How to Write a Letter of Resignation – 2019 Extensive Guide

September 20
10 min read

Quitting a job is never easy.

It’s almost like breaking up with someone - there are plenty of good memories, you learned a lot, but ultimately, it’s time to move on when it’s time to move on. 

Breakups can be messy. They involve a lot of crying and “it’s not you, it’s me”’s.

However, when it’s time for you to quit a job, there is no added emotional hassle (thank god).

Instead, you must write a letter of resignation. And it must be classy and professional, too.

Yes, even if your boss was Satan. Or worse, Michael Scott.

Among other things, you want to make sure you stay friends with your employers after you quit to get those valuable future references.

In this article, we’ll show you: 

1) Why writing a letter of resignation is so important

4) How to structure a formal letter of resignation [with an example]

3) Ready, fill-in-the-blank free samples for:

  • Letter of resignation to your supervisor
  • Letter of resignation to the board
  • Immediate/short notice letter of resignation
  • Emailing your letter of resignation

4) How to submit the resignation letter

Why Writing a Letter of Resignation Matters

A resignation letter is a legal document where you announce your intent to leave your current position within a company. It gives your employer formal proof that you want to resign and a traceable record that the conversation happened. 

I’m sure you’ve seen many movies where the protagonist barges in the office of his supervisor and yells: “That’s it, I quit!” Then, everybody claps, as the protagonist takes his wife and kids to live in some sort of ranch or camping in Hawaii or something. 

While that’s going on, all I can think about is: “He’s in so much legal trouble!”

Although that looks pretty cool, in real life, quitting is much less glamorous and I advise you to virtually do the opposite of the cool movie guy. 

You should give at least a two-weeks notice period (for some employers, this can be way longer) when you leave a job and make sure you end things on a good note

Let me tell you why:

When you leave a company, you are entitled to certain employment-related benefits, like severance pay, pension benefits, or overtime pay. You can only get them, however, if you hand in your resignation prior to your departure and within the contracted notice period. 

Check your company policy in the employee handbook or your employment contract for the exact benefits and the exact time-frame, because they may vary.

Also, you want to be helpful with the transition of responsibilities and daily duties, so that no information is lost or misinterpreted after you leave. At the end of the day, someone else will take your position: this could be an internal employee or they could hire someone else. 

Whichever the case, your team members need to know your exact duties and responsibilities, so almost no knowledge is lost in the process. The next guy/gal shouldn’t have a hard time figuring out what they’re supposed to do.

Essentially, those two weeks are when you pass the crown and make life easier for the person that will take your job.On top of that, you want to maintain a positive relationship with this employee so that you can use them as a reference in the future.

This might be the only case when still being friends after the “breakup” is okay.

Now, let’s do a small recap:

  • It’s best to have your resignation letter prepared before you have your cool “I quit” moment. 
  • Print it out the day you decide to communicate your resignation to your boss.
  • Your two-week countdown starts the moment you hand in the resignation letter.

How to Write a Letter of Resignation [+ Example]

A letter of resignation looks like any other official letter. 

The contents of it are pretty straightforward:

You open with your personal information (name, last name, email, etc.), the date, the manager’s personal information, and a formal greeting. If you forget to date your letter of resignation, all legal benefits of this written record can be open to dispute.

There are three main paragraphs in the body of the letter and each one serves a separate purpose:

  • The first one informs the supervisor that you’re resigning. 
  • The second expresses gratitude for the experience.
  • The third and last paragraph offers your cooperation with the passage of duties & responsibilities.

And then you sign off with a formal greeting.

Here’s what to include in each section of your letter of resignation (with examples):

1) Letterhead: 

  • Personal details 
  • Date
  • Manager details

Meagan Brown, Sales Manager at ABC Ventures

08/31/2019

To:

John Green

Senior Sales Manager

ABC Ventures

2) Opening greeting

Dear John, 

3) First paragraph: 

  • Express that you’re resigning from your current position
  • Mention the date again. 

Through this letter, I hereby announce my resignation from the position of Sales Manager for ABC Ventures, effective September 14, 2019.

