14 days. That’s it! The only thing standing between you and the next chapter in your career is a short two weeks. Congratulations! Of course, this countdown to your last day depends on whether or not you’ve already sent your boss an official resignation letter – also known as a two weeks’ notice letter.
Maybe you already knew this, but if you haven’t gotten around to writing that yet, there’s no need to worry!
Your 14-day countdown can begin tomorrow and I’ll teach you everything you need to know on how to write a two weeks’ notice letter that's short and sweet.
The best part?
After reading this post, you’ll know more than just the standard advice you might have heard somewhere else! You’ll also have a strategy on how to use your two weeks’ notice letter as a tool that helps ensure you leave your job on good terms and leave the door open for future opportunities.
Why Should You Give Two Weeks' Notice?
Before we get to the note itself, it's important to know why we're writing a two weeks' notice letter in the first place.
In today's world, giving your employer “notice” before you leave is a common courtesy. Your notice is typically a conversation you have in advance of leaving, giving your employer time to prepare a plan to move forward after you leave the company.
While the length of your notice may vary in different circumstances, the acceptable standard is a full two weeks. By giving your notice two weeks in advance of your last day, you're showing your employer that you care about maintaining a relationship with them and you want to leave on good terms.
This is important because you never know when you'll need those relationships! If things don't work out at your next company, you'll still have the option to return to your current company with open arms. Or, further on down the road, you might want to connect with a former colleague about a job at their company. Leaving on good terms will keep those doors open for you, and that's why resigning with adequate notice matters.
Finally, at some companies, an official letter of resignation (a.k.a two weeks' notice letter) can be a mandatory part of the process. Many managers will ask for your resignation “in writing” which means you'll need to send them a letter in order to make your transition official.
6 Tips For Writing The Perfect Two Weeks' Notice Letter
Now that you know why giving notice is important, let's dive into the details around how to write a letter that's short, sweet, and ensures you leave on good terms!
Here are 6 tips to make sure you’re headed in the right direction:
Tip #1: Keep It Short And Sweet
An effective two weeks' notice letter clearly states the following information:
- Your intent to resign from your current role
- When your last day will be
- An expression of gratitude
- A proactive offer to help with the transition
If you cover those bases, you'll have the perfect letter. It doesn't have to be long either, a sentence for each bullet will do the trick.
Tip #2: Use The Same Tone You’d Normally Use When Communicating With Your Boss
There’s no need to be super formal when writing your two weeks’ notice letter – unless that’s how you normally communicate with your boss.
But, if you normally start your emails to her with, “Hi Jennifer, I was hoping to speak with you about….” there’s no need to switch it up here and write, “Dear Jennifer, I would like to inform you that…”.
Using your natural tone and language will help avoid making your departure feel awkward for you and your boss.
Tip #3: Avoid Sharing Any Negative Feelings
If you weren’t particularly fond of your job, it may be tempting to write in one or two passive aggressive comments to show why you’re resigning from your role. You also might feel that being honest will help them understand their mistakes or their gaps so they can fix them.
Your two weeks' notice letter is not the appropriate place to air your grievances or share this kind of feedback. When writing your letter, you want everything to be focused on the positives.
Going into detail about anything negative can come back to bite you later in your career. You may need your boss as a professional reference for a job down the line. You may even end up needing to work with them again. You never know!
Stick to the essential information and save all the details regarding what you didn’t like about your time there for the next get together with your close friends.
Tip #4: Express Gratitude (Even If You Don’t Want To)
Whether you’ve enjoyed your current job or not, it’s always a good idea to reflect back on what did go well when writing your two weeks' notice letter.
This doesn’t mean you need to tell your boss that they’re the best person you have ever worked for if that’s far from the truth.
But, you can simply express gratitude for what you’ve learned or how you’ve grown during your time at the company.
You don’t even need to go into much detail with this. I’ll show you what I mean later on.
Tip #5: Offer To Help With The Transition
“Oh no! Are we still going to be able to get that project done on time without him? Can anyone else take over his core responsibilities until we find a replacement?”
These will likely be some of the first thoughts that cross your boss’s mind after reading your resignation letter. The best thing you can do is put their mind at ease!
End your letter by clearly stating that you plan to help make the transition out of your role as smoothly as possible. Bonus points if you can point out the specific actions you'll take in order to make that happen.
Tip #6: Send Your Two Weeks' Notice Letter By Email
If you've read some other articles on resignation letters, you've probably seen them recommend that you print out a physical letter. That advice is a bit outdated for today's world.
Nowadays, email tends to be the best way. It's actually preferred by most managers and employers.
That’s because email quickly lets you inform everyone that needs to know about your decision to resign.
Email also creates a digital copy of your resignation letter that you, your boss, HR, and any other relevant party can easily refer back to.
But if you want to err on the side of caution, ask HR to review your contract and see if you’re required to submit a physical resignation letter instead.
If not, save some paper and write your two weeks' notice letter as a well formatted email. Let’s take a look at how you would do that now!
