How To Give Your Two Weeks’ Notice In A Positive, Professional Way

by Emily Malkowski

Quick, without thinking: what’s the best way to make a good impression at work? Is it nailing the interview process, always showing up on time, or making sure you get on your manager’s good side? Maybe it’s dressing to impress, greeting everyone with a firm handshake, or going above and beyond whenever you’re faced with a challenging task.

These are all great answers, of course. But one major factor that people so often forget about is the way that you leave a job—which is oftentimes just as important. (If not more so!)

Whether you’ve left your current job or you’re simply on the hunt for a new job, here are some tips on creating a standout résumé.

📝 Grammar note

It’s conventionally written two weeks’ notice (no hyphen, apostrophe S), although some style guides may accept two weeks notice (no apostrophe). Two-week notice (with hyphen) is also acceptable.

Regardless of what industry you work in, chances are you’ll be leaving many jobs over the entirety of your career. Hopefully most (if not all) of these departures are on your own terms, but moving on from a job doesn’t always have to have a negative connotation attached to it. Maybe you were offered a more exciting opportunity at a different company, or simply want the freedom to explore a new career path entirely. At any rate, if and when you decide to leave a job, you’ll likely need to submit a two weeks’ notice, sometimes more formally referred to as a letter of resignation, to do it.

Submitting a two weeks’ notice can be nerve-wracking, though—and for good reason. You might be wondering: where do I even start? What should I say, and how much information do I need to include? On the other hand, if you’ve never put in a formal two weeks’ notice at a job before, you might be wondering why you even need to bother with it in the first place.

To answer all of these questions and more, here’s what you need to know about how to give your two weeks’ notice in the most professional way possible.

Why do I need to put in a two weeks’ notice?

In the professional world, providing your employer with at least a two weeks’ notice prior to you leaving the company is customary for a few reasons:

 

  1. It gives your employer a chance to make other arrangements. Even just one employee leaving their job has the power to greatly disrupt business as usual, especially if you work for a small company. While you finish out your last two weeks, management can use that time to backfill your role, tie up any projects you were working on, and/or get other employees trained on the tasks you were responsible for.
  2. It allows you to leave on a positive note. When you give your employer a two weeks’ notice, you’re essentially showing them that despite your decision to leave, you still care about the company as a whole. Helping to ensure the transition goes as smoothly as possible for all parties involved goes a long way, especially if you plan to use your employer as a reference in the future.
  3. In certain cases, it may be required. Even if you speak to your manager in person about your decision to leave, some employers may still require a written record of your decision to leave, in case the company needs to refer back to it for legal reasons or otherwise.

Letter of resignation format: what to include

Your two weeks’ notice doesn’t need to be too long, but that doesn’t make it any less challenging to write. You want it to read professional and firm, but not harsh or unkind. You probably also want to explain the general reasoning behind your decision to leave, but don’t want to overshare or include more personal information than you’re comfortable sharing with your employer at this time.

While these are all important situational factors to consider while writing your two weeks’ notice, here is a general formula you can use to help you get started:

Section 1: Statement of resignation

The first section of your letter should get straight to the point—simply state that you’re leaving and indicate when your last day will be. Including a specific date is important here, as it ensures that there is no confusion or misinterpretation on how long two weeks actually is. (You might be counting business days while your boss might be counting calendar days, or vice versa).

Example: Dear [Manager’s Name], 

Please accept this letter as a two weeks’ notice of my official resignation from my role of [Job Title] at [Company]. My last day at the company will be [at least two weeks from today’s date].

Section 2: Statement of gratitude (optional)

Use the middle section of your letter to further explain your reason for leaving, if you feel comfortable doing so. Don’t worry if you’d rather not say; instead, you can focus on a generally positive sentiment about the company as a whole, the team you worked with, or one thing that you ultimately appreciated about the job.

Example: It has been a pleasure working at [Company] for the past [time frame]. I appreciate all of the valuable skills I have developed during this time, and I have greatly enjoyed working with you and the rest of the team.

Section 3: Your next steps

Finally, you’ll want to close your letter by outlining what your employer can expect from here on in. Focus on setting the tone for a positive and productive last two weeks with the company, and feel free to also include any other information that your employer might need to know, if applicable.

Example: I intend to continue providing [Company] with the same high-quality work as always over these next two weeks. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to make this transition as smooth as possible for everyone on the team.

 Sincerely, 

 [Name]

 

Helpful tips when putting in your two weeks’ notice

 

  • Be sure to review your initial employment contract before putting in your two weeks’ notice, in case your company has specific guidelines about resigning that you need to follow. For example, maybe you signed a non-compete agreement when you were first hired that bars you from working for your company’s direct competitors for a certain period of time. This could impact what jobs you might be eligible for in the future.

  • As soon as you decide to leave your job, make sure your employer hears it from you first. You might be excited about being offered a new job or making a major life change, but remember that it won’t reflect well on you if your boss learns about your decision through social media or from one of your coworkers before you’ve had the chance to talk to them about it.

  • While you’re writing your letter of resignation, remember that less is often best in these situations. Of course you want to be honest, but don’t feel that you need to go into unnecessary detail, especially if you’re leaving your job because you’re unhappy. If your employer presses you for more information, all you need to say is that you’ve accepted a new opportunity that’s a good fit for you and your future goals.

What to do after putting in your two weeks’ notice

Once you have everything squared away with your employer, it’s time to put your head down and finish out your last two weeks with the company like you said you would in your letter. Be prepared for your colleagues to ask you about your decision to leave during this time; if it helps, you can always prepare a “script” for yourself beforehand with as many details as you feel comfortable sharing when people approach you about it.

On your last day, be sure to return any company property (ID badges, key fobs, computers, etc.) as needed, and you’re done! You can leave this job on a positive note with your head held high, feeling confident that you did the responsible thing. Now all that’s left to do is update your résumé—here’s to all of the exciting new opportunities that lie ahead!

The finishing touch? Grammar Coach

Wait! Before you turn in your letter, check your writing on Thesaurus.com’s Grammar Coach™. The Grammar Coach™ platform makes writing letters, essays, emails, and a whole lot more a whole lot easier. Its Synonym Swap will find the best nouns, adjectives, and more to help say what you really mean, guiding you toward clearer, stronger, writing. Start writing smarter today!

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For more from Emily Malkowski, read: Take Your Résumé to the Next Level With These Action Verbs | How To Write A Convincing Letter Of Recommendation | 7 Tips For Compiling And Creating Writing Samples That Stand Out

Another place where people get noticed is LinkedIn. Do you know how to write a noteworthy LinkedIn summary?