Your Guide To Writing Proper Resignation Email Subject Lines

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 2 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Resigning from a job marks a period of transition for both you and your employer. Adhering to proper business etiquette by sending a respectful resignation email with a clear subject line can make the process unfold smoothly and help you maintain your employer's respect. If you're preparing to resign from your current role, you might benefit from reviewing the best practices for doing so by email. In this article, we discuss the value of resignation email subject lines, the steps for writing the rest of your message and tips for making sure you finish your tenure professionally.

Why are resignation email subject lines helpful?

Resignation email subject lines are helpful because they enable the recipient of your message to handle it appropriately. For professionals who receive many emails throughout their day, knowing how to prioritise and act on each one can become challenging. Clearly stating that your email discusses your resignation ensures your manager or supervisor can review it immediately and take the steps necessary to prepare for a staffing change. They might have to notify human resources or begin looking for a replacement themselves.

Related: How To Explain Your Reason for Resignation (With Examples)

How to write a resignation email

If you're letting your employer know you plan to leave the organisation, here are steps you can follow when drafting a resignation email:

1. Write an informative subject line

Begin by writing a subject line that succinctly states the purpose of your email. The recipient of your email determines how much information to include. If addressing the manager who oversees your work, you can simply write Resignation. However, if emailing a human resources employee who may not know what your role in the organisation is, you might benefit from specifying your department and role in the subject line, too. Including your last day of work is optional but can help your recipient process the timeline of your departure.

2. Restate intent to resign and express thanks

Your resignation email can follow typical business email formatting, so begin by addressing your recipient with a standard greeting such as Dear Mr/Ms Last Name. In the first paragraph, restate your plans to resign, including the last date you're available to work. Proceed with one or two sentences that thank your recipient for their support or guidance. Sharing a kind sentiment communicates your respect for your employer and signals your intention to end your time with them as professionally as possible.

Read more: Email Etiquette: The Professional Business Email Format

3. Address next steps

Your second paragraph discusses the next steps you plan to take to conclude your obligations and acknowledges concerns your employer might have about the transition. For example, if you're working on a project with several deliverables in progress, you can use this paragraph to clarify which tasks you can finish before leaving and which ones require your colleagues' attention.

This section of your email can also address any administrative concerns, such as changes to your contact information. Since your employer might mail you documents, paychecks or other materials, it's important they know how to reach you after your departure.

4. Close professionally

Your last paragraph restates your appreciation for your team and emphasises your availability to help complete the transition process. For instance, if you know who your replacement is, you might mention training them or you might express an interest in arranging an exit interview. You can also use this paragraph to share your best wishes for the company's continued success. Use a formal closing, such as Sincerely, Best wishes, or Respectfully and sign your name. Review your message before sending it to ensure important details, such as your last day, are correct and that your email reads professionally.

Related: Email Etiquette: Best Regards and Alternative Salutations

Tips for writing a resignation email

Here are several tips to help you send a considerate resignation email that preserves a positive relationship with your employer:

Give ample notice

When employees resign from their positions, employers face the challenge of filling the role with someone else or restructuring other employees' roles to cover all important functions. To reduce the burden your resignation places on your team, try to give ample notice of your departure. Business etiquette recommends a minimum of one month's notice, but notifying your management earlier can give them more time to find the ideal candidate instead of having to rush a replacement. Especially when filling specialised roles that require particular expertise, employers appreciate the consideration of additional notice.

Share only necessary details

If you choose, you can share the reason for your resignation in your email. However, doing so only benefits you if your departure does not relate to current job dissatisfaction or issues at your present workplace. Whatever you decide, keep the details of your resignation and next steps straightforward by only sharing necessary information. While your next opportunity might excite you, losing a talented employee could disappoint your employer. Consider their perspective and keep your email positive, appreciative and simple.

Ask questions

Resigning from a job often raises several questions from an employee's perspective. Your resignation email is the proper context for you to ask management about any concerns you have. You might want clarification about compensation, benefits or receiving documentation you need for taxes or other purposes.

Best subject lines to use when resigning by email

Here's a list of the best subject lines for making your email's topic clear to your recipient:

  • Resignation

  • [Name] Resignation

  • Resignation from the position of [job title]

  • Notice of Resignation

  • Per our discussion of my resignation

  • Resignation Effective [date]

Resignation email template

Here's a template you can use when drafting your own resignation email:

Subject: Resignation Effective [your last day of work]

Dear [Recipient],

I am writing to inform you of my resignation from the position of [job title], effective [your last day of work]. I want to express my utmost appreciation for the opportunities working with [employer name] has provided me and the talented professionals with whom I've had the privilege of working.

[Address any outstanding concerns and next steps]. [Provide updated contact information, if necessary].

[Offer to help with the transition]. [Restate your gratitude]. I wish you and the team the very best for the future.

Sincerely,
[Your name]
[Job title]
[Company name]

Resignation email example

Here's an example of a resignation email that successfully follows the above template:

Subject: Resignation Effective 7 July 2021

Dear Alice,

I am writing to inform you of my resignation from the position of accountant, effective 7 July 2021. I want to share my immense gratitude for the opportunities working with Pacific Carrier Services has provided me and the exceptional team with whom I've been able to collaborate.

I have sufficient time to complete the second-quarter reports and should be able to minimise any inconvenience for you and the team. You can forward any tax documents to the address you currently have for me on file. If possible, could you inform me of how much paid time-off I left unused?

Please let me know if I can help you situate my replacement. Thank you again for your leadership and support. I wish you and the rest of the team continued success.

Sincerely,

Richard Lau
Accountant
Pacific Carrier Services

Frequently asked questions about email resignations

Here are answers to some common questions professionals ask when preparing to resign by email:

Is it professional to resign by email?

Depending on your employer's business model and your relationship with management, email resignations might be professional. If you work in an office or regularly interact with management in person, you benefit from resigning in a private meeting with your supervisor. Determine your last day and ask to sit down with your manager. As you would if emailing, stress your appreciation for your time with the company and offer to help with the transition.

If you work remotely and don't have a well-established relationship with management, an email resignation can be perfectly professional. If you're unsure what the best course of action is, consult your employee handbook to see what it says regarding resignations.

To whom should I send my resignation email?

Send your resignation email to the manager or supervisor who directly oversees your work, unless company policy specifies otherwise. In your message, you can offer to forward your resignation to human resources, but your employer might handle that on their own.

If I resign in person, should I also send an email?

Even if you resign in person, prepare to send an email specifying your last day of work, too. Since employers usually want to document any notable personnel changes, they often ask resigning employees to send an email relaying the information they shared during an in-person meeting. If your employer doesn't ask, you still might benefit from sending one as a formality. Doing so also provides you with documentation confirming the details of your departure.

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