Even if you've hit the jackpot and are heading to work for a company that offers a 4-day work week, leaving your job is never easy. You have to say goodbye to your work friends, close the door on future projects, and embrace professional change, which is always difficult. Even worse, you have to have a difficult discussion with your boss or manager to let them know that you're planning to move on. Part of this process is figuring out how to write a resignation letter to your employer, which is necessary to make it all official.
Even if you've left jobs before, the process can be quite daunting. Luckily, it doesn't have to be.
This guide features all the pointers you need to write a stellar resignation letter that will have your bosses lined up to write you a recommendation. From templates to essential elements, we'll cover it all so your resignation letter is at the top of the pile, no matter where you work.
Do I Need to Write a Resignation Letter?
Before you actually start writing your resignation letter, it's worth investigating whether or not it's entirely necessary for your particular situation. After all, if it turns out you don't have to, you can stop reading this guide now and start looking for your new job right away.
For starters, if you plan on talking to your boss or manager face-to-face, there's a good chance that'll be more than enough to leave your post professionally. In fact, we'd recommend an actual in-person or video call discussion, as it will be considered your most legitimate and courteous option. You can send a resignation letter right before that meeting to grease the wheels a bit or afterwards to solidify the decision in writing, but the face-to-face element is most important.
Additionally, not every job or even industry requires you to write a resignation letter when you decide to move on. The rules are quite different depending on where you work and what you do, so your best bet is to ask around to see if former employees wrote one when they left their position.
If there is any drama in regard to leaving your job, a resignation letter can be a helpful way of establishing the narrative and leaving a paper trail. You could be worried about how your boss will spin the departure to the team, in which case a resignation letter will keep the story straight as soon as you make the decision.
Keep it simple
You've probably thought a lot about why you're leaving your job and might think that a resignation letter is the perfect place to let it all out, right? Wrong! Keep your resignation letter as simple as possible, only hitting on the essential information they need to know, rather than delving into your emotional feelings about the position and why you're leaving.
A resignation letter is not a replacement for occupational therapy. It's just a way to let your boss know when you plan on taking your last day. Subsequently, you want to avoid being negative about the position or specifically throwing anyone under the bus. If you really want the company to know more about its shortcomings, save it for the exit interview.
Again, a resignation letter is not a place to air your grievances about the company, it's just a way to let them know you're leaving. In line with that idea, it's customary to thank your manager for the chance to work at the position and be appreciative in the process. If that's not how you feel, you can always leave this part out, but there's no reason to get nasty.
So, what exactly do you need to include in a resignation letter? You don't want to have to follow-up with a message after you left something out, so we've included a clear-cut list of things to include in your resignation letter to get it right the first time.
- Current date
- Name and job title
- Company name and address
- Statement of resignation
- Notice time period
- Final work date
- Offer to help with transition
- Statement of appreciation
If we've said it once, we'll say it a hundred times: You really don't need to say anything more than that. Save your feelings about the position, the company culture, and your boss for the exit interview.
Short and sweet
[Your name and job title]
Dear [Manager's Name],
I want to inform you that I plan to resign from my position as [job title] at [company name]. This is my two-week notice, and my last day will be [last day and date].
I've appreciated the opportunity to work for you here at [company name] and I'm happy to ensure a smooth transition out of my current role. Thank you for everything you've done for me and I wish the company the best.
Long and professional
[Your name and job title]
[Your email address]
[Your manager's name and job title]
[Your manager's email address]
Dear [Manager's Name],
I am writing to inform you that I will be resigning from my position as [job title] at [company name], effective on [last day and date]. You can consider this my two-week notice for the position, and I hope that is enough time to prepare for my departure.
I will help to ensure a smooth and professional transition, wrapping up any projects and handing over any key information that you and the rest of the team may need down the line.
I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with you and the team at [company name] and appreciate all you have done for me in my role as [job title]. I hope [company name] sees continued success in my absence, and I hope we can work together at some point in the near feature.
Personal and emotional
Dear [Manager's name],
I wanted to let you know that I plan to resign from [company name]. My last day is going to be [last day and date] and we better be getting drinks afterwards!
My time at [company name] has been the most fulfilling career experience I could have imagined. [Coworker] is always pushing me to be a better employee and [assistant manager] makes me want to be a better person. You've all changed my life for the better, and I'll never forget you.
I know you won't be able to replace me (haha), but I'm happy to help in any way that I can to make sure there's a smooth transition when I leave. Obviously, we'll have to skip out on [work-related social event], but I hope to cross paths with you and the team sometime soon!
Thanks again for everything you've done for me at [company name]. I can't imagine what this new chapter of my life will be at without you, but I'm excited to find out.
With all the advancements in AI technology for content creation, using AI to write a resignation letter probably seems like a great idea. After all, it's stressful enough leaving an old job, and this can take some of the anxiety out of it but handling the resignation letter for you.
ChatGPT, Bard, and other AI tools are more than qualified to handle the basics for you when it comes to writing a resignation letter. However, in our opinion, we wouldn't recommend letting it fully take the reins. The resignation letter is a chance to showcase that you actually cared about working at your company, and a robotic, AI-generated resignation letter isn't going to accomplish that end. In fact, some experts have said that AI can hurt your chances of getting a new job by using it for resumes and cover letters, and the same is likely true for resignation letters.
All that to say, you can still use ChatGPT and other AI tools to get you started with your resignation letter. Here are a few prompts that can get you started:
- “Create a resignation letter that gives two weeks notice.”
- “Generate a resignation letter that communicates leaving due to a better financial offer.”
- “Write a resignation letter that expresses gratitude for lengthy employment.”
After that first draft is generated, do make sure to do some editing and add a personal touch, so your manager doesn't feel like you phoned it in.