When the time comes to leave your job, it can be tricky to put into words exactly why you feel that way. Even more difficult still is putting those words into a concise and professional resignation letter...
In many cases, it’s not easy to leave a job; you will have built up relationships with colleagues and you’re familiar with your tasks. A change in both of these can seem daunting. But in the pursuit of career development, a move to a new company is sometimes needed.
It goes without saying that you should notify your manager in-person before sending your letter of resignation. This said, it doesn’t mean that you can’t jot down some of the main points and your reasons for leaving prior to that conversation - this will form the backbone of your letter to follow.
A resignation letter is an important part of your departure from an employer. It is the formal notification of your desire to leave the company and needs to be done in the most professional way possible so as not to risk burning any bridges.
- What is a resignation letter and why do you need one?
- What should you include?
- Top tips when it’s time to write
- Free downloadable resignation letter templates
What is a resignation letter and why is one necessary?
It's an official document which signifies the end of your employment. It should give details of your last working day; this may be immediate, but in most cases you will have to work for the duration of your notice period - this should be outlined in your employment contract.
Also, it should show gratitude for your time with the company. Regardless of how long you have been employed there and for whatever reason you have decided to leave, it is still common courtesy (and reinforces your professional reputation) to thank them for the opportunity you have been given. Plus, you may need a reference from them for your new role!
Submitting a resignation letter shows respect for your employer and will help to maintain professional connections for the future.
It’s also your chance, and in most cases mandatory, for you to deliver any details around a handover. This will help your team as you transition away from your role, making it easier for them to onboard a new employee as your replacement, or distribute your responsibilities elsewhere in the company.
What should you include in your resignation letter?
There are a few key pieces of information that you should include:
- Your name
- The date you have submitted your resignation
- The position within the business you are leaving
- The name of the appropriate person that the letter is addressed to - either your line manager, supervisor or a member of the HR team
- When your resignation will come into effect - remember to check your notice period so this is accurate
- Your signature
Those are the core necessities to include, now onto how you build out the document to be a perfect resignation letter...
Top tips when writing your resignation letter
The most important thing to remember when you are putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) is that you should always remain diplomatic and avoid being overly critical of the company, as well as the people you have worked alongside.
This document is essentially a reflection of your time at the company - either good or bad - so try to use tactful and positive language.
There may well be personal grievances or annoyances that have marred your career there, but refrain from bringing them to light in your letter. Save that for your exit interview where you have more freedom to discuss your reasons for leaving.
In true professional fashion, you should do as much as you can to help the company once you are transitioning out of your role. Mention key details surrounding your handover and where to look for certain documents etc. - they will be enormously grateful for your final few pieces of information.
And last but not least...don’t forget the formatting and your spelling! It should follow the structure of a standard letter, be broken down into easy-to-read paragraphs and always triple check your spelling and grammar.
Free resignation letter templates to download
Of course, the reasons for your resignation could be multiple and can vary greatly - there’s no such thing as a letter that covers all areas. Here are a few templates (as an editable word document) that you can download and edit for your own specific situation.
1. Basic template - If you want to keep it relatively simple and short, a basic letter is perfect.
2. New job template - For when you’ve found, applied to, and been the successful candidate in interviews for a new job at another company or in another industry.
3. Career progression template - If the main motivation for your departure is that you feel there is a lack of progression opportunities in your current role.
4. Personal reasons template - Sometimes life occurrences dictate your career direction. When personal reasons are the primary factor for your resignation, you can go into as much or as little detail as you feel comfortable with.
5. Bad fit for role template - In this scenario, it is vital that you try and focus on the positives, whilst clearly stating how you don’t feel you’re the right person for the job.
Next steps and content we think you'll like:
Once you've sent your resignation letter, you might want to browse through all our open jobs!