4) Second paragraph:

  • Say something nice about your experience in the job or the company. The more of a personal touch you can add, the better the impression you’ll leave.
  • Thank your boss and the organization you worked for.

It has been a pleasure working with you and the entire ABC Ventures Sales team for the past five years. In my time here, I have grown professionally and made life-long friends. In particular, I would like to thank you for providing me with a rewarding learning experience and a warm working environment during my time at ABC.

5) Third paragraph:

  • Volunteer to make the transition of responsibilities as smooth and simple as possible
  • Offer your help.

You have my full commitment and cooperation for a smooth transition of responsibilities. Please let me know how I can be of further assistance.

6) Closing salutation, with your typed name and optional signature.

Sincerely,

Meagan Brown

[optional signature]

Here’s how this resignation letter would look like in its entirety:

resignation letter sample

You see how short and to the point this example letter is. Anything more than half a page is too much information.

There’s nothing fancy expected from you in a letter of resignation except to be professional

You don’t have to explain why you’re leaving or justify your decision. 

Follow this simple structure and you’re good to go!

4+ Resignation Letter Samples You Can Use Right Now

If that wasn’t easy enough, we have created four free, easy to use templates for you. 

Simply fill in the blanks and hand your resignation in.

Feel free to skip through them to see which one applies to you.

Letter of Resignation to Your Supervisor

A letter of resignation to your supervisor or manager looks just like the one Meagan wrote to her boss in the previous section.

Simply fill in the black with your information and hit the Print button.

Letter of Resignation to Your Supervisor

[YourName] [YourLastname], [YourPosition], [Company]

[The date you are submitting the letter]

To:

[Supervisor Name] [Supervisor Lastname]

[Supervisor Title]

[Company]

Dear [Supervisor Name or Mr./Mrs. Last Name]*,

Through this letter, I hereby announce my resignation from the position of [Your position] for [Company], effective [Today’s date] 

It has been a pleasure working with you and the entire [company name] [department name] team for the past [timeframe you’ve been at the job]. In my time here, I have grown professionally and [something nice about the job]. In particular, I would like to thank you for [something your boss helped you with] during my time at [company].

You have my full commitment and cooperation for a smooth transition of responsibilities. Please let me know how I can be of further assistance.

Sincerely,

[Your name] [Your last name]

[signature]

*depending on what they preferred to be referred to

Letter of Resignation to the Board

If you have been a member of a board and you answered only to the CEO himself (and other board members), you have to let them know of your departure.

Be professional, open, and give a short, not too in-depth reasoning for your resignation. 

Here’s a good sample you can fill in:

Letter of Resignation to the Board

[YourName] [YourLastname], [YourPosition], [Organization]]

[The date you are submitting the letter]

To:

[Board Director Name] [Board Director Lastname]

Director

[Organization]

Dear [Board Director Name or Mr./Mrs. Last Name],

Through this letter, I hereby announce my resignation from the position of [Your position on the Board] on the [Organization / Board Name], effective [Today’s date] due to [Short reasoning for why you’re leaving the board]*

It has been a pleasure working with you and the entire [company name] board for the past [timeframe you’ve been a part of the board]. I am proud of all we have accomplished, and I am certain more successes will follow in the future.

Please let me know if I can be of assistance during the transitory period.

Sincerely,

[Your Name] [Your last name]

[signature]

*Examples: 

  • A family situation that needs my attention
  • An overwhelming amount of responsibilities that need my attention
  • Health-related reasons

Immediate/Short Notice Letter of Resignation

In this case, maybe you forgot there was a two-weeks notice. Or maybe, you weren’t aware that the contracted period was longer than you thought, or you just received an urgent offer you just can’t refuse.

And to that we say:

Didn’t you read the beginning of this post? It’s important.

But you might have found yourself in the middle of an unavoidable, unpredictable situation that requires you to quit your job within a shorter time frame.

