How to Compose a Resignation Letter

Congratulations! Beginning a new professional chapter is exciting. You want to make sure that your transition goes smoothly and that you enact due diligence at every stage of the process. Writing your letter of resignation is an important step. Before you begin, take a look at your HR manual and review your current company’s policies about departures so that you can generate a strategic timeline and get any information you may need.

You want to make sure that you understand the policy on how much paid time off you have accrued, for example. In many cases there is a metric that will help you figure out what you have earned so far this year. But if you have any questions about this, you can confidentially pose them to your colleagues in HR before you resign to your supervisor.   

When you are ready to meet with your supervisor to share your exciting news, take your letter of resignation with you. It serves as formal documentation that you are resigning. Although it is a simple correspondence, there are some components that you want to make sure you include. Here’s how to get started.

Must Haves  

Your letter needs to include the date, your job title, your intention to resign and the last day you will work in that position. You should give your supervisor a full ten working days, if possible. You want to be as courteous as you can and facilitate a neat and tidy exit for yourself.

To that end, you want to thank your supervisor and express your appreciation to your soon-to-be-former company. Despite any negativity that may have mounted over the course of your tenure, you want to show you appreciation for the opportunities that the position afforded you.

This period of transition over the next two weeks can be a wonderful and enlightening time where you get the chance to talk with your soon-to-be former colleagues about your shared experiences. But you set the tone for that. So aim to make it a reflective and a positive tone.   

May Haves

If you and your boss have a strained relationship, and you have some major projects in the works such as an event, a mailing or any other hardline deliverable, you may want to outline some ideas for how you will hand off your part of that project. You don’t have to do this, but if you feel that it will make your resignation conversation easier, then include a general reference to how some of those responsibilities may transition.

Keep in mind, you are doing this for your own benefit, so don’t stress too much. Figuring out how to move forward with the open position is really your manager’s responsibility.   

You don’t have to indicate details about why you started looking for a new job or what about this position didn’t work for you. You can do so if you wish, but keep in mind you will have an exit interview where you will have the chance to discuss this with your HR colleagues.


Your letter of resignation is a formal document that will go into your personnel file. Make sure it has all the necessary details, and then keep it upbeat and brief. Best wishes and good luck!