Written properly, a resignation email can have your manager wishing you the best rather than the worst for the future.
Indeed a good one can be considered a parting gift to your employer.
Resignation emails and resignation letters are basically the same thing, except that one is written on paper and the other is electronic. Both are suitable options for quitting unless your employers HR policy explicitly requests a printed letter.
The important thing both must do, is to make a good impression when you exit, because how you go can not only impact your reputation and legacy, but also your future career prospects.
Why resign by email?
There are of various reasons why people resign by email. Apart from being the quickest way to tell your employer you’re going, it’s also ideal if you;
- Work from home.
- Have a remote position far from your employer’s main office.
- Must leave immediately.
- Can’t meet your boss face to face but need to tell them ASAP.
- Are intimidated by or shy when meeting senior managers.
- Feel very awkward about meeting your manager one to one and physically handing over a resignation letter.
- Have an immediate manager who works in another city or country.
- Are unable to serve the notice period.
Are resignation emails acceptable?
Yes, they are perfectly adequate, unless your employment contract specifically states you must send in a written letter.
Before sending the email
Do not blindside your employer unexpectedly with an out of the blue email. Instead, speak first to your HR department or manager directly before sending them any correspondence.
When to send the email
As soon as possible. Ideally after you have spoken to your manager and well before your last working day or any required notice period you must work.
Who to send it to
This will usually be your immediate manager, however it’s also a good idea to carbon copy (cc) the Human Resources department as well.
What to include in a resignation email
Basically, everything you would have in a letter. List all the information related to your resignation, such as how much notice you are giving and when your last day of work will be etc. Here is a breakdown of the different sections to include in one;
Email Subject line / heading
As this is the first thing that your manager will notice, you should get straight to the point. This way the receiver will know right away what your message is about. You want to grab their attention and make them read the email as soon as possible. Here are examples of clear email subject lines;
- Resignation – your name
- Your name – Resignation
- Notice of resignation – your name
- Resignation effective immediately – your name
- Immediate resignation – your name
- Resignation announcement – your name
- Resignation notice – your name
- Resignation email – your name
Enter the day you are sending it, in full (no abbreviations). Example:
- 14th October 2021
Current job role
At the top of your resignation email give current job title. Example:
- Re: Office Assistant
Address the recipient
Starting with “Dear” followed by a personal title, such as “Mr.” or “Ms.” and then the full name of the recipient. Example:
- “Dear Mr Smith,”
First paragraph – Say your resigning
Get to the point straight away by stating that you’re writing this email to resign from the company. Ensure that there’s no room for any misunderstanding and avoid ambiguity by not using words like;
- “hope to,”
- “would like to,”
Also, state the date you plan on leaving. By specifying your last working day, you will give your employer a clear sense of your timeline and avoid any potential confusion. Example:
- “Please accept this email as notice of my resignation from the position of (job title). My last day of employment will be 30th October 2021.”
Second paragraph – express gratitude
It’s vital for your future job hunting that you leave on good terms and a professional note. Ghosting your employer is not idea, as it can literally come back to haunt you. Therefore, try to say something nice about your time there. Example;
- “I have greatly appreciated our friendship and would like to thank you for the opportunities the company has provided me whilst I worked there.”
Third paragraph – Offer to help
Keep things positive by saying you’re willing to assist with the transition period by offering to either help find or train up your replacement during your final working days. Also, without going into detail, mention any pending tasks that must be done, and briefly describe what action you are taking towards doing them. Additionally, also offer to help transfer any company knowledge like password or contacts you have to a colleague.
Closing and sign off
Finally, close your email with a ‘Sincerely’ or ‘Best regards’ followed by your signature and below that your full name.
If you want you can at the end, include any non-company email address or another form of contact details.
Resignation email examples
Dear (Manager’s name),
As briefly discussed with you earlier, please accept this email as formal notice of my intention to resign from the position of (job title) at (company name). Under the terms of my employment contract, my notice period is (give details i.e., 2 weeks), so my last day of work will be (insert date).
I appreciate all the assistance and opportunities that you have afforded me, as well as the people I’ve had the privilege of working with. I leave wishing you, my colleagues and (company name) only the best for the future.
You can rest assured that over the coming transition period, I will make myself available to help with the changeover. If there is anything I can do to assist in the days and weeks ahead, then please let me know.
Dear (addressee name),
This email is written notification of my intention to leave the position of (job title)] at (company name) on the 20th October 2021.
Thank you for all the support, opportunities, and kindness you have shown me during my time with the company. What I have learnt during my time with you will help me tremendously in the future and I hope we can keep in touch.
Over the coming days, I intend to make myself fully available to help with the transition period. I am more than willing and able to train up my replacement and assisting them with all pending tasks. Therefore, please let me know if there’s anything I can do to make the changeover easier.
Dear (Manager’s name),
Please accept this letter as official notice of my resignation from the position of (job title) at (company name), effective from the 25th October 2021.
I would like to apologise for notifying you by email, however circumstances leave me no other choice. Before I go, I would like to wish both you and the company every good fortune in the future and would like to thank you for the support and friendship you have given me over the years.
I intend to fully assist in the transfer of my responsibilities up to and after my period of leaving. Accordingly, do not hesitate to inform me if you want anything specific doing during the transition period.
Resignation email tips
There is no need to include any MS Word version of your letter as an attachment, instead compose the text directly into the body of the email.
Keep it short, brief and to the point. Avoid the common mistake of making it overly detailed and long.
Before you send your email, it’s a good idea to proofread it to catch and correct any grammatical and spelling mistakes.
Reasons for leaving
You do not have to disclose why you are quitting, what your next job is or where you’re going.