You’ve been having this dilemma for quite a while now. To quit or not to quit…
Lots of overthinking later, you finally get to the conclusion: quitting it is.
You do a little happy dance, get excited about your new opportunities, until you remember that there’s one last thing to do… let your boss know.
Now that’s a struggle of its own.
What if they get mad at you? Will they feel betrayed or will they be understanding? Is this going to ruin your chances of getting a good reference letter?
That all depends on how you give your two weeks’ notice and resignation letter.
The key is to be tactical and professional and we’re about to teach you just how to do that!
- What’s a Two Weeks’ Notice (And Why It Matters)
- How to Resign From Your Job in 4 Simple Steps
- 3 Practical Resignation Letter Samples
So, let’s get started!
What’s a Two Weeks’ Notice and Why Does It Matter?
Notifying your boss that you will be leaving your job and actually leaving are not quite the same thing.
There’s a window of time between these two events - usually two weeks - that allows you and the company to sort things out.
That’s called a two weeks’ notice
Giving such a notice is standard procedure in most companies and you can probably find details about it in your employment contract.
Why is it such a big deal? Well, there’s plenty of reasons, the most important ones being:
- Wrapping up work. A two weeks’ notice gives you enough time to finish any last work obligations and tasks or instruct other employees on how to complete them.
- Finding a replacement. The notice gives the company a two-week head start to begin their search for a replacement. Someone needs to fill your position after all and the faster that happens, the better.
- Being professional. Even though you legally have to give a two weeks’ notice, you should think of it more as a civil gesture rather than an obligation. Simply saying “I quit” is not only unprofessional, but it also makes it seem like this work experience had no value to you and you just don't care.
- Not burning bridges. Whenever you’re quitting a job, your employers have to do a ton of work - they have to make sure your work is distributed amongst other employees, and at the same time, start a search for your replacement. If you just up and quit without a notice, you’re going to give your co-workers a very hard time. So, if you don’t want to burn bridges with them, it’s essential to give that notice.
- Getting a good reference. Even if, let’s say, your boss was horrible to you and you don’t really care about keeping your options open with them, you should still be professional about your resignation. Quitting without a notice will certainly not get you a good reference and that won’t (potentially) look good in the eyes of future employers.
How to Resign From Your Job [Step-by-Step]
Now that we’ve settled the importance of a two weeks’ notice, it’s time to get to the real deal: How to give a two weeks’ notice.
Here’s what steps you can follow to make that resignation talk as easy and professional as possible.
#1. Who to Notify
When breaking the news about your resignation, it is VERY important that two people are the first to know: your direct supervisor and the HR rep.
Your direct supervisor is going to have to figure out how to distribute your work amongst the other employees and find a replacement.
The HR rep, on the other hand, is going to have to deal with all the relevant paperwork.
So, as soon as you’ve made up your mind, schedule a meeting and let them be the first to know.
#2. When to Notify
Technically, you can give a two weeks’ notice whenever you decide to.
However, if there’s some big project going on at work or you’ve been assigned an important task, it would be best to wrap that up first before leaving.
That way it won’t look like you’re jumping ship and leaving your responsibilities for someone else to deal with.
#3. How to Notify
This is a discussion that is best held in person, rather than by email or through a letter.
Unless it’s impossible to have a face-to-face meeting, notifying your employer through a letter is a very impersonal way of having this talk.
You also won’t be able to have a proper conversation about the reasons for your departure or even express your appreciation for your time of employment with this company.
If you decide to schedule a meeting, you should also prepare a written resignation letter to give to your employer.
#4. What to Say
Now, you’ve scheduled the meeting, you’ve gotten through the door and you’re finally standing in front of your boss.
Time to break the news.
Here are our top 6 tips on how to do that...
Tip #1 - Get Straight to the Point
There’s no point in sugar-coating or having a long, detailed speech. It won’t do you or the employer any good.
Instead be brief, honest, and respectful.
“Hi Mr. Doe. Thank you for meeting with me, I really appreciate it.
I wanted to talk to you about something. I’m so happy to be working for your company. It’s an amazing opportunity. I remember the day I was offered this position. I was so nervous when I got the phone call, thinking it might be to let me know I didn’t get the job. But here I am. Working with the most amazing staff and…
...but despite all that, I’ve decided to resign from my position. Trust me, I love this company. And my coworkers. And the managers. And you’re an amazing boss. It’s just that I think resigning is what’s best for me right now. I hope you understand.”
“Hi Mr. Doe. Thank you for meeting with me. I know your schedule is very tight so I will try to not take much of your time.
