Starting a New Job

How To Write a Voluntary Termination Letter in 10 Steps

August 26, 2021

Voluntary termination is a decision made by an employee to leave their job. Often, when they make this decision, they need to submit a document called a voluntary termination letter. If you need to leave your current place of work, submitting a voluntary termination letter can help you separate from your employer on good terms. In this article, we define the purpose and function of a voluntary termination letter, explain how to write one and provide a template and example for you to follow.

Related: What Is Employment Separation? (Definition and Types)

What is a voluntary termination letter?

A voluntary termination letter, also commonly known as a resignation letter, is a document that an employee writes to express their intent to end their employment. By definition, a voluntary termination is an unsolicited decision made by the employee. This differs from other forms of termination, such as a layoff or firing, which the employer initiates. Common reasons for voluntary termination include:

  • Pursuit of further education
  • A desire to focus on family or home life
  • Health issues
  • Change of employment
  • Retirement

A formal letter isn't necessary in every case of voluntary termination, as some employers allow for verbal resignation. However, employers who require documentation usually have a set protocol in place. The recipient of the letter is usually the employee's immediate manager, department supervisor or another person in a position of authority. Also, the employee must submit their letter well in advance of their final date of employment. At many workplaces, this timeframe is two weeks, but some employers may specify 30-60 days.

Importance of a voluntary termination letter

The voluntary termination letter serves several important functions to your employer, as well as for you. These include:

  • Formality: The submission of a voluntary termination letter at the end of your employment is likely a stipulation in your employment contract. It formally initiates the separation between you and your employer.

  • Courtesy: The letter is a form of advance notice to your employer that they should begin looking to fill your position. Early initiation of the process allows them a better chance of locating a suitable replacement.

  • Gratitude: It's common practice to express gratitude to your employer in a voluntary termination letter. If you've learned valuable experience, knowledge and skills during your time with them, it's a good idea to thank them for the opportunity.

  • Official documentation: Should you need to prove your period of employment to another organization, it can be helpful to have a copy of your voluntary termination letter. If written properly, it should include the exact date of your termination and other general information that can help others determine the employment length.

  • Positive reference: A sincerely written voluntary termination letter can promote goodwill with your employer. Not only is it a polite way to end your relationship, but it can be helpful to you if you list them as a reference for future job applications.

Related: Types of References and How To Get Them

How to write a voluntary termination letter

You can follow these steps to write a voluntary termination letter to your employer:

1. Review your employer's resignation protocol

Before you begin writing, make sure you're following your employer's resignation protocol. The information you need should be available in the employment contract you signed when you began working. If you don't have a copy of your employment contract, you can speak with your manager, supervisor or a human resources representative about the procedure for leaving your position. After all, it may be a good idea to give them verbal notice before submitting official documentation so they can begin posting openings for your position. This can help you part on good terms.

Related: 10 Types of Employment Contracts

2. Format the document

The voluntary termination letter is a formal document, so follow the formatting standards of a business letter. To set up your document, apply the following:

  • 1-inch margins
  • Left-side alignment
  • Single-spacing
  • 11- or 12-point font
  • Arial or Times New Roman typeface

Also, as you write your letter, use full block format, in which you double-space between sections and paragraphs and omit indentations.

3. Include your contact details

In a formal business letter, your name, mailing address, phone number and email address are the first pieces of information on the document. Though your employer already has this information on file, the voluntary termination letter is an official document for their records, so it should include identifying information.

You can design a header that includes these details, with your name in a prominent font on the first line and the remaining information in a smaller type sharing the line below. Alternatively, you can omit the header and include each detail on its own line in the topmost section of the letter.

4. Include the date

The section below your contact details is a single line for the date. The date you use should be the day on which you submit the letter. This is important because it shows you've complied with the condition of advance notice in your employment contract. Also, when writing the date, spell out the month and use the full four-digit year, which can help to eliminate ambiguity.

5. Include an inside address

The inside address is the contact information of the recipient. Here, it serves the same purpose as your information at the beginning of the letter. The name of the recipient should be your supervisor or general manager, including a professional title if they have one. The address is that of the organization where you work, and the phone number should include an extension, if available.

6. Address the letter to your supervisor

As stated, the recipient of the voluntary termination letter is the supervisor of your department or the general manager of your business. Begin the salutation of the letter with the word "Dear" followed by the recipient's name and a comma. It's appropriate to include their professional title, but you can also address them in a manner that reflects your relationship with them. For example, for employees who are on close, casual terms with their supervisor, it's not uncommon to address them only by their first name.

7. Clearly state your intention

In the first paragraph of the letter, clearly state your intention to voluntarily terminate your employment. It's a good idea also to mention the length of your advance notice, noting that it's within the range stipulated in your employment contract. An example of this might be: I'm writing to submit my 30-day notice of resignation. Also, remember to specify the date of your last day of employment. This lets your employer know exactly how much longer they can expect to have you.

8. Provide a reason for your leaving and express gratitude

In the second paragraph, explain why you're separating from the employer. Be honest in your explanation, but phrase it for optimal politeness. For example, if you've been offered a high-paying position elsewhere, you might write, *I've appreciated my time here but would now like to pursue an opportunity to advance my career elsewhere.* You can then close the paragraph with an expression of gratitude for your time with your present employer. If you wish, you can specify specific experiences you've found valuable.

9. Offer assurances and help

In the third and final paragraph, assure your employer that you intend to complete all of your outstanding tasks by the final day of your employment, and consider offering to provide help with finding or training your replacement. Then, in the final closing, reiterate your gratitude. Gestures such as these can help lead to your employer accepting your termination more amenably and allow you to leave on positive terms.

10. Sign off

A complimentary close is a word or phrase that precedes your signature line. Use a standard complimentary close to sign off on your letter, such as:

  • Sincerely
  • Warmly
  • Respectfully
  • Best regards

A comma directly follows the close, and your signature goes on its own line below. If you're writing an entirely digital document, you can type your name instead.

Related: How To End a Letter To Make a Lasting Impression (With Examples)

Voluntary termination letter template

You can follow or adjust the following template to help you write a voluntary termination letter:

[Your full name]
[Your mailing address, line 1]
[Your mailing address, line 2]
[Your phone number]
[Your email address]

[Date of submission]

[Recipient's title and name]
[Name of organization]
[Address of organization, line 1]
[Address of organization, line 2]
[Recipient's phone number and extension, if available]
[Recipient's email address]

Dear [title and name of recipient],

This letter is my [number]-day notice of resignation. My last day of employment shall be [last date of employment.]

In my [length of time with the employer] with this organization, I've learned a great deal about [details of your position], and I'm forever grateful for this. However, at this time, [brief explanation for your decision to leave].

I fully intend to complete my remaining tasks to the best of my ability, and I would be happy to provide training to anyone who may need to take over my role. Thank you again for the opportunity and for understanding.


Voluntary termination letter example

Consider the following example based on the above template to help guide you as you write your own letter:

Geoff Janke
22 Longview Terrace
Johnson, Vermont 05656

August 18, 2021

Jane Rhee
Modern Co.
100 Corporate Lane, Suite 3
Johnson, Vermont 05656
802-222-2222, ext. 5

Dear Ms. Rhee,

This letter is my 30-day notice of resignation. My last day of employment shall be September 17, 2021.

In my five years with this organization, I've learned a great deal about user experience design and analysis, and I'm forever grateful for this. However, at this time, I'd like to pursue an opportunity to advance my career elsewhere.

I fully intend to complete my remaining tasks to the best of my ability, and I would be happy to provide training to anyone who may need to take over my role. Thank you again for the opportunity and for understanding.

Geoff Janke


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