A Guide to Writing a Letter or Email of Resignation

How To Write a Letter of Resignation

The usual procedure when leaving a job involves writing a letter of resignation. Firstly, it’s usually better to resign in person and follow up with a formal resignation letter. When writing your letter, keep in mind that it should be positive, brief and focused. This is not the time to criticise your employer or your job. This letter will be saved in your employment file which could be shared with potential future employers. This emphasises the importance of leaving in a professional and polite term. 

What should your letter include? 

-          Announcing you’re leaving 

-          A date when your resignation is effective 

-          A brief appreciation for your time with the company 

Offering to help with a detailed handover of your workload and duties during the transitional period following is generally appreciated – especially by your co-workers. This could be from interviewing people to replace you or finishing up projects you’re currently working on. 

It is also important to be aware of your contract when writing your letter of resignation. Showing you have considered your terms of contract will ensure you’re safe from legal implications when quitting your job. I would recommend reading through your contract before starting your letter of resignation. 

How do I write an Email Resignation? 

Write an email resignation just as professionally as you would a letter. There are some slight differences which are mentioned at the writing guidelines section below. 

Should I mention the reason I’m leaving? 

In many cases, it’s not necessary to mention your reason for leaving. In some cases, it might be appropriate such as a cross-country move or other large life decisions which can affect your job. If you’d like to state a reason in the email or letter ensure there is nothing negative about other staff members or the company. It would be more advantageous to keep your letter short and brief. 

If you’re not sure what to write, review resignation letter samples to get ideas for how to structure and word your letter. 

Guidelines for Writing and Formatting Your Resignation Letter 

  • Resignation Letter Length: Keep it one page, any longer and you’re most likely rambling about why you’re leaving which is unnecessary. 
  • Font and Size:  Use traditional font such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri; keep your font size at 12 points. 
  • Format: A resignation letter should be single-spaced with a space between each paragraph. Use about 1″ margins and align your text to the left; the alignment for most business documents. 
  • Accuracy: Be sure to edit your resignation letter before mailing it. Read over it and ensure it’s accurate, positive, brief and focused. If you’re not sure, get a friend to read over it as sometimes it’s easy to construct a sentence in a certain way which could show different connotations. 

What’s the Professional Resigning Process? 

Firstly, resign in person, followed by sending a letter of resignation. 

If you’re unable to speak to your manager in person, call them and let them know you’re leaving. Follow up with a resignation email. This email should follow the same guidelines as a formal resignation letter. 

How to Layout a Resignation Letter 

  • Header: Begin with both your employer’s and your contact information (name, title, company name, address, phone number, email) including the date. 
  • Greeting: Address the resignation letter to your manager and ensure you use his or her formal title. 
  • Paragraph 1: Announce that you are resigning, also include the date on which your resignation will be effective. 
  • (Check your contract to see how much notice you are required to give).

Optional Paragraphs: 

  • Why you’re leaving:  If you want to say why you’re leaving, it’s not necessary. If you do choose to say why, be positive don’t bring up negative reasons why you’re leaving your current job. 
  • Help in Transition: Unless you know you will be completely unavailable, include that you are willing to help with the transition. 
  • Reference: If you would like a letter of reference from your manager, you can ask for it here. 
  • Thank you: Thank your manager for the opportunity to work for the company. If you had a particularly valuable experience, you can go into more detail about what you appreciate about the job (the projects you worked on or opportunities available etc). 
  • Close: Use a formal closing, such as “Sincerely”, “Yours Sincerely” or “Kind regards”. 
  • Signature: End with your signature if handwritten, followed by your typed name. 

If you feel this format is not suitable for your resignation letter, please review other letter samples you can edit and reuse here. 

In conclusion, a resignation is a formal part of leaving your job and is often compulsory for company records. Ensure you can write a letter of resignation which is focused and positive to leave a company on good terms.


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