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How to Write the Best Letter of Resignation

By Kat Boogaard

When I quit my last full-time job, I was an absolute mess. Honestly, that’s putting it kindly—I was a bundle of nerves who spent weeks working up the courage to tell my boss that I was jumping ship. And, when I finally did, I was a bit unprepared to do so (despite those numerous pep talks in front of my bathroom mirror!).

I had always heard that I was supposed to draft a formal letter of resignation. So, I quickly Googled a template, filled in my details, and then practically threw it at my boss while doing my best to avoid direct eye contact. See? I told you I was a mess.

But, in retrospect, I wish I had put a little more thought, time, and effort into that resignation letter. Why? Well, according to Business News Daily, a reported 86% of human resources managers said that the way employees quit a job at least somewhat affects their future career opportunities.

So, needless to say, I wish I would’ve squelched my nerves, rolled up my sleeves, and put a little more elbow grease into that resignation letter (but, no, I was too busy stress-eating animal crackers).

I don’t want you to make the same mistake I did, so let’s take a look at everything you need to know to write the best letter of resignation. Because, if you’re leaving your job, it’s best to leave an awesome impression—and not just a pathetic trail of animal cracker crumbs.

1. Start With the Nuts and Bolts

Beginning your letter is always the toughest part. And, while you may be tempted to open with a jaw-dropping and moving introduction about how much your employment experience impacted you both professionally and personally, you’re better off cutting the theatrics and sticking with the basics.

What exactly are the basics? You need to include the job you’re resigning from and your anticipated last date of employment. That’s it, my friends.

What This Looks Like:

Dear [Boss’ Name],

Please consider this letter as my formal resignation from my role of [Current Title] with [Company Name]. My last date of employment with [Company Name] will be [Date].

2. Talk About the Transition

Next up, it’s time to briefly talk about how you’ll help to make this transition a smooth one. Whether you plan to create some sort of manual for your replacement or are willing to help train whoever steps into your shoes, you’ll want to explain those measures here.

Don’t feel like you need to go above and beyond with a ridiculously long list of all of the good deeds you plan to complete. Just touch on a few of the things you’ll do to make this process a  bit simpler, and you’ll be good to go.

What This Looks Like:

In these last weeks, I’ll make time to work on writing out some specific instructions and will leave any current records for my replacement to make this transition smoother. Additionally, I’m more than willing to help with any training duties during my final weeks in this position.

3. Leave on Good Terms

Finally, it’s time to express your sincere gratitude for the opportunity this employer provided you—yes, even if you absolutely hated your job.

Again, you don’t need to be over the top here (this isn’t your Oscars acceptance speech, after all). However, reserving a few lines to thank your employer is important for leaving things on good terms. You don’t want to burn any bridges!

What This Looks Like:

I want to sincerely thank you for this opportunity with [Company Name]. I have so enjoyed my time as an employee here, and it’s been a pleasure working with you and the [Department] team. I certainly hope our paths cross again.


[Your Name]

Piece that all together—while also including the date you submitted the letter at the top and your signature at the bottom—and your perfect resignation letter is completed.

See? I told you it didn’t need to be anything overly lengthy or complex. As a matter of fact, the simpler and more concise you can keep things, the better.

And, before you ask: No, you absolutely don’t need to include your reason for leaving the position in your resignation letter. Chances are, that’s something you’ll discuss with your boss in person—and, even if you don’t, it really doesn’t need to be listed in your formal letter.

So, there you have it! Three core elements of a resignation letter. Fill in the blanks and you’ll be able to bid adieu to your current job in a way that’s nothing but professional, polished, and respectful.

By Kat Boogaard

Kat Boogaard

Kat is a Wisconsin-based freelance writer covering topics related to careers, self-development, and entrepreneurship. Her byline has appeared in numerous outlets and publications, including Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, QuickBooks, Business Insider, and more. Find out more about her on her website, or connect with her on Twitter.

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