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How to write a two week cancellation letter

Sooner or later you will leave your current job for a better opportunity, perhaps with a higher salary or more resources for professional development. Be that as it may, you need to know how to write a two-week cancellation letter to your direct supervisor or boss.

Still, it can be challenging to write an effective, respectful two-week cancellation letter, especially if you don’t know exactly what to say. Read on to learn step-by-step how to write a two-week cancellation letter, plus some tips you can use to make sure your letter gets the right grades.

What is a two week notice period?

A two week notice letter is a formal notice that you intend to leave your position within two weeks. Two weeks is the standard time to notify your employer of that intent – that way they have enough time to look for your replacement and you have enough time to complete any final duties.

Suppose you are working on a large project with several other colleagues. You will have an exciting opportunity to work at another company for more money. Of course you want to take that opportunity, but it’s disrespectful to get up and leave in the middle of a project.

Instead, you give your employer a two-week notice of termination. This way you have your affairs in order regarding the project and your employer can start looking for a replacement as soon as possible. Sometimes they can even replace you before the two weeks are up.

Why are two-week cancellation letters important?

While not required by law, two weeks in advance, letters are important primarily as a gesture of respect. It shows your employer that you still respect their time and effort, even though you know the company will be inconvenienced if you leave them. Likewise, it gives you plenty of time to complete any final projects or business matters you may need to complete before you leave for another organization.

More important, a notice period of two weeks avoids burning bridges with your employer (assuming they are equally respectful and understand that you should do what suits your career or family). If you submit a two-week notice letter to your employer before you quit, they’re much more likely to write you a letter of recommendation for a future employer or school program.

On the other hand, if you don’t give your employer a two-week notice of termination, they may not recommend you to a prospective company. They may also tell you to leave immediately, which will give you another two weeks’ pay to collect.

Related: What employers should have learned from the big layoffs

How do you write a good two-week cancellation letter to your boss?

Writing a decent, respectful two-week cancellation letter to your boss isn’t as hard as you might think. Here is the step-by-step process to follow every time.

Find a template

First, find a decent two-week cancellation letter template online. Many websites, including recruiting websites and sites like LinkedIn, have resignation letter templates available that you can download and fill out using Microsoft Word or another word processor.

It doesn’t matter which template you choose; they’re just helpful tools, so you don’t have to draft the outline for your two-week cancellation letter from scratch.

Address the letter

Now it’s time to address the letter to its intended recipient. This is generally your immediate supervisor or boss. Include the date, the company name and the name of the person to whom the letter is addressed. If possible, use their formal title.

State your resignation

The central part of the letter will be yours resignation statement. In the opening paragraph of your two-week termination letter, simply state that you are informing your employer that you will be resigning from your position within two weeks of the current date. Always include the current date you’re writing a letter (and you should consistently deliver your two-week cancellation letter on the same day). That way, the two-week countdown doesn’t start when your boss receives the letter.

In the latter case, your boss may pretend not to receive the letter for some time after delivery, extending the time you “have” to stay at your current company.

Express gratitude for opportunities

Adding a second paragraph to thank your employer for the opportunities and positive experiences you’ve had is essential. You do not have to tell your employer why you are leaving. It is usually not necessary. If you meet your supervisor or boss in person, you can give him or her additional details during an interview if you wish.

This part of the two-week cancellation letter is essential so that your employer knows there are no bad feelings on your end. This will be a crucial element if you ever need to be hired by the same organization again.

Make it clear that you will fulfill your final duties

Clearly state in the third and final paragraph that you intend to perform your duties until the last day of your employment. This takes some of the stress of finding your replacement off your employer’s shoulders, and emphasizes the respect with which you handle the entire process.

Sign the letter

Finally, sign the letter with a formal closing, such as “Sincerely.” Sign your name in italics and print your name above it.

Related: Tired of your job? 5 tips for writing a resignation letter

3 critical tips for writing an effective two-week cancellation letter

Pretty much every two weeks, the cancellation letter will be the same and follow a similar template as described above. However, also keep some tips and strategies in mind when drafting your letter to ensure it has the right impact.

1. Keep it short and simple

First, and perhaps most importantly, always keep your two-week cancellation letter short, sweet, and to the point. Don’t go into too much detail and don’t make it too long to read.

When you hand your two-week notice letter to your boss, they’ll know right away what it is. If you have a good relationship with them, they should be very surprised by your decision.

In any case, it’s critical to keep your letter short, because the actual content doesn’t matter that much. In some ways, your two-week termination letter is evidence that you’re following the responsible, respectful firing process. Giving your employer extra fluff to read won’t buy you any favors and won’t make you look better.

2. Be respectful

When drafting your letter, 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 main purposes of a two-week termination letter is to show your employer’s respect while still exercising your right to terminate your employment contract at will.

3. Plan to leave immediately, just in case

Unfortunately, a two-week cancellation letter does not always have the intended effect. Some employers are less than stellar; if your boss is angry that you are leaving the company, they may lash out at you. This is unfair, but it is something you should prepare for.

By far the most common unintended side effect of handing in a two week notice letter is your boss telling you to leave immediately. Then you can be fired and you can receive certain benefits. But don’t worry about that for now – instead, go back to your desk and tidy up.

To prepare for this possibility, plan to leave immediately after turning in your two-week cancellation letter, just in case. You can never know with 100% certainty how someone will react to your intention to leave, so it’s best to start your job search or prepare for your new job as soon as possible.

Related: 8 keys to keeping employees happy and engaged during the big layoff

How can you write an excellent two-week cancellation letter?

Now you know how to write a two-week cancellation letter. With this information, you can gracefully leave any job to pursue a better opportunity.

Checking out Other australiabusinessblog.com Articles for more information on layoffs and other professional topics.


Shreya has been with australiabusinessblog.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider australiabusinessblog.com, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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