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Here's how to draft a good resignation letter

The die has been cast: you're changing jobs. Now that you've made the decision, it's time to make your job switch concrete and resign from your current employer. While this is an emotional issue for many professionals, it's important not to lose sight of the official side. A well-drafted resignation letter is not only necessary to be legally compliant, it also shows your professionalism and it benefits your rapport with your manager. You never know what the future holds, so you do well to leave on a positive note.  

Not sure how to begin your resignation letter? International recruitment firm Robert Walters tells you what to look out for and shares a handy example to base yourself on.  

Professional tone 

Your resignation letter is an official document in which you should use a professional tone. Emotional or negative language is out of the question. Do not use your letter as an outlet to express your frustrations or criticism toward your manager or the company. You will have ample opportunity to discuss your reasons for leaving during the meeting with your manager or the HR department

The essentials 

At a minimum, the following items should be included in your resignation letter: 

  • Your name and address.

  • Your employer's name and address.  

  • The place and date you send or deliver the letter. 

  • Clear statement of your decision to resign. 

  • The start date and duration of your notice period. This always starts on the first Monday following the day on which you submit your resignation letter - either by registered mail or by hand delivery.  With a registered letter, you send your letter no later than Tuesday in order for the notice period to start the following Monday. The length of your notice period is determined by law and depends on the start date of your employment contract. 

  • Your signature. 

Out of gratitude

Your resignation letter should obviously not become a paean of praise for your employer, but it is professional and polite to add a sentence expressing your gratitude for the past cooperation. Also feel free to mention your willingness to assist in training your successor.

Finally, wish the company and your supervisor the best for the future. All this will help make your notice period run in a positive atmosphere as well as increase your chances of getting a good reference. 


Sample letter 

Below you can download a sample letter to use as a guide for your resignation letter. Do not copy it word for word: it is always advisable to adapt your resignation letter to your personal situation and the prevailing culture at your employer.

Download example letter 


 Some additional tips 


Check your employment contract 

Your letter should be drafted in the same language as your employment contract. Moreover, your employment contract may contain relevant information regarding dismissal. So it is definitely a good idea to review it before drafting your resignation letter.  

Choose your sending method 

Is the start date of your notice period crucial in view of your next job, or is the relationship with your current employer rather strained, then it is recommended to send your letter via registered mail. This is because the date of your dispatch receipt determines the start date of your notice period, leaving no room for discussion. Is there a positive dynamic between you and your employer? Then feel free to opt to deliver your letter in person.  

Watch your timing 

Although it is not mandatory, it is customary to personally inform your immediate supervisor of your resignation before handing off or sending your letter. With a face-to-face conversation, you can frame your decision immediately and the message won't hit you as hard. Choose the right time for your conversation: for example, it's best not to break the news on a Friday afternoon or right before a team meeting.   

Be discreet 

Make sure your manager is the first person to know about your resignation. You definitely don't want your supervisor to hear this news through another source. Moreover, you will not be thanked if you inform other colleagues without first consulting them. Discuss with your manager who will inform colleagues and when.  

Let go of guilt 

You may feel guilty about leaving, or feel that you are letting your manager or teammates down. Keep the reasons for your decision in mind, and view your departure as a necessary step in your professional development. 

You can never reach a new phase in your career without closing the previous phase. With your resignation letter, make sure you do this in a proper, professional manner so that you can step into your next challenge with a positive feeling.


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