How to Retract a Resignation Letter

Three Parts:Send a Written RequestTalk to a Manager or Human ResourcesDeal With the Aftermath

Regardless of your reasons for submitting your initial resignation letter, you might find yourself in a position where you've rethought the matter and really want to stay at your current job. Retracting a resignation letter does not always work, but there are ways you can go about it that will improve your chances of success.

Part 1
Send a Written Request

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    Submit a letter as soon as possible. As soon as you have made the decision to stay with your current job, you should write up a brief letter explaining that you would like to retract your resignation. Send this letter to your manager or to the Human Resources department within a day or two of your decision.
    • Sending in your written request comes first. After the proper person at your company has received the letter, you should then try to speak with that individual directly, either by phone or in person.
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    Use business letter format. The letter can be fairly short, but it should still be written as a formal letter. You need to show as much professionalism as possible when persuading your employer to accept your retraction since doing so will help demonstrate a greater degree of seriousness and respect.
    • Write your name, address, and phone number at the top of the letter.
    • Type the date below your contact information.
    • Type out the name of the specific individual you are sending the letter to, followed by that person's title and the company's address.
    • After you finish the heading information, type out your salutation. It should read something along the lines of, "Dear Mr. _______:" Punctuate the salutation with a colon instead of a comma.
    • Write the body of your letter immediately after your salutation.
    • Close the letter with a professional saying, like "Sincerely" or "Respectfully." Follow the closing with a comma.
    • Sign your name beneath the closing and include your printed name below that.
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    State your intent. In the first paragraph, you need to clearly state that you want to withdraw your previous resignation. Include details about your resignation letter, as well.[1]
    • State your desire to retract your resignation letter before mentioning anything else.
    • List the date on which you sent your resignation letter and the date of your last intended day at work. Doing so will make it easier for your manager to locate your previous resignation letter in his or her files.
    • This section should not be long. In fact, one or two sentences will usually be enough.
    • Example: "I wish to cancel my previous resignation letter, sent on (date of original letter) with a projected final employment date of (date of anticipated resignation; usually two weeks from the date on your original letter). Please accept this current letter as formal notice of my desire to withdraw said resignation."[2]
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    Provide further details in the second paragraph. In the second paragraph, you should state your reasons for wanting to retract your previous resignation. You may also need to make a pitch to your employer about why it would be beneficial to keep you on the team.
    • If you have changed your mind without any persuasion from your current employer, explain what caused your change of heart. You should also spend more time convincing your manager of all the reasons he or she should keep you. Consider talking about your past work record if it has been notably good, or imply that keeping you as an employee would be less costly than hiring a new employee.
      • Example: "Upon further review, I realize that I would like to remain in my position of (job title) at (company name). Working for this company has proved highly beneficial in the past, and I believe that keeping me as an employee would benefit the company, as well. My past work record has been consistently reliable, and I know my job duties well."
    • If you wish to retract your resignation in response to a counter-offer made by your current employer, spell out the agreed upon terms in this section of the letter. This includes any new promotion, pay raise, or other benefit offered.
      • Example: "Following our conversation, I have decided that I would be happy to accept the promotion of (new promotion title) generously offered to me."
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    End on a positive note. In the third and final paragraph of your letter, you need to work on boosting your manager's overall opinion of you by writing positively about the company and by expressing gratitude.
    • Mention how grateful you are to your employer and apologize for any inconveniences you caused. Humility is key.
    • You can mention your plans for the future, as they relate to the company and its success, but doing so is not always necessary.
    • Example: "I look forward to continuing work with (company name) and apologize for any inconvenience this matter has caused you. Thank you very much for your understanding and consideration."

Part 2
Talk to a Manager or Human Resources

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    Clearly express your intent. When speaking directly to your manager or a member of the company's HR team, you should clearly reemphasize your desire to stay with the company.
    • After “hello,” the first thing that should come out of your mouth during this meeting should be a statement about your desire to cancel your previous resignation request.
    • Have copies of both your resignation letter and retraction letter on hand, just in case your manager does not.
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    Explain your reasons. The manager you speak with will likely ask you questions about why you wanted to resign and why you want to retract that resignation now. Be honest. Depending on the circumstances, your manager might be willing to work with you to help improve your morale and dedication.
    • At this point, you will need to go into further detail than you did in your original resignation letter and in your second retraction letter.
    • Discuss your reasons for wanting to leave, especially if there is some chance that those reasons can be fixed.[3] If you are facing financial difficulties, wishing to learn new skills, or struggling with other issues within your department, mention these issues first, since they are often the easiest to solve. You may also wish to mention issues that your company might not be able to resolve, like a desire to move to a different location for personal reasons. There is some chance that your employer might be able to move you to another branch or work out a telecommuting schedule that would permit you to spend more time elsewhere.
    • Also discuss your reasons for wanting to return. Mention the things you like about your current position and express a desire to keep doing your job. By explaining your reasons for wanting to stay, you can demonstrate greater seriousness about your decision.
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    Know which information to leave out. If the job offer you planned to accept upon resigning fell through, it is usually considered prudent to leave that information out when discussing the details of your possible return.
    • Letting your current employer know that you have nowhere else to go will put you at a disadvantage, especially if you hope to negotiate the terms of your continued employment. If you have no other job offer available, you are more likely to be desperate and more likely to stay at your current job even in poor working conditions.
    • Of course, if asked directly, you should not lie by claiming that you do have another job offer lined up when you do not.
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    Demonstrate your dedication. Since you already resigned, you may have given your employer the impression that you are not as committed to the company as desired. Emphasize your renewed dedication as you speak with a manager or with HR to help alleviate this fear.
    • Be humble, respectful, and gracious. Thank your manager for taking the time to discuss your retraction request with you and talk about your overall appreciation for the company.
    • At the same time, you should also speak positively about your own skills, work record, and work ethic. You need to make it clear to your employer that keeping you is better than letting you go.
    • If your initial resignation was made in the heat of the moment, you need to keep your temper under control now. Address the matter calmly, even if your manager or the HR representative is trying to push your buttons.

Part 3
Deal With the Aftermath

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    Know where you stand. Unfortunately, your employer has no legal obligation to accept your retraction, especially when your initial resignation was made in the written form of a letter. Your employer may consider your request depending on the circumstances, though, so requesting a retraction is still worth the effort.
    • Your employer is more likely to accept your retraction if your past performance has been excellent and if you resigned calmly for legitimate, understandable reasons.
    • Your employer is less likely to accept your retraction if you have done poorly on the job in the past, if you resigned in a fit of rage, or if your initial reasons for wanting to resign seemed sketchy or unclear.
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    Work hard regardless of the answer. If your employer decides to accept your retraction, prove that the decision was a wise one by working hard. If your employer decides to reject your retraction, you still need to work hard for the remainder of your time at the company.
    • Even if your employer refuses to cancel your resignation letter, you are legally obligated to continue working until the official resignation date specified in your original letter.
    • Burning bridges is a bad idea in the workplace. You need to show that there are no hard feelings, especially since future employers may contact this one when considering whether or not to hire you.
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    Move on when needed. When an employer rejects your retraction request, it might put you in a tight spot, especially if you do not have another job offer to fall on. Begin the job search as soon as you find out that a loss of employment is inevitable.

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