You feel like you’re stagnating. You’ve been at the same job for years on end.
It used to motivate you and fill you with purpose and joy. But now you dread the daily commute and spend your working days wishing it was the weekend.
It’s time to leave your current job, jump into the passion economy, and start on a new opportunity that excites you to get out of bed in the morning.
Leaving your job isn’t as simple as walking out the front door and never coming back and saying “yes” to your new job offer. To depart in good graces, you’ll want to put in your two week’s notice and write a formal resignation letter.
Don’t worry, this letter is quite simple to write and can actually be a cathartic and valuable experience.
Below we dive into the ins and outs of writing your resignation letter, so you can leave your old job in style, and start the new job that you love as soon as possible.
What is a Resignation Letter?
A professional resignation letter is a formal notification letter that states your intent to resign from your current position. It typically includes the following information:
- It states the fact that you’re resigning, including your timeline
- It states the last day you’ll work, and what you’ll do to help ease the transition
- It highlights what you learned in your role and expresses your gratitude
- It includes you and your employers contact information, and your old company name
Before you give your resignation letter, you’ll need to put in your two weeks’ notice (in the US). You can’t just hand over your formal letter and flee your office, never to return again.
Do I Need to Write a Resignation Letter?
The company you’re working for might not require a letter of resignation. For some jobs, it’s 100% necessary and part of the quitting process.
Other companies will require nothing more than two week’s notice (in the US). Put in your notice and start the transition towards better and brighter things. But, even if it’s not a requirement that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write one.
Just like sending out holiday cards to past clients, or thank you emails, it’s a solid practice to get into.
In some cases, a past employer might become a future client. Or, they can offer you an incredible referral or testimonial that’ll help aid in your transition to a new role.
Even if your goal is to secure a new remote position, you can bet your new employer will check with your past references.
How to Write a Resignation Letter and Join the Passion Economy
A well-written resignation letter can help you depart on good terms. It can assist with the process of moving on, and help to fully close the door on your past employment experience.
Here’s a five-step process you can follow to write an incredible resignation letter:
1. State the Facts of Your Resignation
Your resignation letter shouldn’t come as a surprise. Before you submit your resignation letter, you should speak with your boss or manager about resigning.
So, your employer should already know you’re leaving by the time they received your letter. Right away, you should start your letter stating that you’re leaving and when your last day of work will be.
You can also mention your future plans, along with the reason you’re leaving, but this isn’t a requirement.
2. Express Your Gratitude for the Time Spent Working
Once the facts are on the table, it’s time to turn up the gratitude.
Even if it wasn’t the perfect job, there were probably some elements you enjoyed or some new skills you learned.
Spend some time with the following questions:
- What did you enjoy about this job?
- What new skills did you learn?
- Were there any challenges you were grateful for?
- How did this job influence your career?
Even if you’re at the point where you despise your job and hate your co-workers, and can't wait to move on to a new position, this isn't the place to share these thoughts.
3. Communicate the Next Steps
Before you pack your bags and board the next flight out, there’s one last thing you’ll need to do.
If you want to leave your current position on the best of terms, then you’ll want to lay out a successful departure plan. This includes finishing up any remaining projects, training a new team member to take over your current position, or even help with hiring your replacement.
Even though two weeks might seem like forever when you’re rearing to go, it can be difficult for your employer to transition someone else to your role in that short of a transition period.
One option to help ensure a smooth transition is leaving yourself open to be contacted by your former employer. This will speak volumes about you as a person, plus it’ll almost certainly lead to a positive review from your employer.
Resignation Letter Tips
By including all the elements above you’ll have a rock solid resignation letter.
Here are some additional tips related to formatting, general best practices and a resignation letter template:
Keep Your Letter Short
When you’re writing your resignation letter, you should keep it as short, concise, and to the point as possible. Your overarching goal is to write a short and simple letter that offers a positive perspective on your employment.
