How to write a resignation letter

by | Mar 19, 2019 | Rock Your Writing, Rockstar Communication | 1 comment

So you want to quit your job

It’s time to move on. You’ve got a better offer. Or you’re ready to tell your boss, F*ck you and the horse you rode in on.

Whatever the reason, there’s usually a legal obligation to give written notification and a period of notice.

(Check your contract. You might want legal advice. If there’s any possibility things could go badly in future, you want a written record that you met your legal obligations when you left. I’ve used a resignation letter many years later in court, and it was vital in showing the organisation had a long history of certain behaviour.)

To figure out how to write your resignation letter, you need to know what it needs to accomplish for you.


Every situation is different

To know how best to write your letter of resignation, you need to think about:

  • What does this need to accomplish for me?
  • What do I need them to know?
  • What do I want them to know?
  • What risks are involved in anything I potentially want to say?
  • What level of risk am I willing to accept?

Let’s look at some scenarios.


Scenario 1 – You’ve told them verbally, and you’re just meeting your obligation to give written notice

(This also works when you haven’t told them verbally, and you have no interest in giving them any information about why you’re leaving. It’s professional and matter of fact.)


Hi Donna

Just letting you know that I’ll be finishing work with Dream Job as of 1 February 2019.




Keep it simple, short, and to the point. It’s hard for someone to read anything into it, the simpler you keep it.


Scenario 2 – You’ve loved working there, and you want them to know you’re grateful.


Hi Donna

Just letting you know that I’ll be finishing work with Dream Job as of 1 February 2019.

I’ve been offered an exciting role as a unicorn trainer at Even Dreamier Job.

It’s been great working with you – I’ll really miss the team!

Thanks for everything, 



Scenario 3 – You want it on the record that there are reasons you’re leaving, and you hope to create change by letting them know.


Hi Donna

 Just letting you know that I’ll be finishing work with Dream Job as of 1 February 2019.

Why I’m leaving

    • I’ve let you know my concerns that my values don’t align with the values of the company
    • I’ve struggled to work effectively with Carol and what I consider to be her micro-managing
    • I’ve let you know what’s happening but nothing has changed
    • For my own wellbeing, I’m moving on

My hopes for the company

    • I hope that future employees won’t be subjected to this treatment
    • I’d hope you get Carol some leadership training, or take disciplinary action to get her behaviour under control

I wish you all the best



Scenario 4 – You just want to stand up for yourself because you deserve better, and there’s no risk to you in doing so.


Hi Donna

Just letting you know that I’ll be finishing work with Dream Job as of 1 February 2019. 

Why I’m leaving

      • I’ve felt unappreciated
      • I believe I deserve to be treated with more respect
      • I won’t continue working somewhere where getting shouted at by my boss is allowed.



Scenario 5 – You’re hurt, you’re angry, and you want to let them know.

Be careful. What will this achieve?  What risks might it cause for you? Be very purposeful. I suggest you revisit Scenarios 1, 3, and 4, and go with one of those.

Now get that sucker written. Then go be a Unicorn Trainer.

Be free!











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