While resigning from a position can be stressful, it can also mean you’ve found another (hopefully better) opportunity to grow and learn. But that doesn’t make informing your current employer any easier. 

While it’s not necessarily a formal requirement to give two weeks’ notice (unless it’s written into your employment contract), it is traditional to do so as an act of professionalism and good faith. We recommend doing so by arranging a face-to-face meeting to inform your boss. 

Once you’ve let your manager know, you need to follow up with a formal, written letter of resignation. Why? It’s not only professional and courteous, it also creates a written plan of the logistics of your exit so there is no confusion or oversight when it’s time to walk out the door. 

Some employers may try to tempt you with a counteroffer by offering a bonus, raise, promotion, and/or other perks to stay. However, most HR executives recommend against accepting a counteroffer. And for similar reasons, we also recommend against companies offering a counteroffer.

A written letter can signify you are past the point of negotiation and ready to move on. It’s important your resignation letter is brief but clear. Below are a few tips to craft the perfect exit note. 

resignation letter

What to include in a resignation letter

No matter the circumstances for your leaving, your resignation letter is an important final piece of your employment. The connections you made through the job may be important at a future time in your career. A well-written resignation letter will not only formalize your resignation but also leave a great last impression. 

A Statement of Resignation 

The main purpose of your resignation letter is to let the company know, in writing, that you’re leaving and when. Including your last day of employment will help set expectations in your final few weeks. 

While there may be plenty of feedback you could offer about your position, your manager, and/or the company, your resignation letter is not the place to do it. Remember the age-old advice about when you have nothing nice to say and keep your note short and to the point. 

Reason for Leaving

You technically do not have to give a reason for your departure, however, it can add an air of professionalism and ease any potential tension caused by your leaving the organization. Simply stating that you are accepting a new role to continue to further your career will suffice. Even if the circumstances of your resignation are not positive, we recommend keeping the tone of the letter positive.

Make a Plan for Your Exit 

As a further show of professionalism, include details about how you plan to transition out of your position. This does not have to be lengthy, as it is your manager’s responsibility to manage the takeover of your projects and responsibilities. However, letting your boss know you are available to help transition your projects will demonstrate that you remain dedicated and will leave a lasting good impression. 

How you leave a job can be just as important as how you leave one, as your last impression could be the one that the organization remembers. It often has a significant impact on one’s professional reputation.

Be Appreciative 

In addition to a short paragraph about the logistics of your leaving, you should include a few lines of gratitude for relationships built or skills you learned. In order to remain succinct, there is no need for a laundry list of thanks. Instead, focus on one or two things of which you are appreciative and state those genuinely. For example, if you learned a new software program, you might mention that as a specific skill you can use in the future. 

A sincere statement of thanks will secure a positive professional relationship with your boss and will be helpful whether you are seeking future recommendations or simply looking to grow your network. 

Brief Closing (including Personal Contact Information)

When you’re ready to sign off, be sure to include personal contact information for both practical and personal purposes. Even if you don’t think you’ll be using your manager as a professional reference at some point, there could be post-employment paperwork for you to complete after your last day. Therefore, it’s important to leave your contact information. 

Thanking your manager for their time and the opportunity is a standard, professional way to close. 

What does an effective resignation letter look like? Here are four samples that can be easily customized to suit your needs. 

basic resignation letter

The Basic Letter

Dear [name of your boss],

I would like to inform you that I am resigning from [state your position] at [company name]. My last day of employment will be [date]. 

While I’ve enjoyed my work at [company name] I’ve accepted another position closer to home [or other reason here].

I will be wrapping up all my outstanding projects before I leave. If there is anything more I can do to help during this transition, please let me know.

Thank you so much for your guidance and the opportunities you’ve given me to grow and learn. I am especially appreciative to have worked on [state specific project] because it allowed me to see how to craft a comprehensive marketing strategy [or another specific benefit]. I’m grateful to have worked with such a talented group of colleagues and mentors. 

I’m excited to take the next step in my career and feel well-prepared thanks to my work here. I look forward to staying in touch.

Sincerely, 

Your name

[Your email address]

The Basic Letter (Alternative)

Dear [name of your boss],

I am writing to formally announce my resignation from my position as [state your position] at [company name], effective [date].

It has been a pleasure working with the entire team over the past [number of] years. I have learned much and appreciate the opportunity I’ve had to grow with the company.

In particular, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to work for this organization and for supporting my professional development. [Company name] is an incredible place to work.

You have my full commitment to ensure a smooth transition over the next couple of weeks. Please let me know how I can be of assistance.

Sincerely, 

Your name

[Your email address]

When You Aren’t Leaving on the Best of Terms

Dear [name of your boss],

Please accept this as my formal resignation from [state your position] at [company name]. My last day of employment will be [date]. 

Working at [company name] has challenged me to grow and learn and I am very appreciative of the opportunities I have been given.

Please let me know how I can help during this transition. 

Thank you for the opportunity and I wish you all the best in the future. 

Sincerely, 

Your name

[Your email address]

When You are Making a Career Change

Dear [name of your boss],

Please accept this as my formal resignation from [state your position] at [company name]. My last day of employment will be [date]. I’ve decided to pursue a career in [education] as I’ve always wanted to work with kids [or another career you plan to pursue]. 

Working at [company name] has challenged me to grow and hone my communication skills which will definitely be useful in a classroom of children.

I am available to contact my clients to ensure all my projects are transferred smoothly – or to transition in whichever method you prefer. Please let me know what else I can do to help during this transition. 

Thank you for the opportunity to work alongside you. I look forward to keeping in touch in the future.

Sincerely, 

Your name

[Your email address]

When You Don’t Want to Give a Reason

Dear [name of your boss],

Please accept this as my formal resignation from [state your position] at [company name]. My last day of employment will be [date]. 

Working with you and the rest of the sales team has helped me improve my business development and communication skills. I’m proud to have contributed to the company’s sales growth throughout my tenure. 

I am available to contact each of my clients and close out any outstanding work to ensure all my projects can be transferred smoothly. I am also more than happy to assist with finding and training my replacement. 

Thank you for the opportunity to work and learn with you. I look forward to keeping in touch in the future

Sincerely, 

Your name

[Your email address]

Optimize your resignation letter

Your resignation letter is an important piece of your employment record. It does not need to be lengthy or overly emotional. It only has to accomplish a couple of things — a) that you are leaving and b) when — so it’s important to be clear and concise.

A few specific details about your time at the company will ensure a genuine and professional tone. Some consideration of how you will prepare yourself, your manager, and colleagues will help ease any tension or ill-will about your resignation.  Additionally, a note of gratitude and appreciation will secure a positive professional reputation. 

Remember to

  • Keep it short
  • Remain clear and professional
  • Be appreciative and gracious
  • Offer a transition plan

Need additional help crafting the perfect resignation letter? Check out our services at ResumeSpice. We can help you find the best wording to suit your specific needs.  Our team of recruiters and hiring managers know what employers want. We can help you no matter what stage of your career you’re in. If you’re ready to learn more, call 832.930.7378 or contact us online.