Perhaps you have found a new job or maybe you simply need to move on from your current one, either way, you are ready to leave your workplace. But before this excitement can begin, there is still the matter of writing a resignation letter informing your employer of your intention to leave. This is easier said than done, but it does not need to be a daunting and awkward experience.
Within this article, we will go through everything you need to know. This includes the correct resignation letter format, top tips to writing the best letter, and a registration letter template.
Why is an employment resignation letter important?
Though a resignation letter is not a legal requirement, it is still a fundamental aspect of leaving your job. A formal resignation letter officially announces the end of your contract and your intention to leave the company. This official announcement is important for company records, as well as your own.
Furthermore, a resignation letter is a courtesy essential to maintaining a positive relationship with your employer once you have left. This is vital because future employers can carry out background checks when assessing your suitability for the role. These background checks include past employment and references. So even if you hate your job and are counting down the days to go, keep that to yourself, and write that resignation letter. It is always safer to be remembered as a friendly face.
What should be within a resignation letter?
The best notice of resignation letters are simple and to the point, but there are important pieces of information that you should include. These are:
- The End Date – You must include the exact date that you will be leaving the organization. This is the main point of the resignation letter so this should be within the first paragraph.
- Your Position – Since your letter will be kept in company files and HR needs to process your resignation, you should include your position for clarity. Again, this should be within the first paragraph.
- Your Notice – Normally two-weeks is an acceptable period (hence the term ‘two weeks notice letter’), but this can depend on your employment contract. Ensure that you have consulted your contract before drafting the letter and mention your notice period within the first paragraph.
- Reasons for Leaving – You should keep this brief, there is no need to criticize your current job or boast about your new one.
- Date, Address, Name – This is of both yourself and your employer. Remember that this is a professional letter and you should treat it as such by using the standard business format.
- Contact Information – Just because you are ending your employment at the company does not mean you need to burn bridges completely. Leave your contact information behind; you never know what will happen in the future.
- Thank You – This should be to your employer, state that you have enjoyed your time and express your gratitude for the experience
Resignation Letter Do’s
Throughout your notice or within your resignation letter do:
- Offer to Help – This can range from helping to find a replacement and training new staff in drafting transactional documents. Your employer will remember you as being cooperative and friendly, which your reference will thank you for. This can be demonstrated in the resignation letter template.
- Obtain all the Information you Need – By querying the benefits you are entitled to within the job resignation letter. (e.g. employee benefits, entitled salary, vacation or sick pay, etc.)
- Speak Positively – About the company to colleagues; people talk and you do not want the news to spread about your frustrations with the business and its people after you have left.
- Say Goodbye -- Send a farewell letter to your colleagues after the resignation and say proper goodbyes to your close co-workers. However, you should ensure that this is not before you have sent your resignation letter to your employer – your employer must be the first to know!
- Delete your Online Presence – On company laptops and computers. This includes history, saved passwords, forms and cookies, settings, personal emails, and information.
- Clear your Desk Discreetly – There is no point in making a scene, spread the manual work throughout your notice period.
- Proofread -- You do not want your professional two weeks notice letter to be riddled with typos and grammar mistakes.
- See – Our resignation letter template for inspiration
Resignation Letter Don’ts
Remember you want to leave a good impression, even after you have resigned so don’t:
- Write your Letter Whilst Angry – This will be kept within company files; you never know if it will crop up and haunt you later in life. Even if you despise your work, ensure your notice letter is polite – you only have two weeks left anyway!
- Talk about your New Job – Other colleagues may also be looking to move on and may feel disheartened, and there is a risk of looking boastful and arrogant.
- Waffle – It is a professional document, stick to the point. (see the resignation letter template below)
- Use a Weird Font – Stick to Arial, Times New Roman, and Calibri using font sizes between 10 -12.
A Resignation Letter Template
There is no one size fits all rule for resignation letters, but we have prepared a resignation letter template for your convenience. There are many other resignation letter samples out there, please feel free to consult them all before drafting your notice of resignation letter.
Paragraphs written between asterisks are optional but recommended.
[Your Full Name]
[Your Full Address]
[Date Letter was Written; e.g. 3rd July 2020]
Dear [Full Name],
I am writing to inform you of my resignation from the position of [Your Position Title] at [Company Name]. In accordance with the terms stated in my employment contract, I will continue working for [Company] for [Notice Period]. My last day of employment will be [Date].
*Please inform me of any relevant employee benefits or holiday pay I have accrued.*
My time at [Company] has been invaluable; I have learnt a great deal and have deeply enjoyed being part of the team. I would like to express my deepest gratitude for all the opportunities I have had during my employment here. This has not been an easy decision to make but I believe [Reason for Leaving or Simply ‘it is time to move on’].
Please let me know if there is anything I can do during my notice period to ease this transition or if there is anything you would like me to focus on during this time.
*My contact details are [Phone Number or Email]. I would love to stay in touch with you after my employment contract ends.*
Thank you again for all you have done, and I do hope that I can rely on you for a reference.
I wish you all the best for the future.
What should you do before writing a resignation letter?
But before you rush off to your manager, resignation letter in hand, there are things you should do prior to the official handover.
It is never a good idea to hand your manager a notice letter out of the blue. To keep that good impression, you must discuss your intentions before handing over your two-weeks’ notice. Face-to-face discussions offer more closure for both you and your employer and can organically kick-start your transition to leaving the firm.
