Not long ago, resigning via email was widely seen as a bad form. Unless you wanted to burn bridges and seem extremely unprofessional, you would take the time to voice your decision in person.
Now as remote work is commonplace, that’s no longer the case. People can work in a company for years without ever being in the same room as their supervisor or HR team. Resigning via email isn’t just acceptable. It may be necessary.
Still, a quitting email, coming seemingly out of the blue, can leave a bad impression on an employer. That’s the last thing you’d want.
Here are some guidelines on how to resign via email while maintaining healthy, professional connections.
How to Resign From a Job Via Email
While you don’t owe someone an in-depth explanation of your decision to leave a job, you should reconsider using an email to avoid a difficult conversation.
Resigning by email is more than warranted when:
- You don’t have physical access to your employer for an in-person meeting
- It’s necessary to deliver notice before you can schedule a virtual 1:1
- You have reason to feel unsafe delivering your resignation in person
- There are thoughts that you want to deliver without interruption or confrontation
If the above sounds like your case, here’s how to do so:
1. Give Sufficient Notice
Two weeks is the standard notice to give for most jobs. Although, there may be official or “unwritten” rules in certain industries. If you are unsure, check your work contract. You can also ask a colleague or someone who recently left the organization to reconfirm the expectations.
Sidenote: Given the current socio-economic climate in some countries, workers are being encouraged to quit jobs without notice. The idea is that employers aren’t obligated to give notice prior to layoffs. This may sound particularly appealing if your work contract doesn’t include any severance packages.
If you take this route, however, consider any potential consequences. You could render yourself ineligible for future rehire, or lose accumulated time off pay, for example. Likewise, there are pros and cons of quitting vs being fired.
When you do leave notice, clarify what your last day will be. This will prevent any confusion.
2. Address The Quitting Email to The Right Person
Your email should be sent to your manager or supervisor. If your company has an HR department, copy it to them as well.
Don’t send a resignation letter to other team members. You can address them separately if you choose to in a more casual “parting ways” message.
3. Add an Appropriate Subject Line
Use a clear, succinct subject line for your resignation email. It should clearly indicate the email’s content.
Here are a few tips:
- Avoid emotion or sentimentality
- Include your full name
- Keep it simple: “Notice of Resignation For John Smith” is fine
Finally, be professional. Even if you are angry or frustrated, avoid the temptation to include any snarky or vicious remarks.
4. Start With a Professional Greeting
Use a professional email greeting and the contact person’s name. Something like, “Hello, Manager Name”. It’s fine to be affable, but don’t be too casual.
5. Provide Sufficient Context
Ensure that your intentions are clear without engaging in further conversations. State directly that you are resigning. Name your role/position and the department. Mention your last work day.
You can also include your reason for resigning if you want. It isn’t necessary. If you do, be brief and matter-of-fact. Don’t vent your spleen.
6. Ask About Follow-Up Steps
Ask the recipient of the email to advise you about any next steps. They may want to conduct an exit interview or arrange for you to return any equipment.
At this point, you should also get direct answers to the following questions:
- When will the last paycheck arrive?
- How can I transfer my 401(k) to the new employer?
- When will my insurance coverage end?
- Are there any transferable benefits?
Then comply with the other offboarding activities the HR will ask you to complete.
Resignation Email Example
Here is a brief sample of a resignation email that is effective and professional
Subject: Notice of Resignation For Nigel West Effective 09/15/2023
I’m writing this email to officially announce my resignation as head cashier. My last day will be two weeks from today on September 15th. I’m pursuing a new position as a veterinary assistant.
Please, let me know which offboarding steps I’d need to complete in the next two weeks.
It was a pleasure working at Sumersbee’s.
Resigning via email is a perfectly acceptable thing to do. In many ways, your approach to this should be just like submitting your resignation in person. Give plenty of notice, remain professional, and state your intentions clearly. This will ensure a drama-free exit, and maintain your credibility in your field.