Internships are a fantastic way to gain experience in your field of interest.
The opportunity to learn about an area of industry on the job and to work alongside experienced professionals is invaluable.
Having worked as an intern in the relevant field gives applicants an advantage over other candidates when applying for entry-level positions.
A CV that includes internships shows prospective employers that a young professional is driven, takes initiative, and isn’t new to working in a fast-paced professional environment.
That said, internships also have their shortcomings.
Many interns find that they have minimal involvement with the parts of the job that actually interest them and that they are essentially glorified coffee-runners and copy-makers.
In the other extreme, interns find themselves lumped with a huge amount of busy-work without being compensated fairly (if at all).
Interns also often have little to no job security and are rarely afforded the professional benefits granted to employees on permanent contracts.
Given the temporary nature of internships, as well as the low-to-non-existent pay, it is unsurprising that you may want to resign from your role.
Even if you have had a fantastic experience at the company in question, by definition, internships are temporary positions, and you will want to move on to bigger and better things.
Whatever your reason for resigning, you’ll want to make a positive final impression on your employer, considering that they will likely be acting as a reference for you.
Here is a step-by-step guide to writing the perfect resignation letter for an internship.
How to write a resignation letter for an internship
- Formally greet the appropriate manager, supervisor, or HR representative
- Express your desire to resign from your internship
- Provide the reason for your departure
- Give the desired leaving date
- Discuss the transfer of any unfinished projects
- Express your appreciation for the opportunity
- Add any final thoughts
- Offer your best wishes or kind regards
- Sign your full name
Formally greet the appropriate manager, supervisor, or HR representative and address them using their preferred title. Only refer to them by their first name if you are on a first-name basis with them. Your letter should begin, “Dear…”
Express your desire to resign from your internship and inform them that they should consider this letter your formal notice.
Provide the reason for your departure in as much detail as is appropriate. This will generally be one of the following reasons:
- Having received an offer a permanent contract elsewhere
- Needing to look for paid work or work with a higher salary
- Returning to university (either to begin a new degree or to start a new academic year)
- Dissatisfaction with the role
- Dissatisfaction with the workplace environment
- On personal grounds
- Due to relocation
- Wanting to explore other areas of industry
- Needing to undergo medical treatment
There is no need to go into great detail when providing your employer with the reason why you are resigning from an internship.
Depending on the nature of your relationship with the person you are handing in your notice to, the amount you wish to share may vary.
That said, keep in mind that this is a formal letter and do not overshare.
If you are leaving due to your dissatisfaction with the working environment of the company or organization you are interning for, remember to be diplomatic when expressing your displeasure.
Give the desired leaving date so that your employer can make plans to replace you within a reasonable timeframe.
Discuss the transfer of any unfinished projects to your colleagues. Provide your employer or supervisor with a detailed run-through of any ongoing work you have and state who you are handing over responsibility to.
If you currently have too many ongoing projects to discuss in your letter, ask to schedule an appointment with your supervisor to discuss the handover process.
Express your appreciation for the opportunity to work as an intern. This will sound different depending on the nature of your internship and the formality and size of your workplace.
Add any final thoughts that you are important to share with your employer.
These thoughts might involve praising the structure of the internship or constructive criticism of your supervisor’s management style.
Whatever is on your mind, this letter is your opportunity to make any final remarks you want to.
Offer your best wishes or kind regards, choosing a sign-off that is appropriate for professional correspondence.
Sign your full name as it is listed on your contract.
How to write an internship resignation letter if you have found a new job
Maybe you have already signed a contract for a new job. Or maybe you’re working out how to respond to an acceptance email, or are still waiting on an “in progress” application.
Whether your new position is firmly set in stone or not, if you’re confident that you’ll be in new employment soon, you can resign from the company or organization you are interning for.
Depending on the nature of your internship agreement, you may have a different notice period.
Make sure you check your contract (or, if you don’t have a formal contract, check your correspondence with your employer about the terms of your internship) for your notice period.
Most internships will not require more than a two weeks’ notice letter.
Don’t be afraid to let the workplace you are interning for know that you are writing a resignation letter due to a better opportunity.
After all, there is always a chance they won’t want to lose you and will come back to you with an offer of a permanent position.
Whether you would accept an offer of permanent employment from the business you are interning for or not, having multiple offers on the table puts you in a good position.
You can negotiate your salary with your multiple potential employers using the leverage that you have an offer of a higher salary elsewhere.
