How to Retract a Resignation Letter

The process of having to retract a letter of resignation can be embarrassing and littered with potential pitfalls. However, if you have a good relationship with your employer and a reasonable record of performance, it can work to your advantage. If you deal with the situation in a straightforward, dignified and professional manner, there's no reason why your change of heart shouldn't receive a fair hearing. Few businesses frown on an employee looking to progress their career.

Draft a retraction letter stating that you wish to withdraw your resignation. Maintain a formal and professional tone throughout, and begin the letter with the reason for your decision. Keep the tone positive and stress that you look forward to continuing your work with the company. Never resort to begging or highlighting the problems it will cause you if you can't stay. Your employer will base their decision on your record and the contribution they think you can make going forward.

Send a copy of your drafted letter to a trusted friend or colleague to solicit criticism. It is useful to get the thoughts of a co-worker or somebody else who is familiar with the culture of your company and the nature of your working relationship with your managers. Ask for comments on the tone and content of what you've written.

Prepare the final draft of your letter taking any comments you've received. Review the text meticulously for any spelling or grammar errors and use a formal format with address and date details in the header.

Print your letter and send a copy to your line manager and your company's human resources department. It's also wise to send an electronic copy by e-mail from a personal account if you want evidence of your retraction letter.


Consider carefully whether or not you really do want to retract your resignation. If the offer of a new job has fallen through, you'll have little choice. If you just have cold feet or are having trouble resolving a personal or practical issue around your job, consider whether you might be able to work something out with your current employer. Take time to make sure you're positive staying is the right decision. If you've been persuaded by your employer to retract your resignation and have agreed to new terms, make sure you have these in writing before turning down another opportunity and withdrawing your resignation. Also, make reference to any salary or benefit enhancements in your letter and mention any new job title if applicable.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Internet
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About the Author

Michael Roennevig has been a journalist since 2003. He has written on politics, the arts, travel and society for publications such as "The Big Issue" and "Which?" Roennevig holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the Surrey Institute and a postgraduate diploma from the National Council for the Training of Journalists at City College, Brighton.