How Do You Write an Exit Letter?

Write an exit letter, or resignation letter, by announcing an intent to resign, noting the last day on the job, and acknowledging positive aspects of having worked in the position. Keep the letter’s tone professional and cordial.

The employee’s resignation announcement should be short and simple, with no negative reason given for leaving. It’s acceptable for the employee to note that she has accepted another position or is relocating. The employee should submit the letter at least two weeks prior to leaving, but high-level employees and those involved in complicated projects should give more notice.

The letter briefly should reflect on the team accomplishments to which the employee contributed. The employee should also acknowledge how her experience with the company influenced her professional development. The closing should be warm and friendly.

An exit letter stays in an employee’s file, where it’s sometimes reviewed when a new employer calls for a reference, or when the employee applies for a new position at the same company or an affiliated one. An employee who feels compelled to discuss a negative experience with the employer should schedule an exit interview. The employer’s interview notes may go into the employee’s file, but unless the meeting is adversarial, the notes are unlikely to leave as strong an impression as the employee’s own letter.