How to Write a Resignation Letter: Full Guide and Tips

Before writing any resignation letter, make sure that you are absolutely certain that leaving that firm is what you want to do, as the option to change your mind may not exist!

How to Write a Resignation Letter: Full Guide and Tips

If you are leaving due to grievances at work or lack of training, promotion/career progression, low pay, etc. all of these things should be discussed with your employer before resignation. Your employer may offer to improve your situation and resolve these issues so that you do not feel the need to leave. Resignation in the above situations should be a last resort not a first option. The employer will not necessarily be aware of your discontent so tell them. Offer them the chance to alter the situation before resigning.

If the issues cannot be resolved, then finding alternative employment before resigning is a wise move as employers always want what someone else has, and you are thus more valuable as an employee than someone who is unemployed.

How do I resign?

Generally, it is best to request a meeting with your manager, etc. to advise them in person of your desire to leave. Then you confirm the details formally in writing after the meeting or at the meeting. But it is better if the matter can be discussed in person. You can gauge the employer’s reaction and discuss any preparations that will be necessary re the hand-over of your duties to someone else.

  • Request a meeting/private talk with your manager/supervisor/boss.
  • Prepare the reasons you will give for resigning. Keep your reasons for leaving to things such as career progression, more commutable, etc. try not to make it personal. At the end of the day you may dislike your employer immensely but you may still need a reference from them. So resign with reasons that will not deter them from giving you a good reference.
  • Expect to be interrogated, but keep to the short, simple answer you prepared. Your employer may be surprised, they may not say very much as they are absorbing the impact of this unexpected event and anticipating the effects it will have on their organisation. Regardless of the reaction, stick to your answers and remain composed. Do not become emotional, defensive or confrontational.
  • Stress that you will help to transfer your duties and responsibilities over so as to minimise disruption to the firm. Acknowledge that your leaving could be somewhat inconvenient but that you will do your best to lessen the effects.
  • Consider what help you are able to give with regard to handing over your duties to your replacement. You may be required to train them or you may need to prepare notes about what needs doing and when, etc. Being helpful and co-operative in this regard will reflect you in a positive light with your employer which will work for you with regard to references, etc.
  • Make sure that if you are leaving for reasons that may be very negative with regard to your current employer that you leave your emotions at the door and try to keep things simple, direct and polite.
  • Thank your boss for the opportunities that they gave you.
  • Hand over your written resignation letter or write one later that contains any conditions you agreed to while in the meeting.
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Resigning by letter only

Whether resigning in writing or confirming your resignation in writing following a meeting, the letter should be fairly short and concise. If more details are requested you can supply those later.

Being too wordy in a resignation letter is not necessary as all your employer is interested in when you hand in your notice is the effect it will have on them and how they will replace you. They are much less interested in how you leaving them will benefit you!

What do I write

The letter should be formal and polite. It will remain on your personal record with that firm for many years so do not put anything in it you may later regret. If you harbour resentment towards your boss, perhaps write the letter you’d like to write, then throw it in the bin. Then write a second one without the ”emotion.”

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Use the usual letter style:

your name


contact details


your employers name/department

Dear HR,

RE- notice of termination of employment

For the content, start by advising them formally of your intention to leave with your last date of work with the company. This date should be calculated so that you are providing the correct amount of notice as advised in your contract. Greater notice is generally acceptable but rarely is shorter notice, unless you request permission to lower the amount of notice required giving your reasons for doing so.

Next provide a brief reason for leaving followed by your reassurance that you will assist with handing over your duties, etc.

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Finally, thank them for the opportunities they provided and wish them well for the future.

If you were with them a long time, you may wish to personalise the letter slightly but as this remains on your personnel file it is better to keep it formal and voice any ”extra” sentiments in person.

Sign off with

Yours sincerely
Your name
Job title

Be prepared for your employer to persuade you to stay with the company. They may offer you more money, more responsibility, training or promotion. If this is the case, you may wish to request 24 hours to consider their offers. When you have considered the offer, you can let your boss know your final decision. If you decide that you still wish to leave, thank them for their generous offers, but have accepted alternative employment and so have decided to follow that route. If you decide however to accept their offers, ensure the offers are put in writing before you inform your new employer you are no longer accepting their offer.

Finally when you do leave, ensure you receive all the money, benefits, holiday pay, etc. that is due to you. You may find you have to repay some holiday pay if you took your years entitlement yet only worked part of the year, etc.

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