Two Weeks' Notice Letter Examples
Now you're armed with a framework for creating the perfect letter, let's check out some examples of two weeks' notice letters that check all of our boxes
The first template is a generic letter that you can apply to almost any situation. I've given you the overarching structure and included some placeholders that you can customize to fit your specific situation:
Example #1: Generic Two Weeks' Notice Letter Template
Subject Line: [Your Full Name Here] – Resignation Letter
Hi [Name Of Your Boss],
I’m writing to let you know that on [Date That Is Two Weeks From The Day You Send The Letter] I will be resigning from my role as [Your Job Title] at [Name Of Company].
I’m truly grateful for all that I have learned from you while working together and how much I’ve grown as a [Your Job Title] while working here.
To help with the transition, I’m happy to work with you to come up with a plan that makes sense for everyone. To get us started, I’ve included some initial ideas on the attached document and cleared some time in my calendar for us to discuss in person. Let me know when would work best for you.
Thank you again for this opportunity. I hope we get the chance to work together again in the future!
Short and sweet, right? Feel free to copy, paste, and tweak for yourself!
Next, I want to show you an example of the two weeks notice letter that I sent to my manager when I put in my notice at Microsoft. This will give you an idea of what a letter might look like after someone's filled in all of the blanks:
Example #2: Austin's Two Weeks' Notice Letter at Microsoft
Subject Line: Thank You
On the back of our conversation, I wanted to officially send in my two week notice. As discussed, my last day at Microsoft will be Friday, October 30th.
I'm incredibly grateful that we've had the opportunity to work together for the past year and a half. I'm planning to send a longer thank you note as we get closer to my last day, but I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you how much this role, this team, and your leadership has meant to me.
My goal is to make the transition as smooth as possible. In that vein, I've set up a weekly meeting with [Colleague] to develop a transition plan. I've also drafted up transition emails for each of our clients and created detailed go-forward plans for each so that the team can easily pick up where I left off. I will keep you updated on progress there and we'll make sure we don't lose a step.
Thank you again for everything, [Name]. I'm wishing you and the entire Channel Parter team a ton of success!
This email is very similar to the template in Example #1. Notice how I thanked my manager and provided specific actions I'd take to ensure a smooth transition.
These templates should give you a good foundation for your letter. Now let’s look at some other things you can do to make sure you leave on good terms.
Leaving Your Job On Good Terms
I’ve already given you a few tips on things you should do when writing your two weeks' notice letter to leave on good terms.
But, if you really want to leave a lasting impression with your boss, you may also consider taking on a bit more initiative. This is definitely optional. But hear me out…
If you noticed in the template I just showed you, there was one line that demonstrates extra initiative. Do you know which line I’m talking about?
It’s this one: “To get us started, I’ve included some initial ideas on the attached document and cleared some time in my calendar for us to discuss in person.”
This line shows your boss that you’ve really thought about how your resignation will affect the company and people you work with.
But what would such a document look like?
Well, for starters, you might include:
- How you plan to train a current member of your team to take on some of your responsibilities
- A list of all of your core responsibilities so that your boss knows exactly what to look for in a new hire
- Steps you will take to wrap up your contribution on any ongoing projects Here's an example excerpt from that plan:
Transition Meeting Email Example
In this document, I've outlined a few ways I plan to help ensure a smooth transition for the team as I exit my role as Project Manager.
#1 – Training Derrick or Laura to lead product status meetings
If you agree that one of the is a good fit to take over the meetings, I've blocked out time in my calendar to go over everything with one of them this Friday.
Either of them could also easily take over the following tasks…
And then what comes next?
You actually follow through with the plan you agree on with your boss and leave them no choice but to feel sad to see you go!
What Happens If You Can’t Give A Two Weeks' Notice?
While two weeks is a relatively short amount of time, you may find yourself in a situation where two weeks' is actually too long.
If this is you, you’ll want to check your contract again or speak to HR. Are there any stipulations on how and when you must notify your employer before terminating the contract?
If so, are you okay with the potential consequences? If not, you may want to adjust your departure date.
But if there’s nothing stating that you must give at least two weeks' notice in your contract, then it’s generally okay.
Keep in mind, though, it will be harder to leave on good terms the shorter the time frame you give for your resignation.
So, try to do it as soon as possible, be apologetic to your boss and team members, and do whatever you can to help make the quick transition as smooth as possible.
You’ll still be able to attach a detailed transition plan like we just discussed in the previous section to help leave on the best terms possible.
Key Takeaways For Writing Your Notice Letter
I hope by now you’re feeling more prepared to write your two weeks' notice letter!
But to make sure, let’s do a quick refresher.
1. When thinking about how you’ll write your letter, remember:
- Keep it short and to the point
- Use the same tone you’d normally use
- Leave out any negative feelings
- Express gratitude
- Offer to help with the transition
- Send your two weeks’ notice letter by email
2. To make things easier, use a template like the one I shared above.
3. Consider taking initiative to ensure you leave on good terms by giving your boss an outline of how you plan to help with the transition.
4. If you can’t give a two weeks' notice, make sure you’re okay with any potential consequences and do what you can to help keep things going smoothly until your last day.
Now it’s time for you to begin writing! Good luck and let me know how it goes!