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8 Easy Steps to the Perfect Resignation Letter

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

A resignation letter on a clipboard in a box of workplace supplies ready to be handed in to an employer.

You aced the interview and have accepted a great job offer that’s a perfect match for your skills and abilities! Now you have to share the news at work. Your next step is to write an effective letter of resignation and give your employer at least two weeks’ notice ahead of your last day.

It doesn’t really matter if you loved or hated the job you’re leaving; you always want to maintain a level of professionalism even as you walk out the door.

You never know when you might need to tap into your past networks, former colleagues, and even previous supervisors. As the old saying goes, “it’s a small world”, one where you might find yourself interacting with past employers in the future.

A resignation letter basically states your intent to leave your current position and the steps that you will take before leaving the company. The letter itself doesn’t need to be long or flowery, it just needs to include some key elements to help with reassigning or transitioning your tasks and responsibilities, and for your employer, to jumpstart the hiring process. The letter should be addressed to your direct supervisor and, depending on the size and structure of your company, copied to the HR department, to ensure that everyone has the same information regarding your departure.

Here are the essential components to include in your letter:

  1. Begin the letter with a typical professional greeting and tone.

  2. Give a brief description of your intent to leave your present place of employment and role.

  3. Explain the reason for leaving. If you are comfortable sharing that information, go ahead and do so otherwise just state that you will be ending your employment with them.

  4. Provide a formal date for your last day of work which typically gives at least two weeks’ notice to your employer. This will allow them to start planning for your absence and initiate recruitment efforts.

  5. Express thanks and gratitude for your time and experiences with the company. Depending on your reasons for leaving, this can include more or less detail. Either way, it demonstrates your level of professionalism.

  6. Offer to assist in shifting your responsibilities to others, provide training on specialized tasks, and finalize any outstanding projects to help ensure a smooth transition once you leave.

  7. Respectfully close the letter with your name and number and wish the company, your supervisor, and coworkers’ success in future endeavors.

  8. It goes without saying, always proofread your document for grammatical errors and to ensure that it conveys the tone and message you want to share.

Once you’ve crafted your resignation letter, you should also consider what you would do if your company presented a counteroffer.

If a counteroffer comes to the table, it’s important to revisit why you were looking for a job in the first place.

Questions like: are you fulfilled in your current role, is the compensation adequate for what you do, is your work valued and respected, and is there room for advancement as well as any other values that are important to you in a job. Depending on the specific elements of the counteroffer, you’ll want to take some time to evaluate and consider the proposal. However, it’s been shown that once most people make up their mind to leave and have a great opportunity in front of them, they usually move in that direction.

Whether you’ve already received an offer of employment or are diligently working your way through the job search and interview phase, you’ll want to start planning and preparing for the next exciting steps in your career, including updating your resume, prepping for interviews, and coming up with an effective and professional letter of resignation. Following these steps will serve you well and help to facilitate the change, boost your career, and guide you forward in your professional journey.


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