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Our guide to the perfect letter of resignation

Written by Andrew Arkley


So you’ve nailed the interview and got the perfect CV – it’s now time to learn how to write a resignation letter.

Firstly - congratulations! You’ve taken the plunge and are moving onto the next step in your career. 

While you may feel the hard work is done, it’s important you make the effort to leave your job on the right note.

Failing to write a suitable letter of resignation may burn bridges with the company you’ve worked so hard for and tarnish your connections within that company – which may impact future references.

While a letter of resignation isn’t a legal requirement, it’s always a good idea formalise your resignation in writing. It helps clarify your position from an HR perspective and allows you to leave on a strong footing. 

Read on for our expert advice on how to write a resignation letter.


Clearly (and accurately) state your notice

You should have been made aware of your notice period on starting out in your organisation. If not, two weeks is generally considered the minimum notice period you should give your employer.

State your final day at work as early as possible in your notice letter. This is the most essential piece of information to convey and you don’t want it being missed.

Your notice period is vital to an employer, who will need to plan for a transition period or embark on the hiring process.

With this in mind…


Be helpful throughout your notice period

Do the right thing. Just because you’ve handed in your notice doesn’t mean you can start waltzing into work late and doing the bare minimum. Professionalism is a must (think of that reference!).

In your resignation letter, tell your employer how you intend to facilitate a smooth handover – whether that be through leaving detailed notes, training colleagues or helping the recruitment process.

If you have outstanding projects, state your intention to see them through before your last day.

It’s not obligatory, but it will reflect well on you if your available for questions or queries after you’ve left the company, too.


Make sure you say thank you

Express your gratitude for your time at the company. 

Whatever you feel at the point of resignation, it’s worth remembering the value of every role in shaping your professional skills and experience. 

Again, don’t burn your bridges.

Thank your boss for their support and state your appreciation for the growth and development you have experienced within the organisation.

Now is not the time for ranting or complaining. Suck it up and be polite – it’s worth it.


Use appropriate language and business letter format

Remember, this is a formal document. Include a header with the employer’s name and address, the date, and your name and address. 

It goes without saying that you should also thoroughly proofread the letter before sending it. 

Again, you may need to ask for a recommendation from your employer, and you want this letter to reflect your high standards.


Keep your letter of resignation short and sweet

Your letter of resignation should be concise and to-the-point.

As stated above, this isn’t the time to complain and you don’t need to detail your reasons for leaving in the letter.

It’s likely (and recommended) that you’ll be having a conversation with management alongside the submission of this letter. Any elaboration can take place then.

Do however, ask any practical questions you might have about payroll, return of materials or equipment or HR policy. It’s best to have these in writing.

NB: If you work remotely it’s fine to email rather than present your boss with a hard-copy of your resignation letter. However, it definitely should be paired with a conversation.


Are you ready for counteroffers?

Handing in your letter of resignation may prompt a reaction from your company’s management.

Be prepared for a counteroffer.

Have you considered how you might react to an offer of more money, responsibility or flexibility?

While it may not happen, having a suitable response in mind might help the resignation process move forward more smoothly.


How to write a resignation letter – final thoughts 

Follow the tips above, and you’ll be resigning on a positive note.

One, your former boss (and future reference) will read it and be impressed. 

And two, if you ever decide to come back to your company (it does happen), it’s a very good thing that the last thing from you on file is a great, professionally written letter of resignation.

Thanks for reading – and good luck with the next step in your career.

If you’re not yet in a position to resign and need help with finding a new role, why not speak to our CV writing experts?


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