How to write a resignation letter

Before you quit a job, take the time to review this resignation letter template to help you make a graceful exit.

How to write a resignation letter

How to write a resignation letter

Whether you're on your way to a great new position or unhappily leaving your employer for personal or career-related reasons, you need to write a resignation letter.

The main goal of your letter is to inform your employer about the details of your resignation, but the underlying benefit is a chance for you to strengthen your relationship with your supervisor/colleagues and leave on a positive note.

Approach the letter as if you're writing a thank-you note, and you'll be on the right track.

The following tips will help:

1. A formal introduction

Even if you've been at your job for a while, you need to write a standard greeting. "Dear [boss's first name]" works just fine. (Obviously, only do this if you're on a first-name basis with your boss; otherwise, use their last name.)

2. Your intent to resign

Your letter's introduction should also clearly indicate that you are resigning and provide your last day of employment. For example: "Please accept this letter as notice of my resignation from my position as [job title]. My last day of employment will be [date]." (Note: It's customary to give two weeks' notice before leaving a job. Leaving sooner is likely to leave a bad taste in your employer's mouth.)

3. A reason for your departure

The body of your resignation letter should mention your reason for leaving.

Here are a few ways to state that you are leaving, based on your situation:

  • Found a new job: “I have accepted a position as [job title] in [location], which will give me the supervisory responsibilities I have been eager to assume." 
  • Starting school: “I regret having to leave [employer name], but I am strongly committed to earning my [degree type] and have been accepted to [school name] for the fall term." 
  • Medical reasons: “I regret having to leave, but I am currently experiencing medical issues that prevent me from continuing in this position." 
  • Partner relocation: “My wife/husband has been offered an excellent job opportunity in [location], and we have decided to move there so that she/he can accept it." 
  • Relocation refusal: “The company's restructure has left many of my colleagues looking for new positions, so I am grateful for your offer of reassignment to the office. However, my family and I have decided that relocation is not feasible for us right now." 
  • Bad experience: “My decision to leave is based on both personal and professional reasons, but please understand that I have thoroughly enjoyed my association with [company name]. I have learned a great deal from you, and I look forward to applying this knowledge in my next position."

4. Lots of thanks 

Your resignation letter should demonstrate gratitude for the experience the job has given you. You may also mention that you appreciate the opportunity to work with your supervisor and other team members. If you name-drop, be careful not to exclude anyone.

Remember that your letter may make the office rounds. If appropriate, state your willingness to help with the transition; for example, you might offer to train your replacement.

5. Goodwill

End your letter with an expression of best wishes for the success of the company. Also make it clear that you're interested in keeping in touch. For example: “I hope that we can continue our professional relationship and that we meet again in the future. Best wishes to you and to the rest of the staff for a profitable future.”

Know what to say and when

Finding the right words to explain to your boss and co-workers why you're leaving your job can be super-uncomfortable—and that goes for if you loved your job or if you kinda-sorta hated it. But it's not the only time during your career that you'll be scrambling for words. Could you use some help knowing what to say in tricky situations? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you can get useful career advice, job search tips, and workplace etiquette sent directly to your inbox to help you get through some of the most uncomfortable moments (think inappropriate interview questions, confusing salary negotiations, and the dreaded small-talk sessions at conferences).