How to Write the Perfect Resignation Letter



For many people, not much is more anxiety-inducing than the thought of writing a perfect resignation letter and breaking the news to their boss. This type of “confrontation” should be exciting as you take on a new chapter of your career, but many people overthink the entire process. Because of this, resignation letters unintentionally wind up causing confusion or even burning bridges. 

At some point in your career, however, there is a high likelihood that you will have to write one of these documents. In this article, we’re discussing what a resignation letter actually is and the importance of knowing how to write one. Then, we’re giving you four helpful tips for drafting up the perfect resignation letter that can be used in any situation. 

businesswoman going through her papers and working on her desk in front of her screen

What is a Resignation Letter?

Quite literally, a resignation letter is exactly as it sounds: a letter declaring your resignation. It’s an official notice from the employees to notify the company that they wish to stop working for. The resignation letter is the formal notice to quit that is used to maintain a paper trail for the company. It typically follows an in-person notice and conversation and is mostly used today as a formality. It’s important to know and remember that the resignation letter will be shared with the HR and in your employee file.

Tips for Writing a Positive and Successful Resignation Letter

Though its purpose is to convey your desire to terminate your relationship with the company, writing a perfect resignation letter should always have a positive feel to it. Regardless of your circumstances for leaving, you never want to go out of your way to burn a potential networking opportunity – especially in writing. The resignation letter is not the time to air your dirty laundry or spell out all the grudges you might be carrying. Instead, always leave with poise, positivity, and professionalism. Some of the top ways to ensure this is done correctly are to:


1. Get Straight to the Point

A resignation letter is the last step in the formal process of leaving a position. Before it is ever sent, you should have a conversation with your boss and/or HR department about your intent to resign from the company. A perfect resignation letter is not the place for discussing the grievances you hold about the office, or for emotional sentiments. 

There is also no reason to sugarcoat your reason for writing either. A resignation letter should not come as a surprise. Simply state who you are, why you’re leaving, and when your last day will be. As a courtesy, and as a good employee, make sure to give your employer adequate notice before your last day. But, also prepare for the possibility of being asked to leave sooner.


2. Express Gratitude

One of the best ways to keep your resignation letter light, positive, and on the topic is by focusing on the company and the time that you did work for them. Think of your time there as an investment into a continued professional relationship, and use wording that encourages this. You never know when a reference or recommendation will come in handy. Always keep that door open, if you can. 

If you’re leaving a job that you love and enjoy, take a little time to express it. Use wording that is sincere and expresses gratefulness for the opportunity and time you spent there. Believe it or not, how your resignation looks says a lot about you; as a human being and not just an employee. 


3. Mention the Transition

Believe it or not, the purpose of your resignation letter is not only to inform the management of your departure. Your team is responsible for hiring your new replacement; who will take all of your current work, and projects. For those with higher-level positions, this can be challenging. To avoid leaving your co-workers in a bind, offer to help with this transition as much as possible in writing a perfect resignation letter. 

The transition is one of the main reasons why it is crucial to provide enough time before leaving the workplace. It’s essential to inform them of your last effective date of work. Some ideas for assisting with the transition include taking part in the hiring process or training the replacement. 


4. Make Sure to Edit and Proofread

As always, and before sending any type of professional document, it is critical to proofread your resignation letter. Read and re-read your letter, checking for spelling errors, unprofessional tone, and grammar mistakes. You ask a trusted friend or co-worker to look it over for you like another set of eyes. This will likely be the final document in your employee file; thus, you want the company to remember you as professional and polished. 

Thoughtful business woman documents in office looking at her resignation letter

Try Not to Overthink Your Resignation Letter

When preparing and writing your resignation letter, one of the worst things you can do is overthink it. Let it flow naturally, and remember that it’s probably not as serious as your brain is making it out to be. As long as you maintain a high level of professionalism, and keep in mind that it won’t be much longer until you never step foot in there again, you’ll do fine!