Here is a sample internship resignation letter if you are moving on because you have found another job.
Sample internship resignation letter if you have found a new job
Dear Mr. Rush,
I am writing to hand in my two weeks’ notice as I will be taking up permanent employment at Hargrove Set Design starting next month.
My final day will be September 3rd, 2023. I will ensure that any ongoing work I have is passed on to one of the other studio interns.
I have greatly enjoyed my time interning at Hollymount Studios. This internship has opened valuable doors to me in the entertainment industry, and I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to be a part of such a visionary set design team.
I wish you and the whole studio every future success.
How to write an internship resignation letter if you require paid work or a higher salary
As much as you might like to continue working for the company you are interning for, there are financial realities that no responsible adult can ignore.
Unfortunately, many internships are either unpaid or else offer only a partial salary.
While employers generally justify this on the basis of the experience interns are gaining, working hard for little or no money is not ideal.
And in fact, beyond being just an inconvenience, it is often prohibitive to remaining an intern long-term.
That said, there are paid positions in your field that will not only improve the health of your bank account but also come with more responsibility.
So ultimately, feeling like you have no choice but to move on from an internship due to financial pressures is not a bad thing.
Plus, if you are exceptional at the work you do, there is a good chance you have already made yourself invaluable to the company you are interning for.
This means they may want to give you a permanent paid position.
Informing them of your intention to leave in a straightforward and professional letter will enhance your chances of receiving an offer of a long-term contract if you stay.
Not sure how to let the organization or company you are interning for know that you are leaving them because you need a higher salary? This sample letter might help you figure out how to summarize your predicament.
Sample internship resignation letter if you require paid work or a higher salary
Dear Dr. Neuman,
I am writing to inform you that I will be wrapping up my role as an intern at the Gorey and Neuman Laboratory.
Due to personal financial constraints, I am no longer in a position to work as an unpaid intern. If possible, I would like my final day to be April 4th, 2024.
I am extremely grateful for the research experience I gained under your tutelage and hope to continue working in the field of cognitive psychology.
I will ensure that my ongoing projects are either wrapped up or appropriately handed over to another member of the team.
Thank you for fostering such a wonderful working environment and for leading such a cohesive and supportive team.
I wish you and the lab all the best and will be following your progress closely.
How to write an internship resignation letter if you are returning to university
Career advancement isn’t a straightforward process, and there are many roads to Rome.
It can be difficult to figure out what the next best step is to get where you want to go.
After all, different employers value different things. Some look for a wide variety of experiences as evidence of versatility, while others might value long stints in a single company as a sign of dedication.
And then there are employers, particularly in academia, who value evidence of educational achievement above all else.
Depending on what profession you are in and what your dream job is, you’ll want to make different decisions in the early stages of your career.
In general, however, to make the most of your potential and to ensure you have a great CV, you will want to combine high-level education with internships at prestigious institutions.
If you have been working as an intern for several months or even years and are ready to up your game by returning to academia, you can inform your employer that you are leaving to return to university.
Since you have made up your mind to get back into the world of books, journals, and databases, you aren’t angling for a long-term contract.
If you are already responding to offers for graduate school interviews, you aren’t trying to get the company you’re interning for to offer you a long-term paid position.
This takes the pressure off when writing your resignation letter. That said, ensure you write a professional letter that keeps you in your boss’s good books.
Who knows, you may want to apply for a permanent position down the line.
Even if you don’t, you may need a reference from them after you graduate.
Here is a stellar example of a letter from an intern who is resigning to return to university.
Sample internship resignation letter when returning to university
Dear Mr. Jameson,
I am writing to inform you that I will be leaving Gorman’s and Proctor’s LLP to attend Bernhard Law School. The degree program commences at the end of August, so my final day as an intern will be August 15th.
I will ensure that any ongoing projects I have are appropriately handed over to one of the new interns and will discuss the matter with Ms. Berger.
I have greatly enjoyed working as an intern at your firm and my experience here has inspired me to pursue a legal career myself.
I wish you and the firm every success.
How to write an internship resignation letter if you are dissatisfied with the role
Internships vary dramatically. Interns are often either under-tasked or over-tasked.
Many an intern has found themselves severely underchallenged, permanently restricted to the photocopy machine, or simply bored.
And for every intern who has felt their role is too easy, there is an intern who has found themselves overwhelmed by the outrageous amount of work expected of them.
