Maybe you just landed a dream job, or maybe you’re quitting to backpack around the world. Perhaps your side hustle is turning into your full-time-gig. Whatever the reason, you’re ready to hand in your two week notice letter, then walk out that door and not look back.
But, of course, you also want to maintain a good relationship with your old company and your manager. With the rapid pace with which people change jobs nowadays, you never know when you may cross paths with your boss or coworkers in the future.
The overwhelming majority of HR managers surveyed by OfficeTeam (86 percent) said the way you quit your job affects your future career opportunities. Which means no quitting via Facebook post, walking out without notice, or popping the emergency chute on the plane, grabbing a beer and sliding out of your career in a stream of curses.
Here's how to write a two week notice that will get the job done — without burning any bridges.
Writing a resignation letter isn’t just polite. Many companies actually require one as part of the exit process so they have proof you’re voluntarily quitting your job. Technically, you don’t need to write anything more than that you’re leaving, and when your last day of work will be.
Of course, it’s also nice to add a few words of appreciation for the opportunity and the experience. Think of your two week notice more like a thank you letter. Even if you hated your job, it doesn’t hurt to pour on a bit of honey and thank your boss for the chance to gain experience.
What to leave out: You don’t need to go into too much detail about your future plans. You shouldn’t get emotional or accusatory. And you really shouldn’t turn your resignation letter into a critique of the company, or a laundry list of everything you hated about your job.
Brevity is your friend. Remember the old adage: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.”
With that in mind, scour out anything in your resignation letter that isn’t 100% professional. After all, it’s going in your permanent record. Save the rants for your friends at your next happy hour.
Now let’s get into the nitty gritty of actually writing the resignation letter. It has three parts:
Each of these sections doesn’t need to be more than a sentence or two, and you can play around with the flow as much as you like. See below for a sample letter that ties everything together professionally.
(Be sure to use basic business letter format.)
This is straightforward — tell your boss that you’re quitting, and when.
Set a firm date in your letter. Ideally it should be two weeks from the day you resign, so there’s enough time to tie up any loose ends and get started finding your replacement. You can also add a brief notes as to why you’re leaving if you like.
I’m writing to let you know of my resignation from my position as JOB TITLE from COMPANY X. My last day of work will be DATE.
OPTIONAL: This has been a difficult decision, but [I’ve decided to take a position elsewhere/I’ll be going back to school full time/my family and I are moving to Nicaragua/I’m launching my own line of custom stuffed animals].
You probably have unfinished business that needs to be wrapped up, or duties that need to be delegated to coworkers. Let your boss know you don’t plan to leave the team in chaos by offering to help out with the transition.
Over the next two weeks, I will wrap up my work on all my projects, and make sure everything is prepared for someone else to take over my duties. I’m happy to help however I can to hand off my responsibilities, and to train my replacement during the transition if need be. If you have any additional questions, you can reach me at PHONE NUMBER or EMAIL ADDRESS.
End on an upbeat note, even if you’re really over your job. There’s a silver lining to every situation — whether that’s working with some great people, developing your skills or just gaining new experience in an industry.
I appreciate the chance to work with you and develop my skills over the past years. I wish you and the rest of the staff well. Thank you for your support in this transition.
Unless you’re a remote worker, best practice is to meet with your manager in person and hand-deliver a physical copy of your two week notice. If you don’t come into the office, schedule a phone call with your boss to let him or her know, then email your official two week notice to your boss and the HR department.
Sending an email resignation letter should be last resort — this is really one of those conversations that’s best had in person or over the phone.
When you’re ready for the big day, print out and sign two copies of the letter: one for your immediate supervisor, and one for the Human Resources department of your company.
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