Time to leave? Here’s how to write a good resignation letter.

Resigning from a job can be nerve-racking. First, there’s the meeting with your manager to break the news, then there’s the staff announcement that goes around, not to mention the endless run of questions from your colleagues asking why you’re leaving and where you’re heading to next. Those last few weeks in a job can sometimes feel like they’re never going to end ‒ but it doesn’t all have to be an uncomfortable experience.

Navigating the path to your next venture with professionalism and grace is key to ensuring a smooth and enjoyable transition. And it all begins with a notice of leave, also known as a resignation letter.

Why do you need a resignation letter?

While it is not a legal requirement in the UK to provide a notice of leave or resignation letter, it may be stated in your employee contract that you are required to provide written notice of leave. It will also benefit you to have your resignation in writing in case there are ever any discrepancies in the future.

How do you write a good resignation letter?

The best advice for writing a resignation letter is to keep it simple, courteous and professional. You don’t need to mention your reason for leaving – especially if it reflects negatively on the company. Instead, focus on thanking your manager for the knowledge and skills you have received during your employment. It is also advisable to avoid mentioning your new employer in your resignation letter. For example, bragging about the salary increase you will receive at your new job is not something your existing employer wants to see.

Tips for writing your resignation letter

Address it to your direct manager. When writing a resignation letter, ensure you address it to your direct-line manager, rather than an HR manager.

Include your leaving date. Before you hand in your resignation letter, make sure you are aware of your responsibilities in terms of the company’s notice periods ‒ you’ll often find the notice period listed in your employment contract. It is important to list your leaving date in your resignation letter as it will act as your formal written notice.

Keep a positive, professional tone. Despite taking on a new role, you may need to contact your former employer in the future for references. Therefore, it is important that you avoid disparaging the company or your former colleagues in your resignation letter. Adopt a positive, professional tone in your letter and avoid any negative language towards the company, your managers or colleagues.

Don’t forget to say thanks. You may need to leverage this position in the future, so you want to avoid burning any bridges. Thank your manager and the company in your letter, telling them you appreciate everything you’ve learned while in your position. That way you can transition to your new job and maintain the connections you have at your old one.

Wrap up any loose ends. If you are currently in the middle of a project at work, it is favourable to include a brief handover action plan in your letter. For example, you may mention that your notice period will allow enough time to complete the project before moving on, or that you will ensure a smooth transition by taking the time to do a thorough handover with another member of staff.

Professional resignation-letter sample:

If you still find yourself asking ‘How do I write a resignation letter?’, see below for a sample template:

(Date)

Dear (manager’s name),

Please accept this letter as my formal notification of resignation from my position as (job title). As per my employment contract, I will be giving (notice period e.g. two weeks) notice, which means my last day of work will be (insert date).

I am thankful for the opportunities and support I have been given during my employment with (company name), and I wish you and the company success in the future.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any queries after I leave. It would be a pleasure to keep in touch.

Warm regards,

(your name)

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