3 key takeaways:
- Dos and don’ts to include in your two weeks' notice letter
- How to write a resignation letter using a template
- How Teal’s Email Templates make writing a two weeks’ notice letter simple
Providing a two weeks’ notice letter to your employer is a common way to submit your formal resignation. While not legally required, it’s standard practice in the US if you want to leave your job on a positive note.
Two weeks’ notice from your expected last day at work gives your current employer enough time to start looking for your replacement. But that’s not why you should write one. US employees are not required to provide any notice, but doing so can benefit both parties. Consider leaving two weeks' notice if you plan to include anyone you worked with as a reference or want to train your coworkers to ease the transition and bolster your resume skills.
Whether you have a new job lined up, plan to go back to school, or take some time off, submitting your resignation letter with a minimum of two weeks’ notice will help avoid any unnecessary workplace drama and protect your career.
Understanding the two weeks' notice letter
Despite common perception, there are no laws stating that you must provide a two weeks’ notice letter. All 50 US states are at-will employment states, meaning you or your employer can decide to part ways at any time, without notice. That said, writing a two-week notice letter serves several purposes:
- Provides a formal resignation to your employer
- Gives a specific date for your departure
- Expresses gratitude for your time at the company
- Provides a paper trail so everything is in writing
Two weeks is generally considered the minimum expected notice period, but you may provide more notice if you’re an executive or think it would be in your best interest to give a longer runway.
Note: Because at-will employment works both ways, It’s possible that when you give two weeks' notice, your employer could choose to terminate your employment that day. So be prepared for that possibility.
Handling resignation letters with grace, tact, and professionalism is crucial. Even if you were ready to leave yesterday, the way you handle your exit can impact your future employment contracts and prospects.
According to Estefania Rivera Gonzalez, bilingual human resources professional at Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa:
“Your last day at a company is often times as important as your first. An exit should entail a two-week notice letter to your direct manager and/or human resources.”
Why go to the trouble of giving that much notice once you have something better (presumably) waiting?
“This is the last impression that you’ll have on that company,” continues Gonzalez. “With a connected world, it’s likely you’ll encounter someone from that company again, especially if you're transitioning within the same industry.”
Resignation letters help with:
- References. A colleague or boss at the company may be a key reference down the line. Having the right people recommend you and available for references can make your professional life easier.
- Networking. You never know where life or your job will take you. Keeping your colleagues as part of your network could help in unexpected ways in the future. You may also be able to help them as well.
- Future work. Imagine in five or ten years from now, your colleague or soon-to-be ex-boss is now the hiring manager at your dream company. Being on good terms could help you secure an employment contract.
How to write a two weeks' notice letter
Now you know the importance of a two weeks’ resignation letter, but how do you actually write one? Especially if you’re unsure of what to say or don’t feel super confident as a writer.
The good news is that the two-week notice format is straightforward. Keep it concise and only share what you feel comfortable with, given your relationship with your boss and history with your employer.
Here are the steps to writing an effective two weeks' notice letter:
1. Address the letter
Include the following in your formal resignation letter:
- Today’s date
- Company name
- Company address
- Title and last name
February 1, 2024 [Current date]
Dear Ms./Mrs./Mr. [Last name],
Even if you think it’s excessive, remember you want these facts in writing. Depending on your employer, they may expect formal notice to keep on file.
2. State the purpose of the letter
A two weeks’ notice letter is the method for giving your formal resignation. So you want to get to the heart of the matter in the first paragraph.
Your letter should inform your employer that you’re resigning from your current job and give your notice period. To be a true two weeks' notice letter, the date you send your letter should be at least 10 business days before your final day, or more. According to HR professional Rivera Gonzalez:
“Your notice should be typed if possible, it should be clear and concise and state the exact date of your last work day. Depending on the reason for leaving the company, you can elaborate on your experiences or add a message of gratitude. Ensure correct formatting, spelling and professionalism.”
