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How To Write A Letter Of Resignation

How to write a letter of resignation

When the time comes to leave your job, you must let your employer know in writing by way of a resignation letter. If it’s been a while since you’ve moved jobs, you would like an example to follow, or it’s the first time that you’ve had to give formal notification of your intention to leave a role, then you may be wondering how to write a letter of resignation and what needs to be included.

To write a letter of resignation, you need to include the following key points as a minimum but can include more if you wish. The letter should be submitted in writing via letter or email to your line manager or HR department:

  • Your name
  • The job title that you are resigning from
  • A statement of intent that you will be leaving your job 
  • Your expected last working day
  • Any questions that you have or points that need clarifying before you leave such as annual leave or holiday pay owed. 

You may also choose to add in positive thoughts on your time in the role, an offer to train your replacement or future contact information.

Writing a resignation letter is a polite and professional way to leave your current job. Read on for some simple tips on how to write a letter of resignation, including two examples that you can follow. 

What Is a Resignation?

A resignation is the act of leaving a job. Whilst resignations can be issued verbally, most companies require written confirmation in the form of a resignation letter which can be delivered by hand, posted or attached to an email or a resignation email. A resignation starts the clock ticking on the time between you leaving your current job role and moving on to pastures new.

What Is A Letter Of Resignation?

A letter of resignation is the formal written document that you send to your employer stating your intention to leave your current job role on a specified date. Most letters of resignation include standard paragraphs regarding your intention to leave, expression of gratitude for opportunities received and any questions that you need answering regarding your notice period, final pay or outstanding annual leave owed. The letter should be submitted to your boss or HR department as soon as you know that you will be leaving.

What To Include In A Resignation Letter

A resignation letter should follow conventional letter writing etiquette and our simple overview below will provide a reminder of the letter formatting points to include, as well as the essential information to make sure that you include plus some optional extra considerations that you may wish to include too.

Letter formatting: 

  • Your full name and address are in the top right-hand corner
  • The recipient’s name and address are on the top left
  • The date that you write the letter below your address on the right-hand side

Essential Resignation Letter Content

The main body of the letter can be as short or as long as you want but we would recommend the following as a minimum for a professional sounding resignation letter;

  • A statement of your intention to leave your current job role on a specified date
  • Any questions that you need your employer to answer. Common points raised relate to shortening a long notice period, confirming if any annual leave is owed
  • Your contact details

Optional Resignation Letter Content

Whilst the letter formatting and essential resignation content above will ensure that you put together a perfectly good letter of resignation, you may like to add a little more detail such as;

  • The reason that you are leaving
  • A paragraph noting any professional or personal highlights during your time in the role
  • Any thanks that you would like to offer to your employer or line manager for their assistance in training, creating a nice work environment or other acts that you view favourably during your time with the company

Should I write A Short Or Long Letter?

Man filling a box with work possessions

The choice of whether you write a long or short resignation letter is entirely up to you. Instances where a short and simple letter will more than suffice include when you have been with the company for less than a year, you don’t feel comfortable sharing your reason for leaving, you’re happy with an informal resignation letter, or you want to leave with a formal but neutral note. If you have worked for a company for a particularly long time, have a specific reason for leaving, or wish to offer particular notes of thanks formally in your letter, then you may choose to adopt a longer resignation letter format.

Does A Resignation Always Need To Be A letter?

While some companies require a physical letter, which should follow the outlines shown above, some companies are happy to accept resignation emails too. In the case of emailing your resignation, the same information should be included as outlined above, but you don’t need to format it in the style of a letter with addresses and dates at the top.

When writing a resignation email, always include;

  • A statement of your intention to leave your current job role on a specified date
  • The date that you expect your last working day to be
  • Any questions that you need your employer to answer. Common points raised relate to shortening a long notice period, confirming if any annual leave is owed
  • Your contact details
  • The reason for your resignation can be included if you wish
  • Make sure you include a clear email subject line that ensures it won’t be missed such as [Your name’s] resignation letter effective [insert date]
  • Consider asking for a ‘read receipt’ when sending the email so that you can be sure it has been read by the intended recipient.

If you’re unsure about what format to submit your resignation letter, you should refer to your employee handbook or speak to your HR department for more information about its resignation policies.

Simple Resignation Letter Example

To put the overview of how to write a simple resignation letter above into context, here is an example template that you can follow if you’re looking for a short and to the point resignation letter.

[Your name]

[Your address]

[Your postcode] [HR or Line manager’s name] [Your company address] [Your company postcode]

[Today’s date]

Dear [Insert name of the person you are writing to]

Please accept this letter as notification that I will be leaving my position of [insert job title] on the [Insert date you are leaving].

Yours Sincerely,

[Insert your name] [Insert your contact email] [Insert your phone number]

Longer Resignation Letter Example

If you would prefer to write a longer, more personal letter, we have put the overview of how to write a longer resignation letter above into context below for you to use.

[Your name]

[Your address]

[Your postcode] [HR or Line manager’s name] [Your company address] [Your company postcode]

[Today’s date]

Dear [Insert name of the person you are writing to]

Please accept this letter as notification that I will be leaving my position of [insert job title]. My last day of employment following my required [insert your notice period] notice period with [insert company name] will be [Insert date you are leaving].

I have been offered a new role that provides the career progression that I’m looking for at another company and has presented an opportunity that is too good to decline.

I would appreciate it if you could confirm if I have any outstanding annual leave owed that may be taken before I leave. It has been a pleasure working with the team over the last [insert years worked]. My personal highlight was ]Insert a highlight such as – working on the team that raised over £20,000 for charity.]

For the remainder of my notice period, I will focus on completing any outstanding tasks required, supporting you with the transition of my duties with my replacement and will leave my records up to date before my last day.

Thank you for the opportunity to work at [insert company name]. I wish you all the best and look forward to seeing your successes in the years to come.

Yours Sincerely,

[Insert your name] [Insert your contact email] [Insert your phone number]

When To Hand In Your Letter

Several factors will affect when you decide to hand in your letter of resignation including;

  • What is the notice period for your current role?
  • Do you have a job offer or other work already confirmed?

When you sign your employment contract, you will have agreed to a notice period. This is the amount of notice that you must give the employer of your intention to leave before your last day. Ultimately, your notice period will usually have the biggest impact on when you hand in your resignation letter.

Most people won’t want to hand their notice in until they have a confirmed job offer from a new company or guaranteed work lined up. If however, you are leaving on unfavourable terms, you may want to leave as soon as possible and want to hand in your notice before having further work secured.

If you have a particularly long notice period such as three months, which isn’t uncommon for a senior manager or specialist role position, you may be able to negotiate a shorter notice period if you already have a start date with a new employer and your current employer agrees. This is most likely to occur if you can demonstrate that you have completed all outstanding tasks, have provided handover notes or can assist in hiring or training a new person for the role that you’re leaving.

Whilst it’s completely up to you when you decide to move on to a new role, there is protocol and good etiquette to follow to ensure the process of leaving is handled professionally. If you’re able to speak to your line manager in person or at least on the phone before leaving a letter on their desk or emailing them, that would be a polite and professional courtesy step to include. It’s also usually best to hand your notice in during office hours so that it can be discussed with your line manager on receipt if needed.

Staying On Good Terms

Some people want to leave their current employment on good terms whereas others just want to be gone and never look back. Whichever camp you fall into, choosing the wording in your resignation letter should be done carefully, especially if you may meet your current colleagues again in a new role in the future, will rely on their input for a reference in a future role, or if the letter will be seen by multiple people such as HR and managers.

A resignation letter is not the place to air any grievances you may have about your time at the company. Instead, it’s best to keep the contents factual and to the point of your leaving date in a letter of resignation.

If you get on particularly well with your colleagues or boss, you can always send a follow-up note or email with a more personal message to let them know how much you’ve enjoyed working together or thank them for any guidance offered. Similarly, if you want to get any issues off your chest that may have led to your resignation, it’s a good idea to talk these through in-person in an exit interview.

Summary

Whilst changing jobs can be an exciting time, there are certain protocols to follow when leaving your current employer for a new position. Reigning from your job starts with a letter of resignation and we hope this article has given you a simple overview of how to write a letter of resignation that is polite, professional and meets all requirements.

To recap, you should remember the following points when writing your letter of resignation:

  • Ensure that your letter includes your name, job role, and statement of intention to leave your job, including the job title, your expected last day and work and contact details.
  • You can choose to write a very simple letter of resignation that is a few lines long or include additional paragraphs offering thanks, and asking any questions that you have. See the examples provided above for a good place to start.
  • Remember that your letter will be seen by many different people. Use language that you wouldn’t mind both your boss and HR department reviewing.
  • Try to speak to your line manager before submitting your letter where possible out of courtesy.
  • Check your employee handbook or HR department for any specific resignation policies that need to be adhered to

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