Leaving a job can be exasperating, but if you write the best two weeks’ notice letter possible then you can make your exit as smooth and stress-free as possible.
That’s always preferable, but there’s plenty to think about when you need to write a two weeks’ notice letter. There’s certain information that you have to include so the company has a formal record of your intentions, and if the situation is appropriate then it’s worth thanking your managers when you write the document.
Also consider asking how you can help with any transitions and even detailing some experiences you particularly enjoyed while working at the company – because if you keep people on-side, you’ll get better references in the future.
If you follow our step-by-step guide then you’ll be able to write an effective, professional two weeks’ notice letter to announce your resignation. And if you’d like more information about finding a new job, head to our verdict on 2022’s best job sites (opens in new tab), or explore the best countries for remote working (opens in new tab).
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Follow the right format
A two weeks’ notice letter does have some leeway to reflect plenty of different professional situations, but you should follow some ground rules to ensure that you produce an accurate document that functions as an adequate record for yourself and the company.
No matter the situation, your two weeks’ notice letter should use a standard business letter format. Include your contact information at the top, the date of writing, the recipient’s contact information, and a formal salutation. Follow this with the body of the letter, and close with a formal phrase and your signature and printed name.
Ultimately, you don’t want this to be a lengthy document – no one wants to deal with that. Unless there are extenuating circumstances at play, your two weeks’ notice letter shouldn’t take more than one page.
You may wish to deliver a paper copy of your letter to your manager in a meeting to announce your resignation, especially if you want to maintain good relations and not surprise them with an email that announces the news. Send a copy to HR, too, so they’ve got a record – whether it’s over email or with your firm’s internal mail system.
Include the right information
A resignation letter is a professional document that must include certain information to be accepted as a notification of your intent to leave employment.
The letter needs to include a firm, definitive statement of your resignation from your role. You need to include your official job title and the name of the company to avoid any ambiguities, and list your last day of employment with the company. This will vary based on the notice period you have in your contract – two weeks is very common, but a month isn’t unusual either.
At the bottom of your letter, you need to include your contact details so the business can get in touch with you if necessary.
Beyond the formalities
Once you’ve written the letter using conventional business formatting and included the relevant, important information about your resignation, you’ve got a bit more leeway about what you actually include in your two weeks’ notice letter.
After you’ve stated your intentions, it’s a good idea to thank your manager and company for the opportunity and for their help and guidance during your tenure. Even if you don’t feel particularly thankful, think of the bigger picture: if you keep things professional, you’ll have a better chance of getting good references in the future.
Ultimately, it’s important to be positive in a two weeks’ notice letter, even if you don’t feel particularly positive about your decision to resign. While it may be tempting to vent, a resignation letter is not the best place to air all your grievances with the company or its employees.
Indeed, it’s often a better choice to pair your note of thanks with some extra detail about your positive memories at the business and how your managers have had a good impact on your career. And if you do want to include your reasons for leaving, keep it brief and make sure the language is neutral.
If you’re leaving amicably – or even if you’re not, and want to avoid burning bridges – then also consider an offer to help the company with your transition out of the business. If you’re willing to assist with training your replacement, help with their recruitment process (opens in new tab) or write handover documents, you’ll impress outgoing managers and generate some good favor.
While it’s good to include this extra detail in many two weeks’ notice letter, it’s important to remember that you don’t actually have to include any information other than the fact that you’re leaving and your last date of employment. Everything else is optional and depends on your relationship with the company and your managers, and the circumstances of your resignation. You’re also under no obligation to provide any reasons for your resignation.
Get the details right
Once you’ve thanked your bosses, explained why you’re leaving and offered to help with the handover – or not – it’s time to make sure the letter is right before you hit send or print the document.
As with any professional document, make sure that you’ve followed appropriate professional letter formatting throughout. Run spelling and grammar checks to eliminate any errors, and ensure that you’ve used the same professional font for the entire document. Keep the letter as short as possible while still expressing all the points you’d like to include.
When you’ve written the letter, proofread the language and perfected the layout, it’s time to deliver the document. In many companies it’s a good idea to arrange a formal meeting with your manager to submit your letter and tell them about your decision – it’s certainly a better option than blindsiding your boss.
Make sure you rehearse what you need to say, try to stay calm and firm in your decision, and be prepared for questions and potential counter-offers – and remember that you don’t have to go into detail even if your managers ask for extra information.
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