If you feel unsure of what to write, Teal offers three different email templates exactly for this purpose. Under the Job Application Tracker function, you can access the following two weeks’ notice templates to help you write your own professional letter:
- Notice of Resignation
- Resignation Announcement
- Thank you for being a part of my [company] experience
3. Provide a reason for leaving (optional)
The next step is to dive into the reason you’re leaving in the second paragraph. You can be specific, if you’re comfortable, or vague and general if not.
Specific: I am ending my time at [company] after [#] years as I have accepted a new position that aligns with my career goals.
General: After much time and consideration, I’ve decided to explore other opportunities that align with my career goals.
Specific: It’s been a pleasure working at [company], but I have been accepted into a graduate program to get a Master’s degree.
General: I’ve enjoyed my time working at [company]. But I’ve decided to explore other career paths.
Only you can say how comfortable you are providing details or not. If you’re close with your supervisor and know they’ll cheer you on, offering more information could strengthen rather than sour the relationship. But if you feel your departure may not be well-received, remaining general and writing a short and simple two-week notice letter is best.
4. Offer assistance during the transition period
Your two-week notice letter informs your employer of your intent to leave within a specific timeframe. But in your resignation letter, you want to assure your supervisor that you can assist with the transition period and be supportive. In other words, you’re not checked out.
Offering to help hire and train during this time can help:
- Smooth the transition
- Preserve your relationships with your peers and supervisors
- Reduce your risk of early termination (before the remaining two weeks)
- Bolster skills for your resume and future work
- Create documentation you can leverage for future roles
I’m happy to provide assistance and support during the transition. I will wrap up my current projects and document my processes for my replacement.
Your resignation letter is essentially breaking up with your employer. Even though moving on is common and maybe even expected, make your supervisor feel like you have their back and you’re leaving on good terms. That shows your professionalism, which can help your reputation now and future career prospects.
5. Express gratitude
In the next section, be sure to express gratitude. This shows a level of respect and appreciation. Depending on your experience at the company, this could require swallowing your pride. You may not feel gratitude is deserved. It’s possible they handled things poorly. Focus on the positives and assume the best. After all, they took a chance on you. Let them know you appreciate that and all the things you’ve learned along the way.
It’s been a wonderful experience working for [company] for [#] years. I’ve learned so much during my time here and appreciate the opportunities I’ve received. Thank you for mentoring me and to the whole team for creating an inspiring company culture.
And if you didn’t have such a great experience? Stick with a simple “Thank you for this opportunity.”. Even though it might not feel great, you now know what you don’t want and that’s something to be thankful for as well.
6. Close the letter
It can be difficult to figure out what to write and how to end a two-week notice letter. The best way to close a resignation letter is to reiterate your appreciation for the job opportunity and to see if there is any paperwork to submit or procedures you must follow. If it’s genuine, you can say you’d like to stay in touch and connected.
Thank you again for this opportunity and please let me know if there are any procedures to follow or paperwork to submit. I’d love to stay in touch. Feel free to reach out to me via [email address], [phone number], or [LinkedIn profile].
You can use “Best,” “Sincerely,” or “Thank you” followed by your full name.
To write your two weeks’ notice letter without much time or effort, you can use Teal’s Email Templates, included as part of the Job Tracker in the Teal+ plan. This can simplify and streamline the process, so you’re not stuck wondering what to write or how to approach it.
Two weeks' notice letter examples and templates
When you’re ready to resign from your job and write a two weeks’ notice letter, it’ll be different based on the reason for leaving, professional relationship, and company.
Accepted a new job
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name,
I’m writing to let you know that I’m submitting my two weeks’ notice, with my last day on [date]. I’ve accepted a new position that aligns with my career goals.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to have served in [role] for [#] years. I’ve learned a lot during this time and your mentorship has been invaluable for my professional development.
During this transition, I’m happy to provide support and assistance in any way you need. I’ll be wrapping up my work and final projects. Please let me know if you need anything else from me.
Lastly, I’d love to stay connected in the future. Don’t hesitate to reach out at [email] or [phone].
Quitting without a new job
If you’re planning to quit without a new job lined up, it’s best to submit a short simple two-week notice letter.
