Resigning from a job is never easy. Aside from leaving favourite colleagues and the familiarity of a current role, writing a tactful resignation letter can prove a real challenge.
Failing to plan your letter of resignation properly may well burn bridges with the company you’ve worked so hard for and taint your list of connections within that company—a record which may well help you grow your career in the future.
Here’s a guide to what to say when resigning, details on whether a resignation letter is required by law and who to address a resignation letter to.
Is a resignation letter required by law?
Letters of resignation are one of the first stages of career transformation and growth. They are not required by law in the UK, but before you opt to skip writing one, the government does recommend checking your employment contract to ensure you aren’t in breach of any agreements made when you started your job.
If you aren’t sure, try checking your induction handbook or any literature you were provided with on your first day. Your contract also might include details as to what’s expected of you when terminating your employment, so read through it again before you take any action. When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to make your resignation formal with a letter.
How to write a resignation letter
Before you sit down to write anything, you should think through your decision to leave your current role. Once you’re confident that seeking a new opportunity is the right move for you, the next step is to download the Robert Half Salary Guide so you can benchmark your remuneration package options and growth opportunities against the UK hiring market.
Taking these initial steps will put you on firm ground to negotiate any counter offers from current employers and give you added confidence in your decision. It’s also a good idea to have another job lined up before you resign so that you can transition seamlessly into a new role without any delays.
Although you can easily pull together a generic letter, it’s far more useful to create a tailored one. Try following this template resignation letter structure to ensure you include all the essential components:
- Address it to your line manager
- Begin with a statement of intent, for example: “It is with regret that I officially tender my resignation for the position of [your job title] at [company name].”
- Include the date the letter was written (preferably in the top right-hand corner of the page)
- State your contracted notice period and the date of your last day
- Tactfully give the reason for your departure: new job, personal reasons, relocating, etc.
- Include a graceful thank you to the company for the opportunity they gave you
- Write your signature at the bottom
Free sample resignation letter
(Insert Current date)
(Insert Manager’s name)
(Insert Company Name)
(Insert Company Address)
Dear (Insert Manager’s name)
Please accept this letter as formal notification of my resignation from (the position) at(company name). My last day with the company will be (date).
Before I leave, I will ensure that all my projects are completed as far as possible, and I am happy to assist in any way to ensure a smooth handover to my replacement.
I would like to thank you for the opportunity to work at (company) for (years of service). During this time I have thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere within the team, and I will miss our interactions.
While I am excited by the new opportunities that I will be pursuing in my new role, I will always remember my time at (company name) with affection. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need further information after I leave, and I would be delighted if you stay in touch.
(Your printed name)
Using these essential components, you should be able to start writing a resignation letter which feels far less cold, shows genuine regret for leaving and displays appreciation.
Once you’ve written your letter of resignation, why not submit your CV to the Robert Half team and let us help you secure a new and exciting opportunity?