How to Write an Appropriate Resignation Email Subject Line

How to Write an Appropriate Resignation Email Subject Line

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The subject line is a vital part of any email and largely determines how much importance the recipient will give the message. It’s all the more crucial for resignation emails. You’ll want to do it right to make sure your notice of resignation is given the response you want.

To write an appropriate resignation email subject line:

  1. State your intention to resign and other pertinent info.
  2. Use the most suitable subject line format.
  3. Follow with a well-written resignation email message.
  4. Follow up if absolutely necessary.

In general, a well-crafted resignation announcement be briefly stated but clear enough to command the attention of your boss so they can address the matter promptly. If you want more details on how to craft a resignation email subject line that follows the above criteria, read on.

1. State Your Intention To Resign and Other Pertinent Info

With a single glance, the subject line of a resignation email should alert the recipient to the intent and importance of the communication. This will bump the email up their priority list and increase the chances that even the busiest of bosses will open and read your message. 

To ensure your boss doesn’t scroll past your message, make use of these basic components of a good resignation email subject line.

  • State your intention to resign. Start your email with something like “Resignation Letter.” You can make use of other ways to convey your intention, and I’ll discuss those in more detail later.
  • State your name. This is self-explanatory.
  • Include other pertinent information. Remember that the person reading your email is very busy. If you only say “Resignation Letter – John Doe” without additional context, they may ask questions like “Hang on, who is this person?” Unless you know your boss can remember you by name, it’s safe to include other things like your position (e.g. “Team Lead – Department A.” I’ll discuss the other details you may need to include later.

2. Use the Most Suitable Subject Line Format

The most suitable subject line format for an emailed resignation letter depends on factors such as:

  • Company culture
  • The urgency of the email (whether you’re tendering a standard two-week notice or an immediate resignation)
  • Your personal preferences

Below are some of the most common formats for resignation email subject lines.

Standard Format

The resignation letter subject lines typically begin with a statement of the intention to resign, as these aren’t easily overlooked when scrolling through one’s inbox. They effectively call attention to the urgency of the matter at hand. 

Of course, the inclusion of your name also gives your boss a heads up as to who is resigning.

  • Subject: Notice of Resignation – John Smith

Alternate Format

Some choose to lead with their name instead, followed by their intent. This is entirely acceptable and ultimately comes down to individual preference. 

  • Subject: John Smith – Notice of Resignation

Additional Details

Some opt to include other details in their resignation email subject line aside from their intent and name. For example, they may indicate the effective date of their resignation or their position within the company.

  • Subject: Resignation Announcement – John Smith – Marketing
  • Subject: Notice of Resignation – John Smith – Effective 01/01/2023

Notice Period or Immediate Resignation

When resigning from a job, it’s customary to give one’s boss at least two weeks’ notice. This provides them with ample time to find your replacement and/or make the necessary adjustments your departure would cause. 

A subject line for resignation with a notice period could either follow the example above or one of these variations:

  • Subject: John Smith – Notice of Resignation – Effective 01/01/2023
  • Subject: Resignation 01/01/2023 – John Smith
  • Subject: Resigning as of January 1 – John Smith

In some cases, circumstances don’t permit you to offer the courtesy of a two weeks notice, and you have to tender your resignation with immediate effect. 

You can highlight this using a subject line for immediate resignation following one of these formats:

  • Subject: Immediate Resignation – John Smith 
  • Subject: Resignation Effective Immediately – John Smith
  • Subject: Resignation with Immediate Effect – John Smith

Funny Subject Line for Resignation Email

Resignation emails are generally formal by nature. This helps maintain an air of professionalism even as you part ways with your boss and company. 

However, some workplaces foster a different culture and encourage a more casual approach and familiarity among employees. 

If you’re resigning from a company that cultivates this type of camaraderie, slightly veering away from the strict formality of conventional resignation announcement is entirely acceptable.

Many choose to leave their bosses with a smile and cap their resignation emails with funny resignation letter subject lines like these:

  • Subject: Please let me go. Please!
  • Subject: Sorry for your loss.
  • Subject: This is goodbye, but hello to my budding business.
  • Subject: It’s time to quit.
  • Subject: It’s time for me to go.
  • Subject: It’s over for us.
  • Subject: Don’t worry, there’s still Facebook.

