Sample Resignation Letters

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How to Write a Resignation Letter

Your resignation letter won’t be a novel-length saga, and since you’re leaving the company, there’s no need to argue a case or request anything from your audience. So at all times—no matter how tempting it may be to do otherwise—keep your message concise and positive.

Less is more: Keep detail and volume to a minimum. Unless your departure breaks contract, you do not have to ask permission to leave. So don’t. Announce that you’re leaving, explain why if you wish, and end your message.

Check your contract: If you’re legally bound to the company by an ongoing contract, a simple letter of resignation won’t let you off the hook (no matter how well written it may be). You’ll need to talk to your employers and HR department in person to untangle this thorny issue.

Be kind: If you’re leaving because you dislike something about the company that your readers can’t change, be gracious and diplomatic.

Be honest: On the other hand, if you’re leaving because of something that can and should be changed, say so. An explanation for your reason to leave can help a struggling company interested in change and growth. Also consider that if you miss an opportunity to share this information, you may be haunted by this decision later. Could you have helped your former employers learn from their mistakes? If you aren’t/weren’t being paid fairly, for example, now is the perfect time to share this fact—just remember to support your claims with research.

Say thank you: Share the things you enjoyed most about the job, and thank your employers for this opportunity. Even if you detested your position, there must be some positive aspects.

How to Format a Resignation Letter

Your resignation letter, like these resignation letter samples, should contain three core elements: an opening, body, and conclusion. But again, all three should be as short as tact, clarity, and dignity allow. Keep your letter limited to under just one full page.If you DO feel like giving your boss a piece of your mind, cool down and wait a day or two before you start to write. This is not something you should write in the heat of the moment.

Begin with a greeting that includes your company name or your supervisor’s full name (as in, “Dear Mary Collingsworth” or “Dear Qualco HR Department”). In your opening statement, get right to the point. For example: “I would like to announce my resignation from the role of (insert role) as of (insert departure date).”

In the body of your letter, share some positive aspects of the job, including the people you met, the things you learned, or the happy memories you take away from this experience. If you wish to share your reasons for leaving, do so here.

In your final statement, thank your employers for everything they’ve done for you and politely say goodbye.

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Common Resignation Letter Mistakes

Here are few common resignation letter mistakes that can sour the feelings and impressions you leave behind. These seemingly small blunders may damage your reputation and may even hurt your chances of a positive recommendation down the road.

● Needless criticism: If your salary wasn’t sufficient, your working conditions weren’t safe, or your promotion requests were denied, you can share this. But don’t be rude. Some criticisms are more helpful than others; think before you insult your boss or throw a coworker under the bus.

● TMI: You’re not obligated to share any details about your personal life or career decisions. Check these resignation letter samples and notice how the departing employees remain polite without oversharing. For example: “I’ve decided to take my career in another direction,” “This is the right decision for my future,” etc.

● Scorching the earth: Don’t use your resignation letter to insult the things you don’t like about this place (mismanagement, incompetence, annoying company policies, etc) or seek revenge. That’s not the purpose of this letter.

● Missing an opportunity: If you really do love your coworkers, and you genuinely will miss your boss with your whole heart, you may never have a more appropriate chance to say so. Bosses love being told that they’re good at their jobs. This simple, kind message may resonate much more than you imagine.

You’ve Written Your Resignation Letter. Now What?

Now that you’ve consulted these resignation letter samples and created your own, it's time to submit your letter to your company’s HR department and your boss. You can do this by email, hardcopy, or both. You should make an effort to do so at least two weeks before your final departure date, or whatever your contract requires.

You may not receive any formal response or acknowledgement of your letter. That’s okay. If your company is like most, your letter will be kept on file along with the rest of your employee information and may remain there for many years to come. Your letter may be checked and re-read before the company provides a formal reference to a future employer, so keep this in mind.

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