How to write a resignation letter

By Hannah Kingston

Monday October 5, 2020


The majority of Australians will write a resignation letter in their lifetime, in fact, according to McCrindle, the national average tenure in a job is 3 years and 4 months. So, the average Australian may write three resignation letters per decade!

So, how do you write a resignation letter and keep everything friendly between you and your superior on your way to your next challenge?

Here’s how to write a resignation letter:

Check your contract! 

If you have decided to hand in your notice, you may have something lined up or you could be taking a career break. Whatever the reason, you need to know your notice period ahead of handing in your notice, because you don’t want to leave your current employers in a difficult position, and you also need to be able to inform future potential employers as to when you will be able to join their team.

Make sure you keep it formal in tone

Keep your letter formal in tone, they are often kept on file so you want to keep it professional, succinct and to the point. Make sure that you include the date at the top of the letter so you have a record of when you formally handed in your notice. This can be referred back to if there is confusion around your end date. Keep the key details at the start, such as your end date and then expand on your points later.

Do not use your resignation letter as a platform for your grievances

If you are handing in your resignation because you are dissatisfied with the work, dislike your boss or are feeling uninspired by the organisation, this is not the place to communicate your grievances! Request an exit interview if you think you could provide some constructive feedback, this letter is not a platform on which you should vent. Remember more often than not, these letters are kept on file, and you want to be able to get a good reference even if you are leaving the organisation because you no longer enjoy your role.

Outline why you are leaving but don’t feel the need to give too many details

You are not obliged to give your current employers a play by play of what’s next but depending on your relationship with your current manager, it might feel appropriate to give a quick overview of what’s next, and how valuable what you have learned in your current place of work will help you along your career path.

Keep the bridge intact 

Make sure to showcase gratitude and say thank you for what your manager and the organisation has done for you during your tenure. Remember that you want to keep all bridges intact. You never know when someone in your previous work could help you on your career path. Your last few months of employment and how you handle yourself as you wind down your tenure will leave a lasting impression. Remembering that is essential as you transition from one workplace to the next.

Here’s a sample of a resignation letter:

Here’s a starting point for your resignation letter but make sure that you customise and make it personal where possible.

Dear [Manager’s name],

Please accept this note as formal notice of my resignation from my position as X at [Organisation’s name]. As per my contract, my last day will be [Date]. I have decided to resign because [Why you have decided to move on].

I would like to take this time to express my gratitude and thanks for the opportunities that I have had under your management over the last [Duration of tenure]. 

I have really enjoyed working with you and the team. I believe that I have gained some invaluable experiences that I will be able to bring to my new position. Please let me know how I can help to smoothly tie up any loose ends or provide training and/or guidance to my replacement or other team members. If there is anything at all that I can do to assist, please let me know. 

I know that I will continue to cheer on the organisation from my new posting and I wish you and [Company name] all the best for the future. 


[Your name]

How to hand in your notice:

  1. Start the conversation with your HR department or manager verbally first. You don’t want to land a formal letter into someone’s inbox with no notice as that could come as a shock. Keep the lines of communication open.
  2. Following the conversation with the HR department or manager, send through your resignation letter and make sure that you have a copy of it for yourself.
  3. Ask your manager how you can best help them before you leave.
  4. Ask for a reference.
  5. Keep it friendly and be showcase gratitude in your last few days with the organisation.

Keep reading: 10 signs that it’s time for a career change 

Keep reading: A guide to collecting good job references

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