It is only too easy to take in an intern and then treat them like a full-time employee.
Whatever the source of your frustration with a job has been, you should mention the shortcomings of the role if you are resigning because of them.
At the end of the day, as much as an internship can be a favor you in that it allows you to boost your CV and gain experience, it is also an enormous help to a company or institution.
Unless the relationship is equally beneficial to both parties, it is not a good arrangement.
You should therefore inform your supervisor, manager, or relevant HR representative about the difficulty you faced as an intern.
Phrase your criticism constructively so that the structure and tasks of the role can be improved upon for future interns.
While you might feel worried about adopting a critical tone in a formal resignation letter, your feedback may prove invaluable down the road.
Not sure how to diplomatically inform a business or organization that you are resigning from an internship because you were not happy with the role?
Read this sample letter to give you a better idea of what you could include.
Sample internship resignation letter if you are dissatisfied with the role
Dear Mrs. Chadwick,
Unfortunately, I am writing to inform you that I am resigning from my position as an intern at Chadwick Records.
The role has not lived up to my expectations, and I have routinely found myself with no tasks and without anybody to turn to for guidance. Even when I have been given jobs to perform, they have often been unchallenging and completely unrelated to my field of interest, which is sound engineering.
Please consider this my formal two weeks’ notice, which means that my last day of work will be February 28th.
I will ensure that any unfinished tasks I have been given are appropriately handed over to another member of staff.
While I appreciate the opportunity that I was given to intern at your record label, I would suggest changing the role so as to make it a more challenging and worthwhile experience.
That said, being able to listen to the wonderful music you produce has been a privilege I won’t soon forget.
I wish you and the entire team every possible success.
How to write an internship resignation letter if you are dissatisfied with the workplace
Struggling with the role of “intern,” however, is not nearly as bad as struggling with the workplace itself. There is nothing worse than finding yourself in a toxic work environment.
Is there bullying or intimidation among colleagues or from higher-ups? Do you feel under pressure to push yourself beyond your limits? If the answer to either of these questions is, “yes,” you are right to consider resigning from your position.
If you have decided to resign, you might be wondering how much detail to give your employer about your decision to leave. Even if you’re tempted to go on a full-blown rant, it’s best to keep your tone professional and objective.
Inform your employer about your experience and provide an example of a way in which the workplace felt toxic to you, all while maintaining a measured and mature tone.
Even if you are writing a resignation letter for a job you just started, remain cool, calm, and collected when expressing your disappointment.
Not sure how to go about this? This sample letter internship resignation letter might serve as inspiration.
Sample internship resignation letter if you are dissatisfied with the workplace
Dear Mr. Adams,
Unfortunately, I am writing to inform you that I would like to resign from N&M Consulting before the end of my contract term.
I have had several negative experiences with senior staff members that have affected my ability to complete my work. From inappropriate comments about my choice of clothing to name-calling, the language used by higher-ups to address me has no place in a professional setting.
I will be leaving as soon as my contractual two-week notice period has passed, on the 3rd of January.
I appreciate the opportunity I was given to intern in a top-ranking consultancy firm and can only express my regret at the fact that the reality of this workplace has fallen far short of my expectations.
I would suggest reexamining elements of the workplace culture at the firm and taking steps to ensure that future interns are not made to feel the way I was.
How to write an internship resignation letter if you are leaving for personal reasons
If you agreed to do an internship at a company, but circumstances in your personal life have changed since you took on the position and it is no longer suitable, you may have to resign.
Despite the impulse many people have to do so, there is no reason to apologize when resigning due to personal reasons.
Whether a relative has fallen ill or you have broken up with a partner, you might be struggling to balance your personal life with your professional one.
Anything that has happened in your private life that prevents you performing your professional duties can be called “personal reasons” in a resignation letter.
Of course, if you feel close to your boss, you can give them a more detailed explanation for why you are quitting. However, there is never an obligation to provide your employer with personal information.
Don’t despair if you have to leave your workplace before you planned to. If you’re wondering what counts as work experience on a resume, even a partial internship looks good.
For an example of how to give notice on personal grounds using a professional, measured, and objective tone, see the sample internship resignation letter below.
Sample internship resignation letter if you are leaving for personal reasons
I regret to inform you that I am resigning from my internship with Brewers’ Beverages Inc. for personal reasons.
Please consider this my two weeks’ notice and be informed that my final day in the office will be August 16th.
