Skip to main content

How to write a resignation letter

How to write a resignation letter

It's amazing how uncomfortable the prospect of having to write a resignation letter makes many people feel. Even when you are desperate to leave a job, people see it as an unpleasant task. Kate Southam takes the sting out of the task with tips and examples.

Resignation letters are really a matter of formality. The letter should include the date your resignation is effective from, the role you are resigning from and the date of your last day. You should probably refer to the notice provision in your contract or the award that relates to your role. That's it. Simple. Over.

The rest of the letter is up to you but there does not have to be a "rest of the letter".

Here is an example of a "bare bones" resignation letter. Don't forget to date the letter.

Dear (manager's name),

I hereby tender my resignation from my role as customer services manager of the financial products division of X,Y,Z company.

My resignation is effective from today. As per my contract, I am providing X,Y,Z with four weeks notice. My last working day will be March 2, 2005.

Yours sincerely,

If you want to "soften" the letter then add a touch here and there. For example,

Dear (manager's name),

It is with sadness/regret that I write to you to tender my resignation from my role as customer services manager of the financial products division of X,Y,Z company.

I have enjoyed the role and the people very much and will always have fond memories.

My resignation is effective from today. As per my contract, I am providing X,Y,Z with four weeks notice. My last working day will be March 2, 2005.

I wish you, the team and everyone at X,Y,Z all the very best for your continued success.

Yours sincerely,

You can also use the letter to cover off some of the pesky details still on your desk such as.

Dear (manager's name),

It is with sadness that I write to you to tender my resignation from my role as customer services manager of the financial products division of X,Y,Z company.

I have enjoyed the role and the people very much and will always have fond memories.

My resignation is effective from today. As per my contract, I am providing X,Y,Z with four weeks notice. My last working day will be March 2, 2005.

I will be able to wrap up the ABC project in this time but will need to hand over the DEF project to another team member. Please advise how you wish me to proceed on this matter. My notes are up-to-date and ready for re-assignment.

I wish you, the team and everyone at X,Y,Z all the very best for your continued success.

Yours sincerely,

If you are happy in your role but leaving to pursue a better opportunity then use one of the softer openings.

In any event, if you respect your manager, you will have dropped by his or her office to break the news in person and explain the reasons why you are leaving. The letter should be more for HR purposes.

A wee warning to all, even the most confident and well-adjusted manager can take a resignation personally so if your manager gets a tad defensive - don't follow suit. Just keep the conversation friendly.

For those that like their employer and colleagues, spend a paragraph or two of your resignation letter talking about the positives. Recall the opportunities the company provided, the things you learnt - that sort of thing. It's fine to add a personal detail about how much you enjoyed working with everyone as well. End the letter with best wishes for the company's future and give as much notice as you can.

For those that don't like their manager or employer, don't waste your energy writing a nasty kiss off letter. Your angry feelings will fade but those burning words will remain. Who needs the bad vibes in their life eh? If you have constructive criticism then save it for the exit interview.

By Kate Southam, Editor of careerone.com.au

Related articles:

For more useful tips read the other stories in the Job hunting advice section as well as Ask Kate and Ask Kate Archives