No matter how many emails you've sent in your professional life, a resignation email is never easy. Leaving a job can feel like you're letting your supervisor or your team down, even if you know you're making the right move for your career!
Or you may be leaving a toxic workplace or a challenging relationship with your manager (and have to tread carefully about sharing a little "feedback" on your way out).
No matter the circumstances surrounding your decision to leave, writing your notice of resignation is an important part of the process. It gives you the opportunity to let your team leaders know how much you've appreciated the opportunity, even though it's time to move on. Or, in the case of a less positive relationship with your current position's manager or team, your resignation email is a chance to end that relationship — professionally, and on a positive note.
Before you write your letter of resignation, read these tips! They'll help you craft an email resignation that's effective, professional, and strikes the right tone.
How to write a resignation email: 14 tips
A resignation email should be simple, straightforward, polite, and professional, without a lot of unnecessary details. However, there's also information that's important to include to help ensure a smooth transition as you leave your current job. Follow these 14 tips to write your resignation email — and later on, we'll put all these tips together in a sample resignation letter you can use as a template.
1. Don't send your resignation too soon
If you're resigning because you're taking a different job, make sure you don't send your resignation email until you've received and accepted a formal job offer (by signing; a verbal offer can still fall through!). It can be tempting to hand in your resignation as soon as a new job seems imminent — especially if you're excited about your new position and want to start it as soon as possible! But keep in mind that once you send your resignation email, you may not be able to take it back. If the new job falls through, you could find yourself in a difficult position.
2. Follow your company's conventions
Before writing and sending your resignation, check to see what the usual convention is at your company for resignations (or if there's a documented process you should follow). For example, even if you choose to share the news with your manager face-to-face, it might be standard procedure to follow up with an email summarizing that conversation to make it concrete. The industry you work in, and the culture of your company and team, can also help guide how you give your resignation. In some places, an email resignation is perfectly acceptable, but in others, you may want to give a more formal resignation alongside the email version.
3. Send your resignation to the right people
When you're ready to send your resignation email, send it to your supervisor, but CC your human resources department or people team, if you have one.
4. Keep it simple, polite, and professional
Your resignation email shouldn't contain a lot of unnecessary details. Even if you're excited about leaving your current company or position, try not to let it show in your email. And never use a resignation email to complain or vent.
Remember that you can provide a reason that you're leaving, but it's never required. A good rule of thumb is that if you're leaving for a positive reason (for example, an amazing opportunity you couldn't turn down), then you might choose to mention that. But if the reason you're leaving is negative (for example, burnout or a toxic work environment), then the details are best left to an exit interview, if you choose to divulge them then.
Sometimes, maintaining professional relationships is more important than airing your grievances — keep that in mind when choosing when and what to divulge as you're leaving. And remember, it's always OK to keep your reasons vague (for example, just say you're moving on for "personal reasons").
5. Check your contract and handbook before you hit "send"
Before you send your resignation email, check your employment contract and employee handbook to see if there are any restrictions or requirements for your notice period.
6. Give adequate notice
If there are no explicit requirements about when to give notice, aim to send your resignation email according to what's typically standard in your industry or location. For example, in Europe, your notice period might be a month. In the US, two weeks' notice is typical for most positions. If you've been with your company for a long time or hold a very senior position, it's generally considered courteous to give more notice.
7. Use a clear subject line that lets the recipient know your resigning
The recipient of your resignation email should not open the email and be surprised to learn you're leaving. Even worse, they shouldn't assume your email is something unimportant or work-related and not open it right away. That's where the email subject line comes in — it should make it very clear that the email is to resign from your current job.
Here are some examples of subject lines you can use for a resignation email:
- [Your name] resignation
- Resignation from my role at [Company]
- It's time for me to move on from [Company]
- Leaving [Company] on a high note
- Moving on from [Company] to a new chapter
- Taking my next steps: resignation from [role]
8. Express gratitude for the position you're leaving
No matter why you're leaving your current job, start your resignation email by offering your sincere thanks for the opportunity you've had. This opens your resignation email on a good note.
9. State your last working date
In your email, let the recipient(s) know when your last day of work will be, to the best of your ability. If it's flexible, let them know and ask for their input on when they'd like you to officially depart. But if you need your final day to be on or before a specific date, communicate that as clearly as possible so there's no confusion about when you're leaving.
10. Offer assistance during your transition period
Next, explain how you plan to wrap up any outstanding projects. If you have time before your last day, offer to help bring a new employee up to speed on your position or existing projects, if needed. You might also consider creating a handover document, where you list all your responsibilities so your manager can reassign them to others.
