. This sample is a simple two weeks notice letter.

How to Resign From a Job – Submitting Your Letter

The truth is that quitting a job is never easy. A lot of thought goes into the decision, and sometimes you worry that your manager will take your decision personally.

In reality, any good manager will understand that having staff leave is simply part of doing business. Yes, you may have a great relationship built, but if you go about submitting your resignation in the right way, you can preserve that relationship. 

Here are a few tips to follow as you get ready to notify your manager.

Resignation tip #1 - Judge the situation

If you know your manager is very busy or is having a rough day, hold off on your resignation. This assumes you can delay a day or two in order to meet your minimum notice period. You want to make sure the situation is appropriate to have a conversation with your manager about your decision (in person – see tip #2).

Resignation tip #2 - Do it in person

You may wonder if a resignation email is acceptable. The short answer is no and that it is better to resign in person and then follow up with an email or hard-copy letter. 

Write a resignation letter ahead of the day you intend to resign, and then arrange to have a conversation with your manager in person. Explain your decision, reassure your boss that you are committed to the role until your departure and then offer to provide your resignation in writing.

Once you’ve had that conversation, either send your letter to you manager by email (with the current date on it) or print a hard copy for him/her.

Resignation tip #3 - Provide more than two weeks notice

If you really want to preserve existing relationships and show professionalism, consider providing more than the minimum notice period required of you. Giving your manager extra time to make arrangements for a replacement shows courtesy. And sometimes your contract may dictate a longer notice period is required, especially if you are in a senior role.

Are you ready to find a new job for 2018? Taking that leap may involve writing a resignation letter, so follow the above guidelines, and the process will be smoother than you think.