While most employment in the U.S. is "at will," if you want to leave your job on good terms and possibly use your employer as a reference in the future, you should consider handing in a resignation letter to formalize your departure.
A letter of resignation is a short document that indicates your intention to quit, when your last day will be, and how you will be handing over your duties. Below is a simple guide on what you should include in your letter.
Resignation Letter Example:
Your name and position:
Dear Mr./Ms. [insert name]
I would like to inform you that I am resigning from my position as [insert position name], effective [insert date].
Thank you for all the support and opportunities you have provided me over the years. I have truly enjoyed my time working at [insert company name] and am grateful for the encouragement you have given me to pursue my personal and professional goals.
I will do everything I can to complete my current projects and train other team members to take over my duties. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to help during this transition period.
I wish the company continued success for the future and hope to stay in touch.
[signature for hard copy]
How to Write a Resignation Letter:
1. Identify yourself.
This may seem superfluous but your resignation letter is an official document that should include your full name and position at the company.
2. State your intention to resign.
The first paragraph of the letter should include your resignation statement and should specify your last working day. This should be short and simple. Do not include a reason for your decision.
3. Give thanks.
In the second paragraph, thank your employer for the opportunities you have been given at your time with the company. Describe some of the things you enjoyed most about working there.
4. Offer to assist with the handover.
In the third paragraph, mention your willingness to make the transition easier for the company. Offer to complete all your current projects, train coworkers, or perform other duties if required.
5. Sign your letter.
If you are handing in a hardcopy of your resignation letter, remember to sign at the bottom.
Two Weeks' Notice Letter vs. Resignation Letter:
Essentially, a two week's notice letter and a resignation letter are the same thing. The purpose of the document is to inform your employer that you will be leaving your job on a specific date.
With a two weeks' notice letter, your date of departure is two weeks from the date you hand in your letter. A resignation letter is different in that you can indicate your intention to leave on whatever date you like. This is usually between five days and four weeks.
The Purpose of a Resignation letter:
While it is not a legal requirement, providing your employer with a resignation letter allows the company to facilitate a smooth transition. Depending on when you hand in your letter, the company will have enough time to find a suitable replacement or train a coworker to perform your duties.
A resignation letter also serves as an official document for HR and your employee file. Even if you give verbal confirmation of your intention to quit, many companies require a written and signed document to process your exit benefits.
What to Avoid:
- Don't provide a reason for your resignation.
- Don't brag about your new job.
- Don't be negative about your managers or coworkers.
- Don't disrespect the company.
Feeling unprepared for your departure? Read our article on How to Quit a Job.
Is it necessary to write a resignation letter when you quit a job?
No, most employment in the U.S. is "at will" which means you can leave your job at any time. However, it is a professional courtesy to provide a resignation letter stipulating the date on which you will be leaving.
When should I hand in my resignation letter?
You should hand in your resignation letter when you are officially quitting your job. This will serve an official document for HR.
Should you give a reason why you are leaving in a resignation letter?
No, your resignation letter should simply state that you are resigning and clearly indicate your last day of work.
What should I include in my resignation letter?
- Your full name and position at the company.
- An introduction paragraph stating your intention to resign.
- The date on which you will be leaving.
- A paragraph thanking your employer for the opportunities you have been given.
- A paragraph mentioning your willingness to assist with the transition.
- Your signature.
What is the purpose of a resignation letter?
The purpose of a resignation letter is to provide official notice to your employer of your intention to resign. It should stipulate the date you will be leaving and how you intend to hand over your duties.
What is the difference between a two weeks' notice letter and a resignation letter?
Essentially, they are the same. They are both used to indicate your intention to resign. A two weeks' notice letter is given 10 business days before your departure while a resignation letter can be given at any time.
Can I quit without a resignation letter?
Yes, most employment in the U.S. is "at will" which means you can quit at any time without handing in a resignation letter. However, some companies do require written confirmation of your intention to quit.