You still need to write a resignation letter, and we have just the sample for you: 

Immediate/Short Notice Letter of Resignation

[YourName] [YourLastname], [YourPosition], [Company]

[The date you are submitting the letter]

To:

[Supervisor Name] [Supervisor Lastname]

[Supervisor Title]

[Company]

Dear [Supervisor Name or Mr./Mrs. Last Name]*,

Through this letter, I hereby announce my resignation from the position of [Your position] for [Company]. My last day of work will be [insert day of departure]. I understand that handing in my resignation to allow for a [contracted period] notice is customary, but due to circumstances not under my control, I have to depart sooner.

It has been a pleasure working with you and the entire [company name] [department name] team for the past [timeframe you’ve been at the jon]. In my time here, I have grown professionally and [something nice about the job]. In particular, I would like to thank you for [something your boss helped you with] during my time at [company].

You have my full commitment and cooperation for a smooth transition of responsibilities within the timeframe.* 

Sincerely,

[Your name] [Your last name]

[signature]

*If the resignation is immediate and you intend to leave that same day, omit this part, or express that you’ll be able to help remotely instead.

Emailing Your Letter of Resignation

You will usually email your letter of resignation right after you’ve told your boss in person, or, in extreme cases, you’re just breaking it to him for the first time.

In both cases, attach the letter of resignation as a document in the email following one of the samples we provided you with.

Here’s how to write the contents of the email you are attaching the letter of resignation to:

If you’ve already verbally communicated your resignation

Email subject: Resignation Letter - Your Name & Last Name 

Email contents:

Dear [Supervisor Name or Mr./Mrs. Last Name]*,

Please find my formal letter of resignation attached to this email.

Let me know how I can be of further help.

Best regards,

[Your Name] [Your last name]

If you’re just letting your supervisor know:

Email subject: Resignation - Your Name & Last Name 

Email contents:

Dear [Supervisor Name or Mr./Mrs. Last Name]*,

Through the contents of this email, I am informing you of my resignation. My last day of work will be [insert day of departure]. I greatly apologize I can’t inform you in person, but it is due to circumstances beyond my control.

Please find my formal letter of resignation attached to this email.

Let me know how I can be of further help.

Best regards,

[Your Name] [Your last name]

How to Submit Your Letter of Resignation

Now that you have your resignation letter ready to go, you’re probably worrying about how your manager is going to take it.

Here’s the thing:

Any good manager will understand that having staff leave is simply part of doing business. 

Yes, you may have a great relationship with your supervisor, and if you go about submitting your resignation in the right way, you can preserve that relationship

If you know your manager is very busy or is having a rough day, hold off on your resignation. You want to make sure the situation is appropriate.

Make sure to be considerate and always do it in person.

Never, ever, send an e-mail or hard-copy letter (or God forbid, a text) without verbally notifying them in person first. 

However, circumstances beyond our control may arise where you’d have to quit remotely. This is not a general best practice, but we’ve provided you with a sample above just in case. 

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

If you really want to go the extra mile with your professionalism: 

Consider providing more time than the minimum notice period required. 

Giving your manager extra time to make arrangements for a replacement shows courtesy and respect, especially if you are in a senior role.

Be professional, thankful, and humble in person as well. After all, not every breakup has to be painful. 

One last thing:

Try to hide your excitement. No smiling cheek to cheek like you’re about to escape hell, even if that’s the case.

Two more weeks! You can do it!

Key Takeaways

Let’s sum up everything we learned in this post:

  • A letter of resignation is a formal legal document that lets your employer know you have decided to leave the job.
  • Give two weeks notice to your boss. If you want to go the extra mile, make it a month or more.
  • Include the contact information of both your supervisor and yourself in the resignation letter. You don’t have to explain the reason you are leaving. Be short (usually not more than half a page) and professional.
  • Express gratitude for the experience and offer to help while they find a replacement for you.
  • Always try to resign in person and at an appropriate time.

Now that we’ve explained all you need to know about writing a resignation letter, it’s time to get started. Want your letter of resignation to look as professional as it can be? Try one of Novorésumé templates.

how to write a resignation letter sample

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