I had a recruiter reach out to me a couple of weeks ago. I received an offer yesterday and I'm working on my resignation letter today, but was wondering if it would be appropriate to ask for a counter offer from my current employer in the resignation letter.

I have already spoken with them verbally and expressed my desire for them to counter. As a whole I'm happy in my current position, but the new position is a title bump (which I don't really care about) as well as a 25% pay increase.

So should I request a counter offer in the resignation letter since my current employer is aware of that desire? If so what is the best way to go about that?

  • 85
    Why don't you just ask for whatever it is you want in your current job and if you don't get it, resign?
    – user8365
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 15:56
  • 8
    You should care about the title bump. It may not mean anything as far as your self-esteem or your day-to-day duties, but it shows progression and advancement on your resume and can help your career (at least in getting through HR-types).
    – Chris E
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 15:56
  • 51
    Whatever its contents, don't send a resignation letter until after you've actually accepted the offer from your new employer!
    – Dan C
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 17:19
  • 68
    a resignation letter is too late for this
    – njzk2
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 19:04
  • 10
    In most legal systems, a resignation letter is a legal document that says "I resign, period". A letter that says "I will resign unless you do XYZ" is somewhere between a (toothless) threat and an attempted blackmail. If you want to negotiate that's OK, but, do it before you resign.
    – alephzero
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 21:27

4 Answers 4


A resignation letter, at least in my experience, is the official record that you are leaving an organization, not the start of a negotiation. If you've already spoken to them and told them that you have another offer, they haven't responded, and you are running out of time on your new offer, you need to make a decision. You can either accept the offer and give your notice or you can decline the offer and remain at your current position.

Before you turn in your resignation letter, you can reiterate your concerns to your manager and see if they can work with you. You can do that via email so there's a record of the conversation.

Also, you should keep in mind the reasons for accepting a counter-offer. A 25% pay bump and increase in title is hard to beat, all other things being equal.


So should I request a counter offer in the resignation letter since my current employer is aware of that desire? If so what is the best way to go about that?


A resignation letter (and even a verbal resignation notice) is about resigning, not about negotiating a counter-offer.

The time for a negotiation with your current employer is before accepting the offer from your next employer, and before giving your notice. At that point you could indicate that you have another offer, and that you wouldn't leave if they met your new title and salary requirements.

You verbally expressed a desire for a counter-offer already. It would be tacky (as well as useless) to include that in a resignation letter.

  • 43
    Exactly. A resignation letter with an exit clause isn't a resignation letter. It's a threat.
    – Chris E
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 15:57
  • 1
    The question doesn't indicate that the OP has accepted the offer. There could still be time to negotiate a counter-offer -- but I agree that a resignation letter isn't the place to do it. Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 16:35
  • 2
    Yup. The tackyness is important, too, as it's going to make the OP look like the only thing they want is money - this is not a lasting impression you want to leave with a soon-to-be-ex-employer.
    – enderland
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 18:11
  • And to accept an offer, if given would be a huge mistake. In the rare exceptions when an employer tenders an offer to get you to stay, that offer expires the moment they find a replacement. Expect to get escorted from the building with your personal belongings sent by post at a later date (if you're lucky) Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 18:50
  • @RichardU - Depends on jurisdiction!
    – AndyT
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 11:38

I think this is implicit in the other answers and comments, but it is worth making it explicit. There is a definite sequence to this process:

  1. Collect information for deciding whether to accept an offer. If you really want to risk the counter-offer game, this is the time to murmur something to your boss about having an attractive offer.
  2. Decide whether to stay or go. If stay, politely decline the offer and you are done. If go:
  3. Accept the offer. Make sure this is all in writing, including a definite start date.
  4. Resign from your current job, effective before your start date, allowing time to move if necessary.

The resignation letter comes after you have definitely accepted the new job offer, and know your start date, far too late for negotiations with your current employer.


Reading the answers there is some ambiguity as to your current situation. I'll answer assuming the following

  • You have not accepted any offer
  • If your current employer could match your offer you would stay
  • You care about your reputation with your current employer.

Firstly take a little stock of the situation. If the market rate for you is 25% more than you are getting, it is likely that to replace you your current employer would have to offer that. (Unless you are being underutilized, in which case moving may be better for you).

However on the flip side some companies can't pay more, either due to financial or bureaucratic reasons. Be prepared to move if they can't make the offer you want.

Also 25% is quite a chunk of money, but be careful of the work you will be doing, career progression, benefits and hours expected.

Hopefully you have thought of this and you are prepared to leave if you are not successful in your negotiation.

Right, so as others have said you don't need to put request for a counter offer in your letter. It is just a formal notice. However it can be an effective tool if you wish to play hard ball, and take a little risk.

A resignation letter is a deadly serious way to show that you are serous. Write it print it out, put it in your pocket. Tell whoever it able to negotiate your salary that you need to talk to them.

OK so very clearly explain your situation in the meeting. Don't make it personal. Just be clear is that as much as you like the job, you can't turn down an offer like you are getting unless you get X.

Some people do this without having an offer to back it up. I have seen companies where threatening to quit was the only way to get a decent pay rise. Your boss may think you are doing this.

This is where the letter comes in handy, if they are not willing to negotiate you can hand it in there and then. Make clear that this is the case.

In my experience actually having the letter will help you negotiate, even if it just the fact that it alters your frame of mind. Be very careful to make clear that this is just about you getting paid the going rate, not a personal vendetta or blackmail.

The risk is that after you resign your other offer could evaporate. Unlikely but it can happen.

Most of all don't feel bad. Companies will get away with paying as little as they can get away with. If you can get a chunk more money elsewhere they are under paying you.

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