The decision to resign is never an easy one. As a candidate, you may be fraught with worries that you are making the right choice. Will you be jumping from the frying pan into the fire, or are you sure that leaving your job is the best decision for your well-being? These are perfectly normal feelings to have when you decide to resign. After all, you don’t know what truly lies ahead. In addition, it is particularly tough if you have been in the same job for many years.
If you have decided to leave your job, you are not alone. UK workers are leaving employers in droves, with 3 out of 4 employees considering handing in their resignation.
Luckily, once you’ve decided to quit, a simple resignation letter is all that is required. Here’s what we’ll cover in this blog about resignation letter writing:
- The purpose of a resignation letter
- How to write a simple resignation letter
- Structure of a resignation letter
- Finding the right time to send or hand in your resignation letter
- Examples of simple resignation letters
If you are a casual worker planning to resign and wonder whether casuals have to give notice when leaving, the answer is no, unless you have a contract stating so. Most casuals provide notice out of goodwill so the employer can find a replacement, but it is not essential.
What is the purpose of a resignation letter?
When you decide to leave your job, you usually write and send your employer a resignation letter. The resignation letter is a formal document that notifies your employer of your decision to leave, so they have it for reference. Some resignation letters will detail the reasons for resigning, or you may decide to write a simple resignation letter.
A simple resignation letter is most applicable for employees who don’t want to provide their employer with specific details about why they wish to leave, or they may have been in the role for a short period. It is favourable to leave employment on good terms, so you should always provide a resignation letter. Do not spend too much time pouring over a resignation letter; it only needs to take a few minutes to write.
A simple resignation letter should be written in a neutral, formal tone. Leaving a company is a business decision, so there is no reason to get emotional if you do not feel that this is required. Your letter will be filed away for reference, so keep it simple and professional.
In some cases, you might have a more extended notice period than you’d like. If you are looking to find out how to ask for a short resignation period, you should speak directly to your employer. Explain your reasons for reducing your notice period and reassure them of your ability to meet your deadlines. You may also offer to help them source a replacement if it’s within your capabilities.
How to write a simple resignation letter
Just as you would put time and effort into writing your CV, you should also put effort into your resignation letter. It doesn’t need to take long, but just ensuring you send one is the important factor. These are some of our tips for writing your simple resignation letter:
- Stick to the point – Your short resignation letter should only state that you are leaving and the dates you plan to leave; you don’t need to detail the reasons for your decision.
- Keep it positive – Even if you are unhappy with your employer, your simple resignation should not show any bitterness. You can thank them for the opportunity.
- State your intentions – Let the employer know the date you intend to leave and any plans to deal with your outstanding workload.
- Simple sign-off – Keep your sign-off simple, ‘yours sincerely’ or ‘regards’ are acceptable ways to sign off a formal letter.
You might wonder whether an email would be better than a resignation letter, but that is rarely the case. You should write a letter in a Word or PDF format as the file will likely be saved in the company records. A file is also easy to send to others if the need arises. By all means, enclose the file with a brief email, but the content of your resignation should be found in your formal letter.
Nowadays, much of our communication is via text, even in the workplace. If you are wondering how you quit a job over text, the answer is that you shouldn’t do this. Employers must have formal documentation on file, and a resignation letter is one of these. Texts are informal and, therefore, not an appropriate method for informing your intentions to resign. Even if your employer accepts notifications of sickness or lateness via text, you should always send a formal letter.
When is the right time to give your manager the resignation letter?
The best way to approach your intention to resign is to speak to your manager first. The initial conversation can be an opportunity to inform them and perhaps, go into a little more detail. You can also advise and negotiate your notice term, if applicable. You should always follow the conversation up with a more formal resignation letter. It is acceptable to email or give the letter to your manager. You may also want to copy in your HR department.
Short and Simple Structure
Conversations relating to the end of a relationship are never easy, and the same applies to resigning from a job. It is the end of an era and not always a mutual decision. Your manager may support your decision, but you should also prepare for an adverse reaction. They may be sorry to see you go, which might leave them in a difficult position. The short resignation letter is the chance for you to get to the critical points of your resignation without any emotional involvement.