Ideally, your entire letter will fit on a single typed and printed page.
You Don’t Have to Include the Reason
There are all kinds of reasons to resign from your current position. Maybe you’re moving across the country, you found an incredible remote position, you got a new job offer, you’re taking a sabbatical, or the blog you built is starting to take off.
Note, that you don’t have to include personal reasons for your resignation, just that fact that you’re resigning will do.
Please, Edit Your Letter First
Chances are, this will be one of your final points of interaction with your existing company, so you’ll want it to be on good terms.
Make sure you read through your letter before you mail it in or give it to your boss. There’s nothing that’ll diminish your credibility faster than handing in a letter that’s riddled with typos.
If you’re not confident in your grammar skills, then run your letter through a tool like Grammarly or ProWritingAid. These tools will clean up your writing and make it seem like you have an English degree.
Use Professional Formatting
Beyond correcting typos and grammar mistakes you’ll want to format your letter the right way.
This includes the following:
- Use a traditional font like Times New Roman or Arial
- Use a font size of 12, single spaced
- Have a single line space between each paragraph
- Include a header with contact information
- Use your manager or boss’s formal title (like Dear Mr., Ms., or Mrs.)
- Type and sign your name at the end of your notice letter
Email or Snail Mail?
The best course of action when is to resign in person and then hand in a hard copy of your letter of resignation. However, you might be in a situation where you can’t speak to your manager in person, or you need to resign right away, then you can also send in your resignation letter via email.
Follow the same guidelines highlighted in this post if you’re going to be sending an email.
Sample Resignation Letter Template
Even with all the information above, maybe you still want a sample letter where you can just fill in the blanks,
Here's a quick resignation letter sample you can use:
Dear Mr. Manager’s Name,
- State that you’re resigning and the exact date of your last day.
- Thank your employer and cite examples of what you’ve learned at this position.
- Spell out how you’ll assist with the transition period.
- Express your gratitude once again.
You can find more Samples in my post on Samples of Resignation Letters.
What NOT to Include In Your Resignation Letter?
If you include all the elements above, you’ll be on your way towards a well-written resignation letter that makes your employer smile.
However, there are some things you should definitely not include in your letter. Your resignation letter is not a place to vent, complain, “make a point”, or critique.
Even if you do have a ton of complaints and resentment about your old job, it’s not the time or place to do this. These belong in your journal, or as lessons to be learned that’ll influence your future career decisions.
Not, in your resignation letter that’s supposed to leave things on a good note.
When to Deliver Your Resignation Letter?
If possible, it’s best to deliver your resignation letter in person. It’s a sign of respect and appreciation. Ideally, you’ll put in your two weeks notice and deliver your resignation letter to your manager or boss soon after.
However, in some cases, meeting in person might be an impossibility. Maybe you work for a huge corporation, or your manager is never in the office. In these situations, sending a resignation email will suffice.
What to Do After You Resign?
Putting in your resignation letter should be a joyous time. You’re leaving behind your 9 to 5 and stepping into the new world of the passion economy.
Maybe you’ve already been plotting your escape for some time.
- You’ve started a blog and have seen your traffic and passive income levels rising.
- You’ve created a standout freelancing profile on Upwork and have already been getting paid for gigs.
- You’ve started a podcast and have secured your first sponsorship.
- You’ve been exploring a handful of remote job boards and you have a few interviews already lined up.
There are near-endless ways to earn a living online by sharing your passion with the world.
For example, Daniel DiPiazza was able to quit his 9 to 5, and his tutoring side hustle to start a thriving freelance education business–he now earns over $50k per month from his online endeavors.
Or how about Hayley, who was able to quit her 9 to 5 commercial real estate job, book a one-way ticket to Bali and start her dream business where she makes more income while working less hours.
Waking up every morning to a job or business you’re passionate about is closer than you think. It all starts with finally putting in your two weeks notice and using the post above to write a stellar resignation letter.