How To Resign With Dignity: 3 Simple Examples

So you’ve found a new job, accepted the offer from your new employer and now it’s time to hand in your notice. This experience can make you feel a whole cocktail of emotions. For example, it can be tempting to cartwheel your way out of the office to a celebratory fanfare if you hate your job. On the other hand, if you love your job, you may feel like pouring your heart out in an emotional letter to your boss. In the long run, however, neither of these options are likely to help your future career. This article explains how to resign with dignity and without burning your bridges.

Our Top Three Tips for Those Wondering How To Resign With Dignity

Most companies will require you to present your notice of resignation in a letter. If you are unsure to whom you should address, you may send your letter as an attachment in an email copying HR and your line manager. However, your resignation should still be presented in a formal business letter format. Read on to find three resignation letter templates that will help you with that.

In addition, we suggest following the below three tips for resigning with dignity and grace.

Young lady leaving her job with belongings packed in a box and a big smile on her face
It’s important to remain professional and positive in your current employment right until the moment you walk out of the door.

1 — Follow The Process

The first rule of resignation is to follow your company’s procedure. Read your employment contract thoroughly and make sure you understand how many weeks notice you are required to give and to whom you should address the letter.

If you have changed jobs within your current company, don’t assume that the positions you have held have the same notice periods. If you don’t give enough notice, you could be in breach of contract, and your employer may withhold any wages, bonuses or other entitlements.

Not giving enough notice could result in a breach of contract and may lead to your employer giving you a bad reference. Is an employer allowed to give a bad reference? Actually, yes, they can. What they are not allowed to do is provide an untrue or inaccurate reference. If an employer has reasonable grounds to believe that you breached the terms of your contract, they have a duty to pass that information to your future employer.

2 — Remain Professional

No matter how you feel about your current company or your boss, you should always write letters of resignation in a professional tone. Keeping your explanation to a minimum will minimise the risk of you saying anything you might regret and avoid burning your bridges.

Are you feeling lost for words and worried about using negative language? Or even if you don’t know how to write a resignation letter, don’t worry! The resignation letter templates below will give you a great starting point for how to resign with dignity.

3 — Prepare for the Exit Interview

Exit interviews can be an intimidating experience, especially if you’ve never had one before and don’t know what to expect. Most companies use exit interviews as an opportunity to find out how they can improve workplace culture. Exit meetings are usually with an HR member or someone you don’t usually directly report to.

An exit interview is your opportunity to state your reasons for leaving honestly. However, you shouldn’t use it as an excuse to totally let rip! Remember the above point — remain professional at all times. You’re still an employee of the company until you leave, and any negative behaviour you display may result in a bad reference.

In addition to improving corporate culture, HR will often use an exit interview as an excuse to make a counter-offer. While counter-offers can be incredibly flattering, not to mention highly tempting, accepting one can do untold damage to your career.

The easiest way to handle a counter-offer is to politely tell your employer you will think about it and decline by email. This way, you don’t have to have a further discussion about it, so you won’t have to deal with being put under pressure.

Young man having his exit interview with a member of HR
Exit interviews can be almost as nerve-wracking as job interviews! It pays to be prepared.

How to Write a Resignation Letter: 3 Simple Examples

You might not want to use the exact wording suggested in these downloads. However, these resignation letter templates will give you a good starting point no matter what your circumstances.

Example 1 — Basic Resignation Letter

This basic resignation letter template enables you to resign from your job with grace and dignity while keeping straight to the point. It allows you to say what you need to with a minimum of fuss.

You could also add that you enjoyed working for your current employer. Even if you choose not to, thanking them for the opportunities they have given you allows you to resign with dignity.

Basic Resignation LetterDownload

Example 2 — Leaving for A New Job

If you have a new job to go to, you may feel compelled to tell your current employer who your new employer is and what your new job title will be. However, you are not legally obliged to do so.

This resignation template gives you the opportunity to explain that you have a new job to go to and the option to disclose who your new employer is.


Employee considering how to resign with dignity judging by this note in their diary
While you may feel like bursting into your boss’s office and shouting “I quit” at the top of your voice, there is always a company protocol to follow when resigning.

Example 3 — Reason for Leaving

One of the most common reasons employees resign from their jobs is not feeling sufficiently rewarded for their work. So whatever your reason for leaving, be it for a higher salary, improved benefits, or better work-life balance, a courteous way to dress it up is career progression. Even if the job you’re leaving for still has the same job title, if the rewards are better than you presently receive, you’re still progressing.

Of course, you may have an entirely different reason for resigning such as taking a year out to study, travel the world, or volunteer as an aid worker overseas. Whatever your reason for leaving, you can edit the wording in this template to suit your situation.

However, our advice would always be to choose your words wisely. If you plan to resign with dignity, make sure your explanation does not brag or offend your current employer in any way.


A Few Final Thoughts on How to Resign With Dignity

No matter how you feel about your current employer, you never know how things will pan out in future. You might find yourself needing to ask for their help again at some point later on in your career. Therefore, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and consider how to resign with dignity.

Using the fewest words possible to say what you need to say is always the best tactic. It leaves less room for you to say anything you might later regret and avoids wasting your manager’s time.

After reading this article, we hope that you now feel more knowledgeable on how to resign with dignity. If you found this article useful, please share it on social media. Others will be bound to thank you for it.



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