What to include in a short notice resignation letter

By Robert Half on 14 April 2023

A quarter of Hong Kong employees changed jobs in 2022, in hopes of finding better paying work and more opportunities for career growth. Whether you’re hoping to move elsewhere with your career, taking a break, or have to quit due to an emergency, a short and simple resignation letter is essential to formally handing in your notice.

Giving in your notice: When might you write a short notice resignation letter?

A short notice resignation letter might come about due to a number of factors such as a personal emergency, or your employer asking you to resign.

Regardless of how small your organisation is or how close you are to your employer, you need to write a short, formal resignation letter. It is best to do this after you’ve verbally communicated with your manager that you intend to resign.

Doing so also ensures you have a written record of your intent to resign, to avoid any mix ups in the future.

Short notice resignation letters vs long notice resignation letters

A short notice resignation letter typically differs from its longer counterpart due to the circumstances and timeframe in which it comes about. Reasons for needing to use one include a personal emergency, your boss asking you to resign, or starting a new job. If you’re giving in your notice under your company’s minimum notice period, you will be writing a short notice resignation letter. It’s best to refer to your employment contract to clarify, but in Hong Kong, this can be anywhere from 7 days to 2 weeks.

Related: Why do resignation letters include an effective date?

What to include in a short notice resignation letter (plus a template!)

“It’s best to be straightforward with your short notice resignation letter,” says Hailey Cheung, financial services Recruiting Manager at Robert Half, “and to keep the language as simple as possible.”

“You want to be considerate of your manager’s time, so it’s best to get to the point as soon and as clearly as possible,” Hailey adds.

Additionally, it’s important to keep your tone polite, and remember that it is best to leave your employer on good terms.

A few key points to include in a short notice resignation letter are as follows

  • The duration of your notice period and your last working day
  • A mention of your position within the organisation
  • A word of gratitude towards your manager for their understanding and for their guidance over however long you have worked with them
  • Preferred: a note on why you are resigning outside the standard resignation period. This could be one of the following, for example:
    • Taking time off due to personal reasons
    • Dealing with a personal emergency
    • Moving to a different city, state, or country
    • Needing greater work-life balance
    • Exploring a new opportunity or career path.

Related: Should I resign due to bullying at work?

Also remember to draft the letter in a professional business letter format, complete with the date, your full name, address, and contact details, as well as your employer’s full name, address, and contact details. Remember: do not be too familiar or casual, since this is a professional business letter.

A simple short notice resignation letter template

[Your name

Your full address

Your phone number

Your email]


[Employer’s name


Full address]


Dear [Sir/Ma’am]

I am writing to hand in my notice at [your company]. As of [date you intend to quit], I will no longer be able to hold my position as [your position]. I apologise for not being able to give you more notice, however, [a short explanation on why you are unable to do so].

I appreciate your support and understanding, and am happy to help make this transition easier in the coming [days or weeks]. Should you need to contact me following my departure, please do not hesitate to reach out at [email or phone number].

It has been a pleasure working with you and the team over the last [however long you were employed here], and I wish you all the very best.

Yours sincerely,

[Your name]


Related: How to write a 'thank you’ resignation letter (with examples)

Other tips to consider while writing a short notice resignation letter

  • Even though it is a short notice resignation, give your manager as much notice as possible – they will appreciate it and it will help with the transition as you get ready to leave
  • As a matter of professionalism, communicate your resignation with your manager first, not your coworkers
  • Offer to help find your replacement, if possible
  • Ask your manager about a reference, if needed.

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