When you leave a job—whether it's because you've been laid off or you're retiring, returning to school, have accepted a new job, or are just moving on in general—it's a good idea to send a farewell email or letter to your co-workers.
Your farewell note is the perfect place for you to thank co-workers for the opportunity you’ve had to work together. It's also a place to share contact information.
The people you work with throughout your career form the bedrock of your professional network, so it's important to make it easy for them to keep in touch.
Review advice on who should receive a farewell letter or email, the best way to explain that you're moving on, and examples of letters and emails saying goodbye to colleagues you'll no longer be working with.
Who Should Receive a Farewell Letter?
While you may tell many colleagues that you're departing the company in a face-to-face conversation, sending a letter (either by email, note, or traditional snail mail) ensures that everyone knows the news.
You should use your judgment to decide who should receive a farewell letter. If you have a small office, you might send it to everyone in the company. However, for larger companies, consider just sending the letter to your immediate group or team or to particular people whom you have worked closely with during your stint at that company.
When and How to Send a Farewell Letter or Email
It's a good idea to send your farewell letter as close as possible to your last day of work. Preferably, your co-workers will receive the letter on your last day (or second-to-last day), when you are finished with your duties. That way, you will have time to say goodbye to people in person.
You can send either a goodbye letter, a handwritten note, or an email. An email is an easy way to efficiently tell everyone about your leaving. However, if you send a paper letter, make sure people will receive it before you leave so they have time to say goodbye in person if they want to.
What to Include in a Farewell Letter
Whatever the reason for your departure, here is the most important information to include in your note:
- Gratitude and a thank you. Even if you weren't happy at your job or with every single person you worked with, it's polite to express your thanks and appreciation to co-workers. Work associates who feel that you have valued them are far more likely to keep in touch with you—thus becoming long-term connections that can be valuable both for personal and professional reasons.
- Where you're going next. You don't have to share information about where you're going next, but if you feel comfortable doing so, you certainly can. People are naturally curious about why co-workers have left their organization, and providing a brief description of your future plans can help to defuse workplace gossip and also offer closure to your team members. If you choose to provide details, though, be sure to keep the tone positive and upbeat, without drawing negative comparisons between your future and current workplaces.
- Contact information. This will make it easy for co-workers to keep in touch. You can CC your personal email address in your note to make it easy for people to respond. You can also include links to your social media presence (think: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.).
Farewell Letter Template
You can use a template as a starting point for your own letter. However, you should always personalize and customize your letter so it reflects your work experience and your relationship with your co-workers. For example, if you don’t want to include a phone number in your farewell letter, you don’t need to do so.
Subject: Your Name - Moving On
Use the first paragraph of your farewell letter to let your co-workers know that you are leaving the company. It's fine to tell them where you are going and what you will be doing. However, don't mention anything negative about your present employer or why you are moving on. You should also mention the specific day you will be leaving so your co-workers have time to say goodbye if they wish to.
In the second paragraph, thank your co-workers for all the support they have provided you. Mention that you have enjoyed working with them and that you'll miss them, even though it’s time for you to move on. Depending on the number of co-workers you have, you may want to individualize this paragraph for each person, specifying something in particular that you appreciate about each of them.
The third paragraph should let your contacts know where they can reach you. Include your personal email address, phone number, and LinkedIn URL.
In the last paragraph, reiterate your thanks.
Farewell Email Sample
This sample employee farewell letter can be used to let your co-workers and colleagues know that you are resigning. The letter also includes information on how you can be contacted in the future.
Farewell Email to Colleagues Example
Subject: Jerry Rodriguez - Moving On
I'd like to let you know that I am leaving my position at BDE Corporation on July 1st.
I have enjoyed my tenure at BDE, and I appreciate having had the opportunity to work with you. Thank you for the support and encouragement you have provided me during my time at BDE.
Even though I will miss my colleagues, clients, and the company, I am looking forward to starting a new phase of my career.
Please keep in touch. I can be reached at my personal email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) or my cell phone, 555-123-1234. You can also reach me on LinkedIn (linkedin.com/in/jerryrodriguez).
Thanks again. It's been a pleasure working with you.
More Farewell Letter Samples
If you want to let your current colleagues know about your future plans, you can craft a new job announcement letter or even a retirement letter.
Leave a Good Impression
Your farewell letter is the last big impression you'll leave with the company and your co-workers, so make sure it’s a good one.
This is not the place to mention how unhappy you were, how wronged you feel by management, or how much better you anticipate that your new job will be. Make jokes cautiously—what's funny to one person may not be funny to everyone.