I will ensure that all my open accounts are transferred to Mia and will brief her on the background for each file as necessary.
I appreciate the opportunity I was given to intern with your company and have been so impressed by my colleagues’ incredible dedication to making the world a better place.
How to write an internship resignation letter if you are leaving due to relocation
Life is unpredictable. No matter how certain you were that you would live where you do for the foreseeable future when you agreed to take on an internship, things may have changed.
Whether you are relocating to take care of a sick relative, to move in with a partner, or simply because you are seeking a more fulfilling life, you’ll need to resign from your workplace.
Fortunately for you, there are few things more understandable than being unable to continue a professional role because you are moving.
One thing you’ll have to decide when resigning from an internship due to relocation, is whether you want to inform your employer of the reason for your relocation.
There is certainly no obligation to do so. However, if you are on first name and friendly terms with the manager, supervisor, or HR representative to whom you are addressing your resignation letter, you may want to.
After all, if you’ve been addressing your boss like you would a friend for the better part of a year, you’d probably feel strange simply saying, “I’m moving to Arizona” without providing any context.
Here is a sample internship resignation letter that appropriately lets an employer know that you are moving and why.
Sample internship resignation letter if you are leaving due to relocation
I am writing to let you know that I will not be able to continue working for Hannah’s Houses Ltd. because I will be relocating to Nashville, Tennessee due to my partner’s transfer.
I will be moving at the start of next month, so my final day in the office will be February 15th.
I will speak to Jenny about how best to wrap-up or hand over the projects I am currently working on.
I feel very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such a fantastic team of committed colleagues. I will follow your organization’s progress with interest.
I wish you and the whole team the very best,
How to write an internship resignation letter to explore another area of industry
Life is a game of trial and error. And the more quickly you identify what you don’t want, the better.
If you began an internship in a field that you quickly realized you had no long-term interest in, you might be wondering whether you have to stick it out.
If you’ve only committed to a short stint, you might see it out, just so you don’t end up feeling like “Help! My resume is too short!” at some stage down the road. However, if you’re at the start of year-long internship, there’s no reason to continue.
Ultimately, if you know that you’ll never pursue a career in the area you are currently interning in, there isn’t much point in continuing in your role. It would be far better to apply for a job in a field you can genuinely see yourself working in for life.
After all, internships are about gaining experience to put yourself in a more advantageous position when you ultimately join the fully paid workforce. Why waste your time gaining experience you won’t need and which employers in your field of choice might regard as irrelevant?
That said, you might feel guilty for reneging on a commitment to an employer simply because you don’t like the work. If this thought pops up, put it out of your mind. At the end of the day, you have to do what’s in your best interests.
Not sure how to phrase an internship resignation letter if you’re leaving to explore a new area of industry? Check out the sample letter below.
Sample internship resignation letter when you want to explore other professions
Dear Dr. Una,
I will be resigning from the Hartford Clean Water Initiative due to the fact that I want to explore other areas of the non-profit sector.
Please consider this my two weeks’ notice and schedule June 18th as my final day of the internship.
I will ensure any unfinished work I have is passed on to an appropriate party.
The team has been fantastically welcoming, and I am in awe of the work that you do. I will keep a keen eye out for any material you put out that I can share.
How to write an internship resignation letter for medical reasons
Of all the reasons you might have for resigning from an internship, needing medical treatment is by far the least controversial.
Your employer will surely be very sorry to hear about the health difficulties you are experiencing and will likely offer to help in any way they can.
You do not necessarily need to provide details of your diagnosis or treatment plan. Only share this if you feel comfortable doing so.
If you would like to return to the internship following a successful course of treatment, you can mention this. Your employer will almost certainly want to welcome you back once you are restored to full health.
Check out the sample resignation letter below to work out how to notify your employer that you will not be able to continue your internship for medical reasons.
Sample internship resignation letter due to medical reasons (illness)
Dear Ms. Robinson,
I am writing to inform you that I will not be able to continue in my role as Video Editing Intern at Skylark Media for medical reasons.
I recently received a diagnosis of long covid and will be unable to work for at least the next four weeks. If my treatment is successful and my doctor informs me that I am fit to return to the workplace, I would certainly be interested in resuming the internship.
I have greatly enjoyed my time in your editing department and am extremely grateful for the opportunity I was given to work as part of such an enthusiastic, supportive, and talented team.
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.