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How to Resign from a Job
Whether you're leaving to start a new journey—literally or career-wise—or leaving with a bad taste in your mouth, writing a resignation letter is the right thing to do. So, why not write the best one? Saying "Sorry to leave you hanging" isn't exactly the best way to close ties, and, even if you are sorry, that won’t sound as sincere as you may or may not mean it.
Coming up with the right way to say goodbye can feel agonizing, but we’ve put together a mad libs-style generator and a few templates below to take the pain out of parting ways.
Tell this resignation letter generator a little bit about yourself, the job you’re leaving, and what you’ll be up to next and we’ll provide you with the how to write the perfect email to say “I quit”:
What does a good resignation letter include?
Overall, when giving your formal notice of resignation in writing, it’s important to be authentic and true to your experience. If you have a strong emotional connection with the company or your coworkers, speak from the heart. Aside from that, and more generally speaking, there’s an anatomy to follow with an email this delicate:
- Include the effective date and be specific. With most jobs, the expectation is a two week notice period but it’s best to clearly list the date of your last day. This is usually enough time to complete the termination process and complete or hand off all loose ends for a smooth wrap-up. In most cases, your employer will also use this time to find a suitable replacement.
- Explicitly state that you are leaving. This sounds obvious but still needs to be said. If your letter of resignation is not clear, it can lead to awkward confusion.
- State your reason for leaving. This is optional part of the resignation process but it’s highly recommended that you get ahead of the narrative instead of leaving it to speculation.
- Show gratitude for your time there. Even in the worst job situations, there’s usually some semblance of a silver lining. No matter how many hard feelings you might have, try to focus on the positives. After all, you’re leaving it behind.
- Sign and seal! Close out the note with well wishes and your signature (or email signature).
Additional best practices to ensure a graceful departure:
- Make sure your resignation letter includes every appropriate person based on your company. In less formal organizations, a direct manager is probably sufficient. At larger companies, with formal policies, it’s a good idea to include human resources on all communication that pertains to employment status.
- In an effort to maintain positive relationships with employees, your company may want to perform an exit interview with a series of questions regarding your personal experience at the company as well as areas that management can improve. This is a good time to voice feedback about your current employer and what might have improved certain aspects of your time there. Regardless of whether or not you have positive feelings toward your employer, it's advisable to keep your feedback constructive as to not burn the bridge.
- Come up with a plan for your final assignments. Unless you’re being laid off or your position is being eliminated, when you leave a job, the work you were doing doesn't just disappear. After you've given your formal resignation, leave a good legacy behind by ironing out the final details with sufficient time and a smooth transition period.
- Provide a way for former team members to contact you. Keeping up with your network is important and you never know when you might need to reach out for resources or references.
Short resignation letter templates for three scenarios
1. New job resignation letter
There isn’t necessarily data to support this, but it’s probably safe to assume that most resignation letters fall into the scenario of leaving one job for another. If that’s the case, it can be good to include some mention of what your next role entails and how that fulfills something you’re passionate about. You don’t need to state your next company name or employer in your formal letter of resignation unless it’s relevant for some reason.
Here’s an example of a resignation letter you could use when you’re quitting your job for a new one:
2. Retirement letter
If you’re retiring in your 60s, chances are there is already a clear path in place for you and your employer. But with early retirement becoming a widely accepted life pursuit or career exit strategy, this notice might come as more of a surprise to your current team. If you’re retiring at 40—or as early as 35—there may be more questions about the whats, whys, and hows of your future plans.
Here’s an example of a resignation letter you might use if you’re leaving to retire at any age:
3. Quitting a job you hate
Is there a right way to quit a job you can’t stand? Typically, it depends on the reason you can’t stand your situation. In some cases, leaving your job is a great time to provide your boss or organization with some much-needed constructive feedback, keyword being constructive.
Try the line:
“Since we are parting ways, I want to take the opportunity to let you know what I could see improving [XYZ process or experience].”
That being said, you should consider your professional reputation and avoid being petty or potentially burning bridges. However, if you are feeling devilish about your departure from the “Hell hole” you’ve been working in, here’s a resignation letter you could draft in advance to get your hard feelings out of the way:
The best resources for making a career change
There’s a lot to love about change, but it can also leave a lot of unknowns to worry about. Having the right resources from those who have first-hand experience can make a huge difference. Here are a few go-to resources for different times of transition in your career:
For exploring jobs and finding/landing your dream career: The Muse
The Muse was started by Alex Cavoulacos and Kathryn Minshew, who worked in high-tech and healthcare, respectively. They started the website as a trustworthy resource for researching jobs, careers, and companies. You can browse for new jobs on their site but also look up career advice, coaching, and helpful blog articles.
For reducing stress and improving work-related satisfaction: Thrive Global
Thrive Global was started in response to the burnout culture in an effort to help people overcome the mental health effects of stressful jobs. While their message to organizations is to emphasize healthier employees are more productive employees, they also have tools for unplugging and recharging at work as well as working smarter instead of harder.
For starting a side hustle: Fiverr
Fiverr helps connect freelancers with people searching for their services (read our in-depth review of what it’s like to sell and buy on Fiverr). For anyone starting out as an independent contractor or looking to build out their book of clientele, it’s the perfect place to list your skills and see what jobs are out there but it’s also a great place to see how other freelancers in your niche are marketing themselves and what they’re charging.
BONUS: Fiverr’s blog talks extensively about the future of work and their forum offers a wealth of knowledge from a deep sea of experts in gig work.
For early retirement or financial freedom: Think Save Retire
Obviously, we’re biased here, but our goal is to take the amazing financial accomplishments we’ve seen and shed light on how achievable they really are. If working for someone else is no longer working for you and you’re ready to plan for living life on your terms and your schedule, check out our resources and subscribe for the many more to come!