You may be leaving your current job for many reasons, including a career change or to pursue higher education. When you resign, it's a professional courtesy to write a resignation letter that properly informs your employer of your decision. Learning what to include and how to format a resignation letter can help you produce a well-written resignation letter that preserves your relationship with the company and makes the remainder of your time in your current position go smoothly.
In this article, we discuss the purpose of a resignation letter for a career change and provide tips and examples for writing one.
What is a resignation letter?
A resignation letter is a formal business letter that announces your intention to leave your current job. Some companies require a resignation letter as part of the exit process, while other employers view it as a matter of professional courtesy rather than a rule. Here are some benefits of providing a resignation letter:
- Respect for your employer: This letter demonstrates that you respect your employer's time and value the work you completed while there.
- Continued professional connection: A professional resignation letter can set the tone for your parting, ensure you leave the company on good terms and improve your ability to ask for a reference in the future.
- Effective record-keeping: Both you and your former employer can keep this document on file for reference. This can be helpful if you worked for a large company where the HR department may not know you personally. Having this letter on file documents the date you left and validates your employment, which may come up when applying for future roles. Also, if that record contains a polite, professional resignation letter, it could lead to a better reference.
Related: Guide: Using Indeed.co.uk Job Search
How to write a resignation letter
The content and length of your resignation letter can vary based on the elements you wish to include. There is also important information you'll need to add so your manager can plan for your departure accordingly. You can follow these tips to create an effective resignation letter:
- Include a header
- Address the recipient
- Make a clear statement of resignation
- Specify the last date of your employment
- Provide a reason for your departure
- Express your gratitude
- Detail your next steps
- Offer to help
- Use an appropriate closing statement
- Add your name and signature
- Proofread your letter
1. Include a header
Your header should start with your contact information and the date you intend to deliver the letter, followed by the recipient's name and company information. If you're unsure who you should send the letter to, review your employee handbook or contact your human resources representative for more information on your company's resignation policies.
2. Address the recipient
You can add a salutation before the person's name, such as 'Dear'. When addressing your recipient, you should use their title followed by their last name. For example, 'Dear Ms Salah'. If you are close to the recipient, you may feel comfortable addressing them simply by their first name.
3. Make a clear statement of resignation
Your first sentence should state that you are officially resigning. You can also include your job title and the name of the company. For example, 'Please accept this letter as my intent to resign as Office Administrator from Wernham Hogg'.
4. Specify the last day of your employment
Confirm the final date you intend to work. Typically, you'll need to give at least a week's notice if you've been employed for longer than a month. Many employers prefer a longer notice so they have sufficient time to plan for your absence, which is why most contracts require a two-week or four-week notice period. Try to offer as much notice as possible.
5. Provide a reason for your departure
This step is not mandatory, but consider providing your employer with context as to why you are leaving. Some reasons may include:
- Career change
- New opportunity
- Moving out of the area or out of the country
- Pursuing education
- Taking leave for personal, family or medical reasons
Documenting why you are leaving is helpful for employers who track the company's turnover and use this information to better serve employees' needs. Be sure to keep your reasoning as positive and professional as possible.
6. Express your gratitude
Thank your employer for the opportunity to work with them. You can also include one or two things you learned or enjoyed during your time with the company. These details can help make your letter more personal and positive.
7. Detail your next steps
If there are any steps you need to take before you leave, acknowledge them here. Some common examples would be:
- Returning technology, supplies or equipment
- Reassigning clients
- Leaving documentation related to ongoing projects
- Providing instructions for completing outstanding work or tasks
This information can help your employer better lead your team in performing tasks during your absence and until they hire a new employee. They can also use the information to determine the scope of your work.
8. Offer to help
It's common courtesy to say that you would be happy to assist with any tasks that will ease the transition. There are often several things you can do, such as documenting processes, preparing training materials, and doing a handover process with your clients. Your employer might also want you to get involved in the recruitment process for your replacement.
9. Use an appropriate closing statement
Closing statements are words or phrases that conclude your letter before you sign your name. Examples of professional closing statements include 'Sincerely', 'Kind regards', 'Respectfully' or 'With thanks'.
10. Add your name and signature
If you are submitting your letter in physical form, include a handwritten signature. If you are sending it via email, you can use an electronic signature. Print your name below your signature.
11. Proofread your letter
Review your letter for grammatical mistakes and spelling errors. If possible, ask someone else to proofread it for you. Make sure that all of the important information you included, such as your last day, is correct. This step helps prevent any miscommunication between you and the recipient.
Once you have a well-written, professional resignation letter, you can hand it over to your manager. Your notice period begins once you hand the letter over to your manager, so be sure to deliver it in adequate time. If you need to serve a two week notice period, then deliver the letter a fortnight before your final day.
Resignation letter example
Use the following example to help you craft your own physical copy resignation letter:
Travel Lite Ltd.
12 Old Road
1st January 2020
Dear Mr Shah,
I am writing to you today to give my formal resignation from my role as Marketing Analyst for Travel Lite Ltd. My last day of work will be on the 15th of January, 2020. This was not an easy decision, but I have decided to pursue a career in education.
I am grateful for the experience and growth that Travel Lite Ltd. has offered me during my three years of employment. This experience will guide me as I move forward with my new career path.
I will fondly remember my time with Travel Lite Ltd. Upon my departure, I will return the electronic devices that Travel Lite Ltd. has provided me, including the mobile phone and laptop. I plan to contact all of my clients via phone and email to refer them to, Antonio Modric, fellow Marketing Analyst.
Please let me know how I can be of help during this transitionary period. I would be happy to assist in training my replacement.
Resignation letter via email example
In some circumstances, sending a resignation letter via email is best. You may need to send the email if the recipient works in a different location or if a written letter seems too formal. A resignation email follows the standard format, but you don't need to include a header. Instead, your email subject line should clearly state your name and the fact that you are resigning.
Consider the following example:
Resignation Effective 15th of January—Jamie Ferguson
I am writing to inform you that I am resigning from my position as Marketing Analyst with Travel Lite Ltd. My final day will be on the 15th of January, 2020. After careful consideration, I have decided to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a teacher.
I am grateful for the opportunities and experiences that working for Travel Lite has provided me. I am sad to leave this position and will remember my time here fondly. You have taught me many beneficial skills that will translate to my new career.
Please let me know how I can help ease this transition. I would be more than happy to assist with finding and training my replacement.
I would also like to inquire about the logistics of my benefits and final paycheck. Can we schedule a meeting to discuss this as well as any other details?