How to prepare for your ‘initial meeting’ with your employer
Before the ‘initial meeting’ and your meeting handing over your resignation letter(the ‘official handover meeting’), ensure that you have booked an appropriate length of time to discuss your intentions with your manager.
Even if you love your job and your employer, it can still be an awkward conversation to have. The best thing to do here is to plan and to practice. Prepare and go over how you are going to open the discussion with your manager; after this, the conversation should flow naturally. Ensure that you are professional and direct, and fully and firmly express your intentions.
How to prepare for your ‘official handover meeting’ with your employer
For the official handover, make sure you print out the resignation letter a good time ahead of your discussion. It is also a good idea to print out multiple copies – one will go to HR after your meeting and one should be kept for your reference.
It is impossible to predict how either the initial meeting or the official handover will go, so you must prepare for all the likely eventualities.
For example, there is a possibility that, despite your two-week notice of resignation, your employer will ask you to leave straight away at either meeting. To prepare for this scenario, it would be good sense to draft the notice letter before the initial meeting. This way you can quickly and officially leave the firm at a moment’s notice. If you are told to leave immediately, do not make a scene; back up your ongoing projects, remove your online presence, and clear out your desk.
There is also a chance that your manager will ask you to stay. This could be for a specific period of time until a replacement can be found or indefinitely(perhaps with added benefits). This depends on you and your future commitments, but if you rescind your notice letter completely, bear in mind that your career progression at that company could be jeopardized. Superiors could be wary about your divided loyalties.
Resignation Emails: An Alternative
Given the technological advances, more people are now sending resignation emails. This is completely fine, but you should ensure that you follow all the same rules as you would a formal resignation letter.
Here is a popular video on writing simple resignation letters that can easily be translated to resignation emails:
Can my letter of resignation be rejected by my employer?
As long as you have acted in accordance with your employment contract, your employer cannot legally refuse to accept your resignation letter.
The Relevance of COBRA when you Resign
COBRA stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act 1985. Please bear in mind COBRA’s eligibility criteria:
- COBRA is only eligible for employers who offer health insurance through a help plan which is subject to COBRA.
- You must have been enrolled within the health care program before opting to leave employment.
- There must be 20 or more employees eligible for the health care plan. Remember not all employees are eligible – it is not an automatic benefit.
- This number (20) can vary from state to state, please ensure you check your specific state law.
- If you are entitled to health insurance under your new employer, then COBRA under your former employer will not continue.
Your voluntary termination of employment will trigger COBRA coverage. Within 30 days of your resignation, your employer will have notified the relevant insurance company. Following this, the plan administrator will contact you within 14 days. If you are eligible for COBRA, your coverage will last for 18 months for you and your covered dependents.
What should I do as an employer?
As an employer, it can be frustrating when an employee leaves seemingly out of the blue, but it is important to act gracefully and professionally during the notice period.
During the initial meeting, you should stress that the employee must put all relevant details discussed in writing and send the letter to HR or during the official handover. You should also discuss how to publicize the news to the company. This includes who first delivers the information, in what manner, and when. You could consider writing a resignation acceptance letter for your company’s records. Again, this is something HR can do.
In terms of the running of the business, assess whether the employee will be able to finish ongoing projects within their notice period. If this is not possible, you should evaluate whether a replacement is needed or whether the remaining work can be spread amongst the team. This can be decided quickly.
If the employee is perceived to be a threat to your business, you do have the option of asking them to leave immediately(unless this is excluded in the employment contract). However, you should be aware of the message this would send to the other members of staff. This is quite a drastic measure.
Importantly, remember that this is also a positive time for your(soon to be) former employee, so ensure that you congratulate them on their career progression. You could also suggest a party or after-work drinks so that the employee can celebrate their time working at your company and properly say farewell to their co-workers. This will not only be important for the employee but make the company seem to have a warm and collaborative atmosphere.
How to host an exit interview
It may be a good idea to host an exit interview before the employee leaves. Exit interviews can provide a wealth of information on employee satisfaction and can help you improve your business to maintain a high employee retention rate. Furthermore, an employee who is about to leave is less likely to lie or sugar coat their feedback.
Normally, this is carried out by members of HR, but you can lead this interview too. If so, ensure that a member of HR is in the room with you. You should make sure that you remind employees that there will be no negative consequences regardless of what is said – this is a self-improvement exercise and you want honest answers.
You want to ask open questions covering a range of different topics. Questions to consider include:
- What were your main reasons for searching for a new job?
- What drew you toward your future employer?
- Did you have any concerns regarding the daily affairs of the company? If so, did you communicate this with our available support networks? How did they help you?
- What are the key characteristics and skills we should look for when finding your replacement?
If there are any repeated answers which worry you, you should consider organizing ‘stay interviews’ with current employees.
Either way, this will be one of the last interactions you will have with your employee. Make sure that it ends on a positive note and thank them for all they have done.
So, what should you do next?
If you are thinking about leaving your company soon, keep in mind that notifying your employer of your leave is the first step. Just like many other things, there is a certain etiquette to writing a resignation letter or email. When you think you are ready to resign, hopefully you are able to do so properly so you can leave behind the best image of yourself to your former employer.
There are also responsibilities that the employer must be aware of when an employee is leaving. This is to ensure the best possible transition for both the employee and employer during this period. Writing a resignation letter may seem like an extra step at first, but it can potentially help you go a long way in your future career.