Outline your decision to leave
While there is no expectation that you should explore your reasons for leaving in any detail, it is often the case that hiring managers are blindsided when people resign. Offering a sentence or two of explanation can give them closure and offer a logical bookend to your time at the company. While you might wish to explain in person, interpretations can vary and their mind might not be entirely clear. Make sure that you do not include anything personal, negative or controversial within this explanation.
Share essential details
There are certain details that need to be written down. Your notice period should correspond to your employment contract and you should ideally discuss your last day with your boss before you put it down in writing. If the resignation letter comes before the chat with your manager (as is often the case), follow the letter of your contract and you shouldn't have too many problems. Make sure that you leave your personal contact details as your employer may not have these on record.
Outline organisational issues
Leaving a company is no simple matter, especially when you are integrated into various teams. The resignation letter could offer an opportunity to highlight certain resolutions to problems such as how you will conclude project work or how you will work with a potential successor. Offering to help with the induction of a successor is always a good idea and will help to smooth bruised relationships. Be a positive influence for your employer right up to your last day.
It doesn't cost you anything to say thank you. Even if you last few months have been a bit rocky, it is likely that your boss and colleagues will have invested time and effort into your work together. You will have grown and developed through your time at the company, so don't forget to say thank you. Your boss may not be fully aware of your state of mind as you leave, so show them that there are no hard feelings.
Sign off professionally by wishing your previous boss well and saying that you will make yourself available to assist with anything following your departure. Retain a warm and friendly tone. Much as you might not care any more, don't let that feeling come across in your resignation letter.
How to deal with a negative response to resignation
There are various ways that your manager might respond to your decision to resign from your job. They might be happy for you and accept your resignation without question. On the other hand, they might be displeased about your decision and even try to tempt you to stay. The best way to deal with these interactions is to keep in mind why you wish to leave. If it is a decision based on an essential cultural factor, such as age discrimination, you should rest firm in your conviction. However, if it is down to compensation and there is room for improvement, the ball is firmly in your court if you want to retract your resignation.
In some cases, employers will request that you leave straight away; this is called ‘garden leave.’ It is usually active in organisations where you have the capability of ‘stealing’ sensitive data. For instance, someone working in a recruitment agency may be tempted into taking details for clients, so they have a database to bring to their next role. They may also request that you work your entire notice period, even if it is pretty lengthy. In most cases, though, employers will be willing to come to an arrangement, as they don’t particularly want someone employed with them, who wants to move to pastures new.
Resignation letter tips
Although the simple resignation letter will only take a minute or two to read, you should know that every word will be analysed. Your ex-boss will likely have strong feelings about your departure (either way), so here are some tips around how to achieve the desired effect of a smooth departure.
- Use a template for the letter - make sure that the formatting works.
- Think about who else will read the letter - don't be too informal.
- Be firm in your language - leave no room for any change of heart.
- Be ready to leave the moment you hand the letter in.
You should be ready for the impact of your simple resignation letter. You may be given a box or asked to leave immediately or you may be begged for a few more weeks work over and above your notice. Try to be flexible if possible - your aim is to make a smooth transition to your next role, after all.
Simple resignation letter sample
Address, City, State/Province, ZIP/Postal Code
Phone Number • Email
Address, City, State/Province, ZIP/Postal Code
Dear (SUPERVISOR’S NAME):
With regrets, I will be departing from my role as [JOB TITLE] at [COMPANY NAME] in two weeks. My last day of work will be [MONTH, DAY, YEAR].
Although I’ve been very happy working at [COMPANY NAME] for [XX] years, I will be leaving in order to [REASON FOR DEPARTURE].
Working for [COMPANY NAME] has been an honour and a pleasure. I’ve learned so much, and I’ve formed friendships with my outstanding colleagues that I will always value deeply.
I’d be more than happy to do anything I can to train my replacement, should you find one before my departure. Thank you so much for having given me the golden opportunity to work at [COMPANY NAME].
- A resignation letter is essential to provide your employer with written confirmation of your intentions to leave.
- It is good to have a less formal chat with your employer before sending the resignation letter. In this way, they won’t be shocked, and you’ll be able to discuss the practicalities of your decision and end the relationship on a positive note.
- A simple resignation letter is all that is required. There is no need to go into extensive detail unless you wish to do so. Otherwise, stick to the key points.
- Your simple resignation letter should state your decision to leave, departure date, and any other vital points relating to your workload. Thank them for the opportunity, and sign off.