A Complete Guide to Writing Your Letter of Resignation

Writing a letter of resignation is rarely easy whatever your reasons for leaving your current job. You’ll want to get your formal resignation letter right if you want to leave on good terms and secure a valuable reference for the future.

Before you hand in your notice

  1. Have a plan

When it comes to leaving your job and handing in your resignation letter, don’t get ahead of yourself. You won’t want to land yourself in a difficult position further down the line so jumping the gun is not a good idea. Even if you have received a job offer over the phone from your new employer, you shouldn’t give in your resignation letter until you have received written confirmation of your offer. This can be either as an email or a letter.

  1. Check your notice period

Before resigning you should be aware of your notice period. Check your employment contract as it will usually be stated there.

If your contract doesn’t mention a notice period, then your statutory notice is set by law at one week for every year of employment to a maximum of 12 weeks.

You may want to negotiate your notice period, especially if your new employer wants you to start within a certain timescale, this is best approached in the initial resignation meeting. If you have any remaining holiday entitlement, you may be able to use this to reduce your notice period.

How to write a resignation letter

When writing your resignation letter, it’s better to keep it concise. Explain when you would like your notice period to end (in-line with the terms of your current contract) and include a short thank you if you wish. You can also ask your Manager or human resources anything you may want to be clarified such as what they would like you to do about returning company equipment.

You don’t need to go into why you want to leave your job in the letter, this is better to discuss in person during your resignation meeting. Use our resignation letter sample below or search for resignation letter templates online to help you get started.

Sample resignation letter

MANAGER’S NAME
COMPANY ADDRESS
DATE

Dear MANAGER’S NAME

I would like to hand in my notice to resign from my position of JOB TITLE, with effect from DATE OF LETTER. In accordance with my contract of employment, I propose to continue to work until EMPLOYMENT END DATE (check contract for notice period).

Thank you for the opportunities you have given me during my time working for you. If there is any further information that you require from me to make the transition easier, please let me know.

I would appreciate if you could advise me about the arrangements for handing back company equipment, company car etc, and handing over any outstanding work and responsibilities.

Yours sincerely

YOUR NAME

Delivering your letter of resignation

Your letter shouldn’t be an alternative to the awkward “I’m leaving” conversation with your boss. It’s almost always better to inform your employer of your resignation in a face to face meeting. You can then have a discussion with them about your reasons and hand them your formal resignation letter so they have it in writing.

This exit interview is also a good opportunity for you to establish what date your employment will end. Some businesses will want you to work your full notice periods and some may only want you to complete a short notice period. You should also think about what you’ll do if you receive a counter offer from your current employer.

Resigning during or after maternity leave

Being on maternity leave may make it difficult for you to have a face to face meeting with your manager. Instead, you may want to discuss your resignation over the phone. You will still have to email your resignation letter afterwards, so your employer has it in writing.

Preparing yourself for a reaction

It’s difficult to tell how your boss will take the news of your resignation. They may be surprised, disappointed or even angry upon hearing the news. However, it’ important that you remain calm throughout the meeting and keep in mind your reasons for leaving the company.

Your resignation may also be met with a counteroffer. This could involve a tempting salary increase or a promotion.

Top Tip: Be wary of counteroffers. You had your reasons for leaving and any issues that you were facing aren’t going to magically disappear if you accept a counteroffer. In many instances, those who do accept a counteroffer find themselves job hunting again only a few months later.

Bringing it all together

Writing your resignation and handing in your notice can be daunting, however, it should be a very straightforward process. By following our steps above you can’t go far wrong.

Always conduct yourself professionally throughout your resignation and when working your notice period. You may want a reference from your manager one day soon.  Plus, you never know when you will come across them or your colleagues in your future career.

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