Sooner or later, you’ll leave your current job for a better opportunity, perhaps with higher pay or more professional development resources. Whatever the case, you must know how to write a two weeks notice letter to your direct supervisor or boss.
Yet writing an effective, respectful two weeks notice letter can be challenging, especially if you don’t know exactly what to say. Read on to learn how to write a two weeks notice letter step-by-step, plus some tips you can use to ensure your letter hits all the right marks.
What is a two weeks notice?
A two weeks notice letter is a formal notice that you intend to resign from your position in two weeks. Two weeks is the standard time to notify your employer about that intention — that way, they have enough time to begin looking for your replacement, and you have enough time to wrap up any final duties.
Say that you are working on a big project with several other coworkers. You get an exciting opportunity to work at a different company for more money. Naturally, you want to take that opportunity, but it’s disrespectful to just up and leave in the middle of a project.
Instead, you give your employer a two weeks notice letter. That way, you can get your affairs in order regarding the project, and your employer can start looking for your replacement ASAP. Sometimes, they can even replace you before the two weeks are up.
Why are two weeks notice letters important?
While not legally required, two weeks notice letters are important primarily as a gesture of respect. It shows your employer that you still respect their time and efforts even though you know leaving them will inconvenience the company. Similarly, it gives you enough time to wrap up any final projects or company business you may need to finish before leaving for another organization.
More importantly, a two weeks notice prevents you from burning bridges with your employer (assuming they are similarly respectful and understand that you must do what suits your career or family). If you submit a two weeks notice letter to your employer before quitting, they’ll be much more likely to write you a recommendation letter for a future employer or school program.
On the flip side, if you don’t provide your employer with a two weeks notice letter, they might not recommend you to a future company. They may also tell you to leave immediately, preventing you from collecting two more weeks of pay.
How do you write a good two weeks notice letter to your boss?
Writing a solid, respectful two weeks notice letter to your boss isn’t as difficult as you may think. Here’s the step-by-step process you should follow every time.
Find a template
First, find a decent two weeks notice letter template online. Many websites, including recruitment websites and sites like LinkedIn, have resignation notice letter templates available, which you can download and fill in using Microsoft Word or another word processor.
Which template you choose doesn’t matter; they’re just handy tools, so you don’t have to draw up the outline for your two weeks notice letter from scratch.
Address the letter
Now it’s time to address the letter to its intended recipient. This is generally your direct supervisor or boss. You should include the date, company name and the name of the person to which the letter is addressed. Use their formal title if possible.
State your resignation
The central part of the letter will be your resignation statement. In the opening paragraph of your two weeks notice letter, just state that you are informing your employer that you will resign from your position in two weeks from the current date. Always state the current date you write a letter (and you should consistently deliver your two-week notice letter on the same day you write it). That way, the two-week countdown doesn’t start when your boss receives the letter.
In the latter case, your boss could pretend not to receive the letter for some time after delivery, extending the time you “have” to stay with your current company.
Express gratitude for opportunities
Adding a second paragraph to thank your employer for the opportunities and positive experiences you have had is essential. You don’t need to tell your employer why you are leaving. It’s usually not necessary. If you meet with your supervisor or boss in person, you can provide them with extra details over a conversation if you like.
This part of the two weeks notice letter is essential so your employer knows there aren’t any bad feelings on your side. This will be a crucial element if you ever need to be rehired by the same organization.
Make it clear you’ll fulfill your last duties
In the third and final paragraph, state clearly that you plan to fulfill your duties until the last day of your employment. This takes some of the stress of finding your replacement off the shoulders of your employer, plus highlights the respect with which you are handling the entire process.
Sign the letter
Lastly, sign the letter with a formal closing, like “Sincerely.” Sign your name in cursive and print your name above it.
3 critical tips for writing an effective two weeks notice letter
Practically every two weeks notice letter will be the same and follow a similar template as the one described above. However, you should also keep some tips and strategies in mind when drafting your letter to ensure it has the right effect.
1. Keep it short and simple
First, and perhaps most importantly, always keep your two weeks notice letter short, sweet and to the point. Do not go into excessive detail, and don’t make it very long to read.
When you hand your two weeks notice letter to your boss, they will immediately know what it is. If you have a good relationship with them, they should be particularly surprised by your decision.
In any case, keeping your letter short is crucial because the actual contents don’t matter so much. In some ways, your two weeks notice letter is documentation that you are following the responsible, respectful resignation process. Giving your employer extra fluff to read won’t buy you any favors or make you look any better.
2. Be respectful
As you draft your letter, you should be as respectful as possible. Always use your boss’s formal title, and avoid overly casual or friendly language. Keep your words formal and professional at all times. Again, one of the primary purposes of a two weeks notice letter is to show your employer respect while still exercising your right to terminate your at-will employment contract.
3. Plan to leave immediately, just in case
Unfortunately, a two weeks notice letter doesn’t always have the intended effect. Some employers are less than stellar; if your boss is upset that you are leaving the company, they could lash out at you. This is unfair, but it’s something you need to prepare for.
By far, the most common unintended side effect of handing in a two weeks notice letter is your boss telling you to get out immediately. In that case, you may be fired, in which case you can collect certain benefits. But don’t worry about that right now — instead, go back to your desk and clean everything out.
To prepare for this possibility, you should plan to leave immediately after turning in your two weeks notice letter, just in case. You can’t ever know with 100% certainty how someone will react to your intention to depart, so it’s best to be prepared to start your job hunt or prepare for your new job ASAP.
How can you write an excellent two weeks notice letter?
Now you know how to write a two weeks notice letter. With this information, you can gracefully bow out from any job position in pursuit of a better opportunity.
Check out Entrepreneur’s other articles for more information about resignation and other professional topics.