What Is a Letter of Resignation? (And What To Include)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published January 3, 2022

A person may choose to leave their job for a number of reasons, including career growth or the opportunity to move to a different city. Once you've made the decision to leave, it's important to alert your current employer to your intentions. A letter of resignation is a useful tool in this process, as it can help create a respectful and clear message of departure. In this article, we explain what a letter of resignation is, why they're important to write, what to include and relevant tips.

Read more: How To Write a Resignation Letter (With Samples and Tips)

What is a letter of resignation?

A letter of resignation is a written notification that a person plans to leave their current job. This letter may take the form of a physical document or an email. The individual who is resigning traditionally delivers their letter of resignation to their direct supervisor. While many individuals may communicate their intention to leave before turning in a letter of resignation, doing so is an effective way of formalizing this intent.

Why is it important to write a letter of resignation?

Writing a letter of resignation is important because it may help express your intent for leaving in a clear manner that avoids any confusion or miscommunication. You can also use your letter of resignation as an opportunity to express briefly your reason for leaving, if that is something you would like to do. All of this can be a useful way to maintain a positive working relationship with your current employer.

The document itself can also be useful as a formal declaration of your departure. Both you and your employer may keep this letter on file and refer to it in the future. Furthermore, a letter of resignation provides your employer with a timeframe in which to find a replacement. Often, individuals indicate a period of at least two-weeks in which they intend to continue working which the employer may use to find a suitable replacement candidate.

Related: How to Write a Formal Letter of Resignation (Template and Example)

What to include in a letter of resignation

Here are some important elements that you may include in your letter of resignation:

Intent of resignation

Perhaps the most important aspect of a letter or resignation is a clear statement of your intent to resign. Consider including this statement in the opening paragraph, or even the opening sentence of your letter. For example, you might say, "I would like to respectfully declare my intent to resign from my position" or "Please accept this letter as notification that I am resigning my position."

Related: How To Write a Resignation Letter for Personal Reasons (With Example)

Notice of final day

You may also include notice of your final day of work. If there's a specific day that you have in mind, you can share that date. If you're open to collaborating to find a date that works well for both you and your employer, you may offer multiple options and ask what works best for them. You may also share a target resignation period, and explain that you're happy to collaborate to find a date. Including this information can help both you and your employer plan effectively for the transition.

Thank you message

It can be a good idea to thank your employer for the opportunities that you may have had while working in your current role. You may choose to express your gratitude in a general sense, or pick a few specific opportunities to name. When deciding what to include, think about those moments that you enjoyed, or that helped you grow in a personal or professional sense. You may then briefly describe these experiences and thank your employer for creating the opportunity for you to experience them.

Offer to assist with transition

If you feel so inclined, you may offer your assistance in filling the position that you're leaving open by resigning. This may entail suggesting or recruiting suitable candidates. It may also involve working to help train your replacement upon their hiring. Offering to assist with the transition may help create a sense of camaraderie and teamwork between you and your employer upon your resignation.

Related: Guide to Writing A Resignation Letter For A Job That's Not A Good Fit

Your contact information

You may also choose to include your personal contact information and, if you would like, an invitation to reach out to you in the future. This may be particularly helpful if your primary contact information for your work has been a work phone number or email address, which are likely to be discontinued upon your resignation. Including contact information can help strengthen the relationship between your employer and yourself because doing so implies a desire to stay in touch.

Tips on writing a letter of resignation

Writing a letter of resignation can be a challenge for those interested in maintaining a positive professional relationship with the organization that they're leaving. Here are some tips that may prove beneficial:

  • Be professional: Maintaining a professional tone in a letter of resignation can be a useful way to continue a positive relationship with your employer after resigning from your position. You may also accomplish this by respectfully thanking your employer for the opportunities that your position has afforded you.

  • Be direct: Resignation letters are often relatively brief documents that focus on communicating essential information, like your intention to leave and the date of your last day of work. This can help establish clear intentions and a respectful dialogue.

  • Be factual: It may be helpful to focus your letter on facts rather than emotional reasons for leaving. If you wish to discuss your reasons for leaving in more detail, it may be better to set up a conversation with your employer before or after your final day at work.

  • Proofread carefully: Turning in a polished letter or resignation can help demonstrate the time and care that you put into the decision to leave. For this reason, it can be helpful to proofread your work carefully, or ask a friend to help you be reading over your letter and looking for spelling or grammatical errors.

  • Find specific examples: The type of job from which you're resigning, the amount of time for which you've worked there and the reason you're leaving can all influence the type of resignation letter that you write. While these tips and content suggestions apply to most types of resignation letter, it may be useful to spend some time researching and finding examples of the exact type of letter that you intend to write for further guidance.

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