Resigning from your job is never easy. We have put together some useful advice on how to seamlessly and tactfully resign from your position. If you are about to hand in your notice follow the steps outlined below.
Your resignation letter should be build with the following building block:
- Sender’s contact information
- Receiver’s contact information
- Notice of resignation of employment
- When the resignation is effective from
- Sender’s signature
Sender’s contact information and date
The letterhead of the resignation letter should contain the sender’s contact information, such as address, email and phone number. Below these details is also included the date of sending the resignation letter.
The date in the top right-hand corner is of highest relevance, because it determines when exactly the termination period begins. In order to leave the company on time, the resignation letter must have been written and received within the notice period.
Mr. John Doe
1 Example street
Receiver’s contact information
The receiver’s address goes on the first row on the left hand side of the letter. Always include the receiver’s name, name of the company and company’s address. For larger companies, it can be useful also to include the department of the receiver.
Ms. Jane Doe
2 Example street
If it is an email you send with an attached document, choose a simple subject line. The subject line should be meaningful and clearly worded. Any official document requires a proper subject line. The word “Resignation” is therefore included in the best case. It is advisable to briefly list that you are resigning your employment with the company.
The addressee of the resignation letter must also be clearly stated. A general form of address such as “Dear Sir or Madam” is therefore not suitable. It is best to address the person in charge [your superior] or someone from the personnel department. For example: Dear [Manager’s Name]
Notice of resignation of employment
This is the most important part of the entire letter of resignation and must clearly and unambiguously express your intention to resign your employment. Never write here in the subjunctive (“I would like to resign.”), but express yourself clearly. The resignation letter should always include from which position you are resigning from and also state a resignation date as well as when your last day will be in accordance with our notice period. Example:
“Please accept this letter as formal notification of my intention to resign from my position as [job title] with [company name]. In accordance with my notice period, my final day will be [date of last day]”
You are completely on the safe side if you write the date of resignation yourself in the letter of resignation.
Regardless of how you feel towards your employer or whatever the reason may be for you to want to resign your employment, it is good etiquette to thank your employer for the opportunity you had to work there. Staying in touch and building a large network makes sense for many employees. Therefore, it is respectful to add a short sentence like:
“I would like to take this chance to thank you for the opportunity I have had to work in this position and the experience I was able to gain in the company. I wish you only the best in the future.”
“I was able to learn a lot of new technical skills during my time at [company name] and I am grateful for this experience. I would like to thank you for the opportunities I have been given. I will take what I have learned with me in my career and will look back at my time here as a valuable experience for my professional life.”
In the case of an ordinary resignation, you are not required to give a reason for leaving the company. However, if you do wish to give a reason, keep the statement neutral.
“I have decided to resign from the employment relationship to pursue another career path“.
“I have made the decision to pursue a new career path, which unfortunately is no longer possible in my current role, thus I have to resign from this company.”
“Unfortunately, the field of my work activity does not correspond to my expectations, which is why I would like to pursue a new career path.“
Optional, but recommended, is the request for a confirmation of receipt. The date of receipt assures you that the notice period has been duly observed and that you can leave the company on time. To do this, it is sufficient to write:
“I hereby request that you send me a written confirmation of receipt of the notice of resignation.”
In smaller companies you can also go to HR management yourself and get a stamp of receipt on a copy of the letter of termination.
Greeting and signature
In this context, digital signatures are becoming more and more popular for employment contracts. However, this is considered invalid for the letter of termination. Not here that every letter of resignation must be signed by hand to be effective. You should not use a pencil because it is easy to erase.
Use simple yet classic greetings, such as: “Yours sincerely” or “Yours faithfully”.
The important thing to note here is that if, for example, you greet the addressee with “Dear Mr or Ms X”, then the polite greeting in the end is “yours sincerely”. However, if you use the salutation “Dear Sir or Madame”, then you use the polite phrase “yours faithfully”.
Using the typical W-questions, you can orient yourself quite well as to what all makes sense for a meaningful subject line:
- What? – Termination of employment
- To whom/whom? – …with the sample company GmbH
- When? – …as soon as possible (but this is rather optional)
This structure guarantees you a proper resignation letter that can be submitted with legal effect. But be careful: A written resignation cannot simply be cancelled. If you are unsure (for example, if the new employer has not yet signed the contract), you should wait, but perhaps have a conversation with the HR department. If the notice period is very long, there is always the possibility of having a termination agreement drawn up.