I wanted to let you know in person that I have decided to resign from my position as assistant manager. I will gladly stay for the upcoming two weeks to make the transition as smooth as possible and maybe train the person who will be substituting me.
I’m very grateful I had the opportunity to work for your company. It’s been an amazing experience and I hope to stay in touch with as many people as possible.
I hope you understand my decision.”
Tip #2 - Explain Why and When You’re Leaving
Even if you decide to not mention this kind of information at the beginning of your talk, it’s very probable that your employer will ask you about it.
So, be ready to give an exact date of your departure as well as a reason as to why you made this decision.
If you don’t want to get into details, you can stick with a plain “I’m pursuing a new opportunity”.
“Thank you for meeting with me Ms. Doe.
I’m here to let you know that I decided to leave the company. I sincerely can’t take the way things work around here anymore. The manager’s always breathing down my neck, and the coworkers? … Anything but friendly.
So… yeah, I quit.”
Aaand cut scene. Pretty dramatic, right?
“Thank you for meeting with me Ms. Doe.
I wanted to give you my two weeks’ notice along with my resignation letter. I’ve really appreciated how this work experience has helped me develop my marketing skills, but unfortunately, I have decided to pursue another job opportunity that fits my career goals better.
My last day of work will be February 23rd, two weeks from now. If there’s anything you need of me until then, please let me know.”
Tip #3 - Have a Positive Attitude
This isn’t the time to be bitter and aggressive. Try focusing on your good times at the company, what you learned, and how your career benefited from this experience. Steer away from topics like coworker drama and lunch break quarrels.
Tip #4 - Show Appreciation and Gratuity
It can be appreciation towards the job opportunity, the mentorship, the skills and experience acquired, the network you created, or the method of management.
Whatever it is about, make sure to throw in at least one “thank you” in your notice.
Tip #5 - Offer Your Help
Even though you’re legally bound to stay for two weeks after giving your notice, you can offer to help with the transition and volunteer to train your replacement or take up any last tasks.
Tip #6 - Be Prepared for a Counter-Offer
If you’re a long-term and valued employee of the company, don’t be surprised if you receive an offer from your employer. They’re not gonna let you go that easily.
Accepting or declining the offer depends on you and your initial reasons for resigning.
If the employer’s offer is tempting, let them know you will think about it and get back to them with an answer. That way, you can weigh your options again and reevaluate your decision.
If you’ve made up your mind on leaving, thank them and professionally decline the job offer.
How to Write a Resignation Letter
Once you’ve given the two weeks’ notice, it’s time to hand in your resignation letter.
A resignation letter is a formal document that solidifies your decision to leave and makes your decision even more official.
It’s also going to mark the exact date of your notice, in case of any legal matters in the future.
Now, as far as how to write a resignation letter, here’s what structure you should follow:
Like with any official formal letter, you should state your personal details (name, surname, position in company), the date, and the recipient’s information (name, surname, position in company).
Software engineer, W Company
CTO, W Company”
After greeting the recipient, you should state the purpose of the letter and announce your resignation. This is also where you specify your last day of work, by mentioning the date. The reason/s for your resignation are optional.
This letter serves to announce my resignation from the position of software engineer at W Company. It also marks the beginning of my two weeks’ notice, ending on the 25th of April”
In the second paragraph, you should briefly express your gratitude about the work experience and thank the employer for the opportunity. The more personal this feels, the better.
“Working for this company and working under your management has been one of the best experiences in my career. I’m very grateful for the opportunity.”
Offer your assistance and help with the transition and close with your greeting and signature.
“If there is anything I can do to assist with the transition, please let me know. I’d be glad to help you look for someone to fill the position.
If you want a more detailed guide on how to write a resignation letter, check out this article!
3 Resignation Letter Samples
If you put the above structure together, your letter of resignation should look something like the examples below:
#1. Resignation Letter Sample for an Entry-Level Job
#2. Resignation Letter Sample for a Mid-Level Professional
#3. Resignation Letter Sample for a Manager
Whether you decided to pursue your dream job or was offered a better work opportunity, you can’t avoid the breakup talk (a.k.a. the two weeks’ notice and resignation letter to your current employer).
When it comes to that, keep in mind:
- Who/where/how you notify. Schedule a meeting and make sure your boss and HR rep are the first people to know. It’s best if you don’t have any large assignments that you’re abandoning.
- Your attitude. Instead of being bitter and negative, focus on the good experiences you had during your current employment. Be brief and honest and express your gratitude to the employer.
- Structure your letter of resignation so that it: states your resignation, specifies your last date of work, expresses gratitude, and offers help during the transition.