How to write a resignation letter

Professionals often find themselves wondering if the grass is greener on the other side, deciding on a new career or a career change can sometimes be the key to renewed happiness within your working life. If you are thinking about finding a new career, you’ll also be thinking about writing your resignation letter. Whether you are looking for better remuneration or a better work culture, it could be the right time to consider looking for employment elsewhere. However, a lot of professionals feel uneasy about how to approach  leaving their current role, a process that starts by submitting their resignation letter.

We’ve put together some useful advice on how to resign from your current employer once you’ve landed your new role. After you’ve done the leg work and secured yourself an exciting new job role, it’s time to hand in your resignation letter to your current manager or director. This can feel daunting to many professionals, no matter what stage of their career, but it shouldn’t be something to worry about. A well-written resignation letter can solidify a lasting relationship with your existing employer.

Often, professionals find themselves asking similar questions when they begin planning to resign, at Michael Page we have some answers for you.

What should I include in my resignation letter?

Your resignation letter acts as a formal recognition of your intent to leave the company. But, it can still be used to reflect positively on you, as it will be an enduring record after you have departed. Resignation letters do not require a huge amount of detail and should include:

  • Your name
  • Date
  • Addressee
  • Notice of termination of employment
  • When this is effective from
  • Your signature

Thanking your employer is a good note to leave on which will leave a civil and professional impression throughout the resignation process.

Resignation letter template

If you are having trouble with structuring your resignation letter, please use our resignation letter template which you can adapt based on your circumstances.

Dear [Manager’s Name],

Please accept this letter as formal notification of my intention to resign from my position as [job title] with [company name]. In accordance with my notice period, my final day will be [date of last day].

I would like to take this chance to thank you for the opportunity to have worked in the position for the past [time in employment]. I have learned a great deal during my time here and have enjoyed collaborating with my colleagues. I will take a lot of what I have learned with me in my career and will look back at my time here as a valuable period of my professional life. 

During the next [notice period in weeks] I will do what I can to make the transition as smooth as possible, and will support in whatever way I can to hand over my duties to colleagues or to my replacement. Please let me know if there is anything further I can do to assist in this process.


[Your Name]

What shouldn’t I include in my resignation letter?

Acting emotionally when writing your resignation letter isn’t a good idea. The specifics of why you have decided to leave do not need to be included, if you have any grievances and you decide to list them in your letter, this will only reflect badly on you. If you want to give specific reasons as to why you have decided to leave, a face-to-face meeting will suffice and ensures you have acted professionally throughout the process.

When should I hand in my resignation?

Delivering your resignation letter can be the most nerve-racking part of the entire process, usually this is a conversation between you and your manager, where you will hand over the printed and signed copy of your resignation letter and explain you will be moving on to pastures-new.

You should hand it in as soon as you have written confirmation of your offer from your new employer, as I’m sure they will want you to begin your probation period as soon as possible so you can start your new role.  

What should I say?

Many employees seek new opportunities because they have had discrepancies with their current line manager. If this is the case for you, then you may be expecting a frosty encounter. Keep composed and professional throughout the conversation, explaining that you are moving on to a new role and not airing any personal issues with them throughout the meeting. 

If you feel as though you need to explain yourself thoroughly, arrange an exit interview with a director or HR manager. This is your chance to productivity outline your reasons for resigning, and to hopefully improve the organisation for future employees, if they utilise the exit interview findings properly.

What happens afterwards?

Now, it is time to serve your notice period. Typically ranging from four to twelve weeks, depending on your seniority, any period of time that your employer knows explicitly that you are eager to start a new role can seem awkward. However, rest assured that managers will be very used to employees coming and going, so expect to be treated no differently to before. All that’s left to do now is to organise a leaving do and wait for a ‘sorry you’re leaving us’ card, your new job awaits.

The next steps 

If you are considering your options and looking for a new opportunity we can help you to figure out how to write a resignation letter. Alternatively, why not have a look at the growing your career section of our website, where you can learn how to work your way up the career ladder.

If you want to speak with one of our specialist recruitment consultants, get in touch with your local Michael Page office today.

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