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name,
I’m writing to inform you of my two weeks’ notice. My final day is [date]. At this time, I’ve decided to explore other opportunities. I appreciate the opportunity to work for [company].
Please let me know if I can provide any assistance or support during the transition.
Moving and job is not remote
Sometimes your career path can involve taking an opportunity in another state. If you’re moving for a job that is not remote, a two-week notice could look like this:
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name,
I’m writing to let you know I’m submitting my two weeks’ notice. My last day is [date]. I’ve accepted a new position in another state.
I appreciate the opportunity to work for [company] for [#] years. During this transition, I’m happy to support you in any way I can and I’d love to stay in touch.
Quitting to freelance or found own business
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name,
I’m writing to inform you of my two weeks’ notice, with my final day being [date]. Working in [role] at [company] has been an exciting opportunity, but at this time I’ve decided to focus on my own pursuits.
During the transition, I can provide any support and assistance. After my leave, I’m open to freelance or consulting opportunities if you need additional support.
Whatever your situation is, using Teal’s Email Templates feature within the Job Tracker, you can easily revise and tailor your two weeks’ notice letter to your unique situation.
Common mistakes to avoid when writing a two weeks' notice letter
Giving two weeks’ notice seems pretty straightforward, but there are some common mistakes you want to avoid.
A big no-no is being too vague in your two weeks' notice letter regarding your departure, according to HR professional Rivera Gonzalez:
“Avoid being vague with your last official day of work date. There can be different interpretations of when the 'two weeks' notice begins and ends.”
Typically, two weeks' notice refers to 10 business days from today’s date but you still want to be direct and state your last day.
Avoid submitting a handwritten letter or one with spelling and grammar errors. Review your professional resignation email carefully before submitting it. Also, the format matters as well.
“If you’re emailing your letter, send it in a PDF format or in an email. Avoid sending a Word document as this can be edited and does not appear professional,” says Rivera Gonzalez.
So when you’re about to hit send on your two weeks' notice email, attach the PDF of your own letter so everything is documented and in writing.
Not having a conversation
Your formal resignation letter is just one part of giving notice. Ideally, you’ll have a face-to-face conversation first, and the letter is a confirmation of your leave in writing.
“Avoid catching your manager off guard. This does depend on the reasons you're leaving the company; but if it’s suitable, have a conversation with your manager or human resources when handing in your notice or prior to,” suggests Rivera Gonzalez.
Being too honest
First impressions are important but so are last impressions. If you’re leaving due to a difficult situation, you may feel like your resignation letter is the place to give a piece of your mind. But that can easily backfire, tarnishing your reputation and taking the potential for a reference or recommendation off the table.
Career Coach Mandy Steinhardt advises employees to keep company criticisms to themselves during the transition period after giving notice:
“Avoid burning bridges or making accusatory statements. If you wish to give your employer constructive criticism, the exit interview would be a more appropriate place for that, although I still don't recommend it. Providing feedback to a workplace you are leaving has no upsides for you.”
It’s important to maintain a professional tone and language. The “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all” rule applies here. You can write a short simple two weeks' notice letter and be brief and to the point.
Updating your LinkedIn too early
Landing a new position while employed likely means you were on a covert job hunt. You might be overcome with excitement, but you don’t want to post about your new job on LinkedIn too early. Avoid making updates before notifying your current employer and while you’re still working there.
What to do after submitting your two weeks’ notice
After submitting your two weeks’ notice letter, do the following:
- Wrap up any pending projects
- Document your processes
- Help train new employee, if applicable
- Delete personal items on work electronics
- Provide support and assistance to make the transition easier
- Say thank you
- Update LinkedIn with your new job title, after your last day is complete
Leaving your current position for a new employer can be bittersweet or a welcome change. As part of the process, submitting a well-written, thoughtful two weeks’ notice letter matters. It helps you leave on a good note so that you can move on and start fresh with your new opportunity. And if you need a reference or recommendation later on or want to be rehired? You leave the door open for that as well.
To get support writing your two weeks’ notice letter, sign up for Teal for free job search tools like our Job Tracker or upgrade to Teal+ to access Email Templates.