11. Let HR know if you plan to follow up
You may have questions about your employee benefits, unused vacation time, or other loose ends. It's not necessary to bolt these details onto your resignation email, but if you do have questions, mention in your email that you plan to follow up with HR for more information (and make sure your HR department is CC'd on your resignation email).
12. Provide contact information where you can be reached
Before you sign off, be sure to provide contact information where your soon-to-be-former employer can reach you if needed. This can be a phone number, personal email address, or even just your mailing address — your former employer shouldn't contact you for work-related reasons after your last day, but may need to contact you about paperwork or tax information.
13. Proofread your resignation email before you send it
This may go without saying, but always proofread any professional email message before you hit "send". If you do accidentally send a resignation email that's incomplete or contains errors, Superhuman can help you Undo Send before anyone sees your mistakes.
14. Follow up if needed
If you don't receive a timely response to your resignation email, be sure to follow up to make sure your message was received and read. With Superhuman, you can also use Read Statuses to check whether your resignation email has been seen.
Resignation email FAQs
These tips will help you craft an effective resignation email that contains all the information you need to let your current supervisor and company know that you're leaving your job. But these frequently asked questions can help clarify when and how to use email in the resignation process, and how to handle other common situations that might arise.
When is it OK to resign by email rather than in person?
Here's a good rule of thumb: if you and your manager or supervisor work together in-person, you should deliver the news that you're resigning in person first, and then follow up with an email.
If you and/or your supervisor work remotely but are located in the same city, it can be a good idea to invite them for coffee or lunch to break the news in person — especially if you have a good relationship.
If you and/or your supervisor work remotely and live in different places, it's always appropriate to resign only by email — though you still might consider a 1:1 Zoom or GMeet to break the news to your manager before you send the email. Be sure to send the message directly to your supervisor, with HR and any other necessary contacts CC'd.
Can an employer choose not to accept your resignation?
The short answer is no. In the US, it's explicitly against the law for an employer to refuse to accept your resignation from a job (as is the case in many other countries, too). Your employer can't stop you from leaving, but be sure to carefully check your employment contract for any rules or requirements you need to fulfill during your notice period; if you fail to follow procedures outlined in your contract, you could put yourself at risk of legal action.
How do you tell your coworkers that you're leaving?
You should not copy your entire team on your resignation email — that should be just for supervisors and necessary other parties, like HR. Instead, you can let your team know about your resignation in a second email sent to them after your resignation has been received and acknowledged. Sending a note to your colleagues to let them know you're leaving is a great step to help you stay on good terms with your network as you leave your position.
What if you have a less-than-positive relationship with your employer?
One of the trickiest things about the resignation process is trying to navigate it when your relationship with your employer, supervisor, or team is less-than-positive.
Remember that you don't have to go into any details about why you're leaving. Resist the temptation to place blame or get the last word with anyone you have a contentious relationship with. It's to your own benefit to do everything you can to keep professional relationships positive — burning bridges can imperil your ability to use people at the company as a reference in the future. Remember that those difficult work relationships will soon be in your past; for now, the most important thing is to stay courteous and professional as you move on.
Resignation email templates
Still not sure how to write your resignation email from scratch? We've made some resignation email examples that can be adapted to almost any situation.
With Superhuman, you can save these (or any resignation letter template) as a Snippet, then insert them into an email message with a keyboard shortcut.
Standard resignation email template
Subject line: [Your name] — notice letter to resign from [Position]
Dear [Supervisor's Name],
I'm writing to give formal notice for my resignation from [Company].
My last day will be [date].
I want to sincerely thank you for all the opportunities I've experienced here. I gained so much experience, and built relationships that will long outlast my time at [Company].
Optional to include: [Brief explanation of reason for leaving].
I've attached a Google Doc with a list of my responsibilities and unfinished projects so they can be reassigned. I'm also happy to assist with reassigning my duties before my last day. Please let me know if there's anything else I can do to make the transition as smooth as possible.
After my last day, I can be reached at [Contact Information].
Thank you again for everything.
Template for announcing your resignation to your team
Subject line: Leaving on a high note!
I wanted to let you all know personally that I've given my notice and will be moving on from [Company] on [date].
This is not a decision that I came to lightly. I've had many wonderful experiences at [Company]. I've also been lucky to work with you, my incredibly talented colleagues, and I'm so thankful for the relationships we've built during my time here.
I hope we can stay in touch, and don't be a stranger about reaching out any time you want to catch up. You can reach me at [LinkedIn link or other contact information].
I wish you all nothing but the best, and I'm cheering on [Company]'s future success.
Good luck with your next position
By following these guidelines, you can exit your job gracefully and without conflict. Now, all that's left to do is celebrate your new position. Congratulations!