Farewell Letter Saying Goodbye to Colleagues

Woman using laptop
••• Atsushi Yamada / Taxi Japan / Getty Images

When you're leaving your job, it's a smart idea to take the time to send a farewell letter to the colleagues you have worked with. This is a good idea for several reasons. It's a way to keep in touch with your soon-to-be former coworkers, and a way to move on from a job gracefully and professionally.

It's always important to leave a job on good terms. The people you worked with are a valuable part of your network and may be helpful contacts to have in the future.

Regardless of your reason for leaving, it's important to leave on a kind and professional note.

For example, they may be able to help you with your future career in some way, such as providing you with a reference, offering you some job leads if you are searching, or introducing you to someone else you might want to network with.

Along with all these reasons, saying goodbye is simply the polite thing to do.

Tips for Writing a Farewell Letter

Review tips for how to write a farewell letter, what to include in it, what not to say, and when to send it. Also, review examples you can use as starting points for your own letters and email messages.

Tips for writing a farewell letter
Melissa Ling. © The Balance 

When to Send Your Email

Be Sure Management Knows First

Before you let your colleagues know that you're moving on, tell your boss and check to make sure that everyone who needs to know is aware that you have resigned. You don't want your manager to find out through the grapevine that you're leaving.

Send It Before You Leave

Send your email or letter a day or two before you leave. You want to give yourself and your colleagues enough time to say goodbye. However, do not send your letter until you’ve finished most of your work tasks. This will allow you to focus on saying goodbye during the final day or hours.

What to Include in Your Letter

Personalize Your Letter

Consider tailoring each letter to the individual person rather than sending out a group email to everyone. Address each person by name and, if possible, include an anecdote or other personal message reflecting on your time together. It will be more meaningful than sending a mass message.

Only send letters to people you have worked with. Especially if you work at a large company, you do not want to send a message to everyone (unless you worked with all of them).

Say Thank You

This letter is your chance to express gratitude for any help or mentorship provided. You might also express how much you’ve enjoyed working with your colleagues.

Include Your Personal Contact Information

Provide information on how your colleagