Writing a Resignation Letter That Is Effective Immediately

FT Contributor
A red colored pencil sits on top of a letter of resignation.
Reading Time: 4 minutes

It’s always recommended that you give at least two weeks notice before leaving a position. However, this isn’t always possible. Whether it’s a health scare, a family issue, the need to move out of town, or another pressing concern, sometimes life leaves no option but to quit your job immediately.

If you find yourself in the position of having to leave your current job without waiting for the traditional two weeks, it’s still important to take the time to compose a formal resignation letter.

Why Write an Immediate Resignation Letter?

It’s always best to deliver the news of your resignation in person, especially when it is taking immediate effect. Even if you do so, make sure to follow up with a formal letter.

Sometimes it can be awkward, uncomfortable, or even impossible to meet with your superior on short notice. If this is the case, using a resignation letter is a permissible way to break the news as well.

When you write the letter, you can provide a few basic details about your reasons for leaving. Doing so may help to smooth any ruffled feathers and help communicate the necessity of your sudden departure to your bosses and coworkers.

However, this is not a requirement. Your personal matters, whether they have to do with family, health, or anything else, are your own private concern. It is up to your discretion whether or not to share them.

Tips for Writing an Immediate Resignation Letter

It’s tempting to avoid an uncomfortable situation — as is often the case with immediate resignations. However, resigning without notice and leaving your boss and coworkers in the lurch means they are more likely to view you unfavorably. Making an effort to write a formal resignation letter can help you leave your current position on as good a note as possible.

Remember that the purpose of a resignation letter is to inform, not explain. Stay focused, succinct, and positive. It’s also a good idea to revisit your employee contract before writing the letter. Investigate if there are any requirements to work for a specific amount of time before resigning.

Being aware of this knowledge can serve one of two purposes:

  • If your contract does not have a clause of this nature, you can highlight it in your letter and point out that you aren’t violating the terms of your contract by resigning immediately.
  • If your contract does have a clause stating you should provide reasonable notice before resigning, being aware of this fact shows that you are sensitive to your responsibilities. This avoids the appearance of recklessness and can help to preserve your reputation.

Here are the elements that should be included in a resignation letter that is effective immediately:

  • Start with the date: This gives a point of reference for when you officially resigned.
  • Follow business letter format: A resignation is still a professional business letter. Make sure to write left-aligned, use size 12 font, and single space your lines.
  • Use a professional font: Write in a professional business letter font. Sans-serif fonts such as Times New Roman, Helvetica, Arial, and Geneva are commonly used.
  • Include the date of resignation, or “last day”: Even if this appears obvious, it’s important to include the date of the resignation or “last day” to formally explain that the resignation is immediate.
  • If you choose to provide details, keep them brief: The key is to include enough information to provide a satisfactory explanation for skipping the usual resignation protocol without feeling the need to go into excessive detail.
  • Be positive and express gratitude: This is especially important if your resignation has anything to do with your employer or their employees. Don’t use the occasion to accuse coworkers or disparage your company. Keep things positive and point out what you’re thankful for from your time working at the job.
  • Ask questions: Without two weeks to sort through your affairs, you may want to include questions in your letter, such as how to resolve your final paycheck or vacation time you may have accrued.
  • Don’t forget your signature: End your letter by including a respectful closing, like “sincerely,” followed by your typed name four spaces below. If you’re sending an email, this should suffice. If you’re delivering a physical letter, be sure to include your hand-written signature above your typed name.
  • Edit and proofread: Always make sure to both edit and proofread an important business letter. A resignation letter of this nature, in particular, will likely be your last correspondence with the company and should be flawlessly written.
  • Provide the letter to the appropriate people: Finally, make sure that your letter is sent to the right people. This includes any department heads, HR reps, your manager, and anyone else who should be aware of your resignation. Don’t assume that everyone will automatically find out.

Resignation Letter Sample

If you’re struggling to come up with the words to say, we’ve got you covered. Here is a sample resignation letter to get you started. Fill in the customizable portions with your own unique information and you should be good to go.

[Your name and address.]

[Current date.]

[Your employer’s:
Name and title.
Company name.
Street address.
City and zip code.]

Dear [first and last name of employer],

I regret to inform you that I am resigning from my position as [fill in position here] at [fill in company name here] immediately. [Insert date of resignation here] will be my last day of work.

[At this point, you can take the time to briefly explain why you’re leaving (remember to keep it brief) and ask any questions you may have.]

[Take a little time to positively reflect on your past history at the company. Specifically, try to express gratitude and thankfulness. If you’re able or willing, you can also offer to help with the transition, whether in person or remotely in the days and weeks to come.]

I will miss my time working here and genuinely hope that the company continues to thrive in the future.


[Your name]

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