Leaving your job isn’t always an easy decision. Once you’ve made it, the next step is to notify your employer of your upcoming departure. This article explains what you need to know about writing a resignation letter and how to write one, including several templates you can adapt to your situation.
Why is a resignation letter important?
A resignation letter is important because it’s an official document that notifies the employer of your departure. Resignation letters are a standard business practice, and while not always mandatory, they are a professional courtesy.
You should always provide a resignation letter, even if you’ve verbally informed your employer of the departure. It looks professional, and it also ensures there is a record of your departure date in case of potential future disputes.
Your resignation letter should be delivered in person whenever possible, even if you speak with your supervisor before you write one. Have the letter with you when you deliver the news if that makes you feel more comfortable.
Your HR department might ask you to attend an exit interview to learn about your time at the company. These discussions are encouraged and allow companies to improve their processes and work environment based on employee feedback. However, you are not legally required to participate unless it’s specified in your contract.
What to include in a resignation letter
Your resignation letter should be brief and only include information relevant to your departure. You don’t have to provide a lengthy explanation of why you’re leaving. If you decide to share why, keep it positive and professional.
Here is what you should include in your resignation letter:
- Statement of resignation and departure date
- Thank you
- Transition details
- Contact information
You should format your resignation letter the way you would any other business letter. Include your contact information, date and your employer’s information. You can leave this part out if you’re sending your letter as the body of an email. Keep it if the letter is attached as a document.
Address your letter to your supervisor or the HR representative. Use formal salutation and address the recipient by name, such as “Dear [First name],” or “Hello, [First name].”
2. Statement of resignation and departure date
Clearly state that you are leaving your position with the company. Common reasons for leaving include a new job opportunity, going back to school, family obligations or relocation.
Make sure to include your last day with the company. Canadian law requires that employees provide notice within a reasonable time. Two weeks is the standard practice for most businesses. However, certain positions require more extended notice, especially in more senior roles.
3. Thank you
It’s a common practice to thank your employer for the opportunity. Share what you’re learned and how the experience has helped you grow. You might also include a list of specific skills you learned while working there.
4. Transition details
Use this section to offer assistance in the transition process and make your departure as smooth as possible. This can include offering to train other coworkers and your plans for handling ongoing projects before you leave.
5. Contact information
You might want to include a personal email, address or phone number if the company needs to forward you information about benefits, letters of employment or tax forms. This is especially important when you are relocating.
End the letter with your name printed and signed. Keep it short and professional.
Tips for how to write a resignation letter
Your employer might have a standardized process for resigning. Before writing your resignation letter, check with your HR department to make sure you follow the required procedures. This can include who the letter should be addressed to or conditions related to your position.
Keep your resignation letter professional and courteous. You might need to use your employer as a reference one day. You also don’t want to jeopardize any future opportunities with the company by being unprofessional.
Don’t use your resignation letter to express negative feelings towards the company or your coworkers. Be courteous even if your work experience wasn’t pleasant. Focus on the future instead.
- Keep it short and simple.
- Be professional.
- Offer to help with the transition.
- Proofread your letter.
- Use foul and unprofessional language.
- Vent about the job, coworkers or bosses.
- Gloat about your new job.
Examples of resignation letters for different situations
Below are several examples of resignation letters that you can customize with your information. They include the necessary basics of a resignation letter and offer suggestions for when you want to explain why you’re leaving.
Simple resignation letter template
This template works best when you want to include the basics without offering a reason for your departure.
Dear, [your supervisor or HR representative] Please accept this letter as my formal resignation from [your job title] with [company name]. My last day of work will be [insert your last day], two weeks from today. Thank you for the experience and support [company name] has offered me. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn [insert skills] and grow in my profession. Please let me know how I can assist in making this transition as smooth as possible. Any correspondence after my departure can be sent to my personal email [insert email]. You can reach me at [add your phone number]. It’s been a pleasure working with you and the team. I wish you continued success. [Your name]
Resignation due to a new opportunity
I am writing to inform you that I’ve accepted [inset title] position with [company name]. I'm excited to explore this new opportunity. Please accept this letter as my resignation from [company name]. My last day will be [insert your last day], two weeks from today.
Resignation due to relocation
I am writing to inform you that I will be leaving my position at [company name] effective [insert date]. After much consideration, I am relocating to [insert where] to be closer with my family. While this was a difficult decision, I am looking forward to the challenge. I enjoyed working at [company name] and the experience this job provided. I hope to find a new position in a supportive and stimulating company like yours in my new city.
Resignation due to a career change
I regret to inform you that I am resigning from my position as [insert role] for [company name]. My last day of employment will be [insert date]. I have decided to pursue a career in [insert field], which has always been my dream. I look forward to this new chapter in my life, even though I will miss working at [company name]. I will fondly remember my time here and the people I've met.
Resignation due to returning to school
Please accept this letter as my formal resignation from my position as [your job title] with [company name]. My last day will be [insert your last day]. I plan to return to graduate school to pursue my education in [insert field]. I want to thank you for the great opportunity you have given me as an employee at [company name]. I have learned so much about [your field] from working with my fellow employees and supervisors. The [insert technical skills learned] I have developed here will be extremely useful in graduate school.
Resignation due to family reasons
I am writing to inform you that I will be leaving [company name] effective [insert your last day]. I have decided to take this opportunity to stay home and spend more time with my family. Thank you for understanding, and please let me know if I can be of any assistance during this time.
Resignation due to retirement
I would like to inform you that I will be retiring from my position as [your job title] at [company name]. My last day will be [insert date]. Working here has been such a wonderful experience, and I will cherish the memories forever. Before I leave, I will ensure that all my projects are completed as far as possible, and I am happy to assist in any way to ensure a smooth handover to my replacement.