Should I be honest and write about why I know it is time to part ways in the resignation letter. If I do that, how long should the resignation letter be, for it not to be too long?

Should I write about things I dislike in the company culture? Or should I just be formal, clear and polite:

Taken from another question on WP.SE:

I regret to inform you that I will be resigning my position with [company], effective on [date]. Please consider this note my official [number] weeks' advance notice. Let me know if there are special duties, such as helping to train my replacement, that you want me to spend the remaining time on.

Adding the next bit could make it more personal:

I have family issues that take time/I want to focus on my thesis/health issues and I can't work at full efficiency anymore. I am thankful for the time I worked at company X... I wish you all the best

Mentioning what I dislike about the company doesn't feel like a good idea, intuitively.

I am inclined towards a formal resignation letter with no reasons mentioned at all. I found a resignation template on intranet site, it is close to the first fragment I posted.

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    @JoelEtherton I thought it could be but not anymore. Formal is what is required, so it's ok with me. Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 13:13
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    The best is to stick to the formal message. As a rule, even when approached personally, the best is to answer: "I feel like this is the best opportunity for my carreer at this moment" or "I feel like I need a change" or like "I will relocate" or something like this. The more neutral you keep it, the better it is. [Source: experience] Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 14:26
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    @ReallyTiredOfThisGame My question is more in the lines of "Should I include resignation reasons in the letter?" The linked question is more like "Should I tell the resignation reasons in person during exit interview?" Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 15:41
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    @MoustacheMan - What part of that is not covered by the answers to that question? Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 19:03

5 Answers 5


Stick to your initial suggestion. You should be having the discussion with your manager when you actually resign , the letter is just to document what you are doing (in some locales it isn't required), you don't need to go into details.

By all means discuss the reasons with your manager if you feel it is appropriate.

Also listing what you dislike is completely inappropriate, so keep it out.


Mentioning what I dislike about the company doesn't feel like a good idea, intuitively.

I am inclined towards a formal resignation letter with no reasons mentioned at all.

Your intuition is correct. Stick with the "form letter" approach.

Letters of resignation are just a formality, and not even required in many companies (in my part of the world at least).

The intent of such a letter is simply to start the ball rolling on closing out your current job, with your boss, with HR, etc. Keep it short, quick, and to the point. Leave out personal issues and feelings.

If you really want to convey your personal reasons for leaving, have a private conversation with your manager, and potentially with your HR rep. Perhaps even wait until your exit interview.

(You should probably search through the Workplace and look for questions/answers concerning whether or not you should talk about your dislikes at all, before you decide to broach that subject. That question comes up occasionally here. I've pretty much consistently recommended keeping those feelings to yourself in the past.)


The purpose of the resignation is to start the process of separating from the company. In some companies the letter is used by a manger to contact HR to make sure that all the steps that the company requires are started and completed on time. Depending on the company this goes way beyond the needs of your direct supervisor.

The letter should be short, and tell them only what they need to know: you are resigning, and here is your last day.

If there will be an exit interview, and the format of that interview will depend on the company. How you tell your coworkers is not a part of the resignation letter.

Your offer to help train a replacement, or to help finish a task is not a part of the letter. Negotiating s set of tasks to complete before leaving can be handled in other communication with your manager.


One thing that nobody here appears to have mentioned so far.....

Don't go burning your bridges and telling your soon-to-be-ex-employer how much they stink if there's going to be the slightest chance that your future employer(s) or other people with a need to investigate your past might approach them for a reference.

Tell your employer how much they stink, and you might find they either refuse to give a reference when asked, or otherwise they might just write a nondescript one phrase boilerplate that just says "we can confirm X was employed by us between dates X and Y".

Believe me, I've been there, in the employer's seat... those employees who left on bad terms were always the ones I just happened to be "too busy" or "unavailable" to provide references for !

  • who is "Ivo Coumans"?
    – gnat
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 15:42
  • @gnat It's someone who edited the question, so Tom probably mistook Ivo for the OP. I'll edit it out of the answer.
    – David K
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 16:54

Throwing a mud to your colleagues is not a good practice! If you feel there are some problems around you that make your job so hard that you think about leaving - discuss them!

Discuss them prior before taking decision to leave. That is the only way to solve the problems. Otherwise it seems like you are unsure with the reason why to leave and try to look for the problems around you to be more confident with your decision. And be sure you would always find some!

If you have already taken the decision, what is the point of talking about the problems? Are you so kind to help your ex-colleagues to see how many problems are around them? Will it actually help them in any manner?

The only help they might see from such discussion would be the fact that they had wrong person in the team and they should be happy you leave...

I've changed so much jobs in my life, but I never left any blaming team in my problems. The reason to leave was always the same - "Thank you for all the experience I got with you, but this is the moment when I have to move forward. Hope someday our roads cross once again and we will launch other successful projects, but right now I have to leave."

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    In the past, I've approached management on issues which I felt could be worked around. Only when I find them to be terminal do I start seeking alternative employment. At that point, there's no reason to continue drawing attention to the subject, as you've already made your case, and providing them as reasons for quitting just burns bridges. Sadly, there is no benefit to the employee for being honest OR even lying during an exit interview, and even less so with a resignation letter. Just get it over with, move on.
    – Cloud
    Commented Apr 17, 2015 at 12:47

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