Going in style: The right way to write a resignation letter

Oct 17, 2021, 5:45 AM
(Unsplash Photo)...
(Unsplash Photo)
(Unsplash Photo)

You’ve made the decision to leave your job. You’re almost out the door, and on your way to a new opportunity. But before you get too carried away, don’t forget to send a resignation letter.

A resignation letter is an email or printed document formally explaining you’re leaving your job. Sometimes a resignation letter is required for all exiting employees, so the company can have it for their records.

But even if it’s not a requirement, it’s still good workplace etiquette to send one before heading out the door. It should never replace an in-person conversation, though, unless email-only resignations are a company policy, or you have an unusual, urgent situation that makes resigning in person impossible. Have the conversation first and then follow up with a formal resignation letter.

Your resignation letter should be emailed or given to your direct leader, and it doesn’t hurt to give a copy to your human resources department, too.

What to include

Resignation letters shouldn’t be long. They should state you’re leaving, give a brief explanation for why you’re leaving (if you choose to give one), say when your last day in the office will be, offer to help make the transition as smooth as possible, and express gratitude for your time with the organization.

You don’t have to say things you don’t mean, but you should say something that’s professional and positive.

What not to include

Don’t speak negatively about your boss, coworkers, compensation or experience at the company. Remember, this is a formal record of your departure. It will probably stay in the company’s files for a long time…

It’s also not a good idea to rave about your new job in the letter, even if it’s your dream job. Don’t say anything that implies the company you’re going to is better, or pays more than your current company.

How to write a resignation letter

OK, now it’s time to get down to business and write the letter. Here are seven easy steps to follow:

1. Add a subject line

This doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple “(Your Name) – Resignation” will do just fine. If your resignation letter is not in email form, you should also include the date at the top left side of the page.

2. Formally address your leader

The standard greeting for a letter like this is, “Dear Mr./Ms. (your leader’s last name).” That’s the best practice here, unless you have a leader who insists that you call them by their first name and you’ve always done so. However, I’d keep it formal to be safe.

3. Open with a clear statement

The first sentence of your letter should make it clear this is your formal resignation. Don’t beat around the bush or apologize. Just state the facts, and keep on moving.

4. Briefly say why you’re leaving

This part is optional, but don’t feel the need to make it a long, drawn-out explanation. This could be anything from “I’m pursuing other opportunities” to “I’ve decided to make a mid-life career change” to “I’m moving out of state to be closer to family.” It’s best to leave this part out if your real reason for leaving is because you dislike your boss, or you think your job is boring.

5. Give a specific last day

Don’t keep them guessing about your last day in the office. Make sure you’ve already decided on this date—which should ideally be at least two weeks away—in collaboration with your leader, or that you’ve made them aware of the date in person. Repeat the date in your resignation letter, so it’s in writing and there’s no possibility of confusion.

6. Offer to help if needed

It’s a great way to go the extra mile for your team and your company. This can be as simple as saying “Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help,” or as detailed as saying exactly what you’ll do to make the transition easier. Don’t promise anything you’re not fully prepared to follow through on.

7. Close with gratitude

This is the most important part. No matter how much you disliked your job or coworkers, you had a steady paycheck and an opportunity for growth and learning. The only scenario where I could see leaving this out would be if you were abused in some way, or the work environment was extremely toxic. Otherwise, thank your leader for your time at the company.

If you want to stay in touch with your coworkers, send them separate emails with similar details explaining that you’re leaving. Thank them for working with you, and let them know how they can contact you.

Keep everything professional, classy and thankful. It’ll leave a lasting good impression!

Dave Ramsey

(Pexels Photo)...
George Kamel

Here are some of the pitfalls of DIY investing

DIY investing is one of the hottest trends out there right now, but there are some pitfalls.
2 days ago
(Pixabay Photo)...
Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey says: Finances for married couple should always be a ‘we’ deal

Would it be fair if only the person making money in a marriage is allowed a little cash to spend for fun once in a while? Of course, not. Marriage is not a "me" thing, it’s a "we" thing.
7 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Rachel Cruze

Don’t let retail therapy cause you to overspend for the holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – for buying gifts. And while you’re at it, you might as well buy something for yourself, right? We’ve all been there. Remember in “Friends” when Monica bought those super expensive leather boots on impulse? She ended up regretting it because they really hurt her feet. Womp, […]
9 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey says: Get rules in writing before friend signs on as tenant

Doing business with friends always comes with the risk of running into a situation that can damage the relationship. If you rent out a home to a friend, sign an agreement, just like with any other renter.
14 days ago
(Pixabay Photo)...
George Kamel

3 ways to get ready for the end of student loan relief in 2022

Whether you like it or not, you’re going to have to resume your student loans payments in the new year. Instead of waiting, prepare now.
16 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey says: Planning should get you through temporary loss of income

It’s always wise to look ahead and plan for the future. Getting debt paid off and saving up a bunch of cash will give you real peace of mind.
21 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Thyroid issues: Here are the warning signs and what to do

In a 100-person office in the United States, an estimated 12 co-workers, employees and loved ones, will likely develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime. That’s because, according to the American Thyroid Association, more than 12% of the U.S. population will experience thyroid issues.
Schwartz Laser Eye Center

How to sharpen your vision with elective procedures

Imagine opening your eyes in the morning and being able to see clearly. You wouldn’t have to wait to put on glasses or contacts, and there would be no more blurry showers nor forgetting where your glasses are.
PNC Bank

How one organization supports early childhood literacy for the most vulnerable

Nearly two out of every three children in low-income communities don’t own a single children’s book, a fact that ultimately could have profound impacts even before entering kindergarten, according to Arizona nonprofit Southwest Human Development.
Going in style: The right way to write a resignation letter