Samples of the Best Resignation Email Subject Lines

You can’t go wrong with the Intent + Name + Pertinent Infomation formula (and their variations) of resignation email subject lines. But let’s be honest: They’re rather dry.

While keeping in mind the importance of formality and professionalism, it’s also worth acknowledging that the best resignation email subject lines do not adhere to this tried-and-tested formula.

Some resignees have gotten creative and injected personality into the subject line and the email body itself.

Of course, there are factors to consider, such as the culture at your company and your relationship with your boss and colleagues. 

But by and large, the resignation email subject lines with a personal touch are the ones that really stand out.

Here are some of the best examples:

  • Subject: It has been a great honor working under you.
  • Subject: It’s been a pleasure knowing you, boss.
  • Subject: With your tutelage, I’m ready to face the world.
  • Subject: I’m honored to have belonged to a spectacular team.
  • Subject: Saying goodbye to all of you on (resignation date).

3. Follow With a Well-Written Resignation Email Message

Composing a great subject line for your resignation email is only part of the work done. A lot still has to go into the email body and build on the subject line. 

Aside from the salutations and valedictions, here are some other important things to include:

Include Your Reason for Resigning

It would be impolite and highly unprofessional if you sent a resignation letter without so much as a mention of your reason for resigning. There’s no written rule regarding this, but you do owe your boss an explanation about why you’re choosing to leave the company.

Your reason may be personal, in which case you don’t have to elaborate. But this exception aside, you should at least touch on the topmost tip of the iceberg that is your reason for resigning.

Offer To Assist in the Transition

Employee resignations often signal a period of some difficulty for the boss and the department at large, so some consideration from you would surely be more than welcome. For one, there’s the task of hiring a replacement for you. And when that’s done, there’s the training of this employee in the position you’re vacating. 

Moreover, if you had assumed some responsibilities outside of your job description, you’d be leaving a void that would be pretty hard to fill.

Should you be able and willing, you could offer your assistance to your boss in the transition following your resignation. 

Express Gratitude for Your Time at the Company

Whatever your experience was, be sure to thank your boss for your time at the company. After all, the opportunity you had to work with them has, in one way or another, contributed to your career growth. Additionally, this expression of gratitude would reflect on who you are as an individual and as a professional. 

So, why go through the trouble of mentioning all these instead of simply declaring your resignation? 

It’s professional. And it’s always an excellent idea to maintain a good relationship with previous employers. 

Your paths may cross again at some point in your career and you’ll be glad you left a favorable impression when you parted ways with them. And this can all begin with that one resignation email subject line. 

You don’t have to write five paragraphs hemming and hawing about how much you enjoyed your time with the company. A simple sentence along the lines of “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with you” can suffice. You’ll still exhibit professionalism without seeming too obsequious for comfort — especially if your experience with the company was less than desirable (which likely led to your resignation in the first place). 

4. Follow Up if Absolutely Necessary

On occasion, even with the best resignation email subject lines, your message may still fall through the cracks. Chances are your boss’s inbox will be flooded with hundreds of emails, and your resignation letter may have gotten buried in the deluge.

For example, if you intend your resignation to take effect immediately or within a time frame shorter than the standard two weeks, and your boss hasn’t given you a response within the time you want, it might be best to give him the letter in person. 

Don’t wait until the last day of your employment to follow up, though. If, for instance, you sent your email on Wednesday, and your boss hasn’t given any indication that they’re aware of your resignation on Thursday, you should probably approach them in person by Friday.  

Final Thoughts

A notice of resignation can be delivered in various ways. When sent via email, a lot rests on the resignation letter subject line. With the number of communications going into your boss’s inbox daily, there’s the possibility that they may end up scrolling past your message. 

Leading off with an appropriate and well-written subject line ensures that your boss catches sight of your email. Choosing a subject line format that best suits your particular situation also goes a long way to getting your message across. 

About The Author

Nathan Brunner
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Nathan Brunner is a mathematician who cares about the job market.

He is the owner of Salarship, a job search engine where less-skilled candidates can find accessible employment opportunities.