How to write a 2 weeks notice letter and not burn any bridges

Many people change jobs at some point in their careers in order to earn more money or get better working conditions (like a nicer boss or an easier commute). If you’ve managed to stealthily apply for another job, interview for it, and you’ve received a firm job offer: “Congratulations!” Given the strong labor market, you’re very much with the times given Americans are leaving their jobs for better opportunities in record numbers

Now you face the daunting task of submitting a formal resignation letter to let your current employer know that you’re exiting stage left. The question is, how do you craft a resignation letter the right way? Obviously, you’ll want to be polite and professional, but you’ll also want to set a positive tone as you pen your two-weeks’ notice even if you’re privately singing “Take This Job and Shove It.”

“You may be angry, resentful, overworked, etc., but don’t quit angry! Conjure up for yourself what has been the best time at your job, and have that image top-of-mind when you write your resignation letter. It’s amazing how even the crabbiest, toughest boss can get nostalgic, forgetting how miserable they made you and instead of thinking how difficult this decision must be for you! The point is, you should capitalize on this veneer of goodwill: let your boss think they were great, even if they weren’t so,” Resume Deli co-founder Alex Twersky said.

Dos and Don’ts

Your goal is to have a positive closure experience with your company, so timing is crucial. Be sure to give at least two week’s notice and if you’re a senior executive, you should provide even more notice depending upon how hard it will be to replace you. Be sure to clue in your boss about your plans to resign (ideally, in person) before you tell anyone else. “It’s tempting to tell your colleagues—especially those who are also friends—that you’re on your way out. But make sure your boss hears it from you, first. No boss wants to be caught off-guard or seem like they weren’t in the know,” Twersky said.

Here’s what to include in your letter:

  • Your intent to resign
  • When your last day will be 
  • Assurances that you will try to complete any projects as time allows
  • An offer to help with the transition 
  • How much you appreciate everything your employer has done for you

Try to take the high road and “offer yourself up to train others who will take over your role. Be generous with your time, but if you’re needed to do significant work after you’ll have already left, make sure to negotiate a fair rate,” Twersky said.

Given that your two weeks’ notice letter will be kept in your permanent employee record, try to keep things brief and neutral in tone, and you should avoid explaining the details about why you are leaving, especially if they include grievances. 

Use a template

To make things easier for yourself, use a letter of resignation sample or template. Here’s a sample two-weeks’ notice letter:

How to write a 2 weeks notice letter template


As you craft your two-weeks’ notice letter, remember that it will be the final chapter in your employment history with your company and that it may even help you get a good recommendation down the line. “Always keep the door open, because you never know when you may want to return or even work with other colleagues in a future role elsewhere,” said Pat Roque, a Rock on Success career consultant, in a Business Daily report.