How to Write a Resignation Letter

Do you want to quit your job? The boss is mean, the colleagues are just gossiping, and the tasks are even more than boring. There are many reasons for termination.

If you want to change your employer, you cannot avoid a letter of resignation. In this letter, you have to observe a few rules — otherwise, the resignation could be ineffective in the worst case. But how do you write a termination letter so that it is valid?

In this article, I will show you how to write a formally correct notice of termination and which details you have to pay attention to when writing your letter of resignation.

Why a resignation letter is important

With the letter of resignation, you formally terminate the employment relationship with your employer. In doing so, employees must observe important points so that the termination is effective, for example, the address, date, and signature. If there are errors in the structure, content, or notice periods, the notice of termination is invalid.

In order to avoid formal errors, certain guidelines must be observed when terminating the employment contract. Otherwise, you run the risk that your notice of termination will be invalid and you will not be able to leave your old employer on time.

What to include in your resignation letter

Here’s a checklist of things to include in your resignation letter:

  • A letterhead

Make sure that you not only state your name and the name of your employer on the letterhead but also include the full addresses in each case.

  • A date

Your letter of resignation must include the current date. In the event of any complications, this serves as proof of when the termination was written.

  • Salutation

Avoid general forms of address such as “Dear Sir or Madam”, but find out beforehand to whom the notice of termination must be sent. In most cases, this is either the employer or the HR manager.

  • Subject

Make sure that the subject is as meaningful as possible. Normally, a simple “notice of termination” or “termination of employment contract” is sufficient. If you have special circumstances, you can also refer to them in the subject. For example, it makes sense to mark a termination as such in the subject line during the probationary period.

Note: If you work in a large corporation and have a very common name, you should also include your personnel number to avoid the risk of confusion.

  • Introductory sentence

The following applies: Be brief and avoid subjunctive constructions at all costs! The termination must clearly state that you are terminating and not that you merely intend to terminate. So do not resort to such subjunctive constructions: “I would like to cancel at the earliest possible date.” Instead, write clearly: “I hereby cancel at the earliest possible date.”

In the case of a proper and timely termination, you do not have to give a reason for the termination of the employment relationship. Only if you terminate without notice do you have to inform the employer of the reason for the termination if he asks about it.

Please note, however, that dismissal without notice is only possible in rare cases, for example, if your employer has not paid you for a long period of time or if there have been threats or physical attacks.

  • Specification of the notice period

You must state the date of your last working day in the letter of resignation. To do this, you must adhere to your respective notice period in the event of ordinary and timely termination. For employees, this is usually four weeks to the 15th or the end of the month. Please note, however, that a longer notice period can be agreed upon in the employment or collective bargaining agreement.

If you were able to calculate your last working day without any problems, you can use the following formulation: “I hereby terminate in due time and properly on (DATE).”

If you are unsure, you can fall back on the following formulation: “I hereby terminate properly and in due time at the earliest possible date. According to my calculations, this is the (DATE).”

Note: Remaining vacation time is not included in the calculation of the last working day. Simply enter the date on which your notice period ends. If you still have vacation days left, you have to take them beforehand. A payout is only possible in rare cases.

  • Request for confirmation of termination

Have both the termination itself and the date of your last working day confirmed, even if the employer is not legally obliged to send you a confirmation of termination. If he does comply with your request, you have black and white that your boss has been informed of your termination and that it has been received on time.

You will also receive written confirmation of when your last working day will be. You can use the following formulation: “Please confirm receipt of this cancellation and the date of cancellation in writing.”

Tip: With regard to access to termination, it is not uncommon for disputes to arise. So make sure that your cancellation has actually reached the recipient. If you send the letter of termination by post, you should use registered mail. If you hand over the termination personally, you can call in a witness who can subsequently confirm the termination access.

  • Request for a job reference

Ask your employer in the letter of resignation to issue you with a job reference. As an employee, you have a statutory right to this. By asking for a qualified job reference as early as possible, you give your boss enough time to write the letter and you don’t have to chase after him later.

  • Signature

Don’t forget to put your signature on the letter of resignation. A termination without a personal signature is ineffective. In this case, handwritten means that you have personally handwritten the letter.

Tips for writing a resignation letter

To avoid misunderstandings, these things should also be included in your resignation letter:

  • Full address of the employee and employer
  • Personnel number, if applicable
  • Current date to prove compliance with the notice period in case of doubt
  • The subject should contain the word “termination” to be legally binding
  • Salutation: “Dear Sir or Madam” or addressed to the boss/HR manager personally
  • Notice period (“I hereby give notice on [date]”)
  • Handwritten signature (not scanned)

As proof, it is helpful to obtain written confirmation from the employer that the notice of termination has been received.

Continue to work normally and stay motivated until your notice period has expired. Calling in sick or not working effectively for the next three months does not reflect well on you. Don’t underestimate the fact that other companies may be in touch with your current company.

It is not enough if you tell the boss in private that you want to leave the company. Even an SMS, fax, email, or social media message to the employer is not sufficient, because you must handwrite your resignation letter. Yes, with a real pen ✍🏼

Several examples of resignation letters for different situations

General-purpose letter of resignation

John Doe

1 Sample Street

12345 Sample City

Fantasy Inc.

Personnel department Robert X

2 Example Street

45678 Example City


Termination of my employment contract, personnel number: 1234

Dear Mr. X,

I hereby terminate my employment contract properly and in good time at the earliest possible point in time. According to my calculation and in compliance with the notice period, this is DD.MM.YYYY.

I would like to thank you for the good cooperation so far. I was able to learn a lot and I am grateful for the support you have given me.

Please confirm receipt of the letter of termination and the stated date on which the employment contract ends.

I also ask that you issue me with a qualified job reference. Please send me this along with my relevant documentation to the above address.

Kind regards

John Doe (handwritten signature)

Resignation letter with immediate effect

John Doe

1 Sample Street

12345 Sample City

Fantasy Inc.

Personnel department Robert X

2 Example Street

45678 Example City


Termination of my employment contract without notice

Personnel number: 12345678

Dear Mr. X,

I hereby terminate the existing employment relationship without notice to DD.MM.YYYY. I have to cease fulfilling my obligations arising from the employment contract due to [insert reason for termination] with immediate effect.

If contrary to expectations, this termination notice is not considered to be justified, I will terminate the contract properly at the earliest possible point in time. According to my calculations, this is DD.MM.YYYY.

Please confirm the termination and the termination date in writing. I also ask that you issue me with a qualified job reference.

Kind regards

John Doe (handwritten signature)


This article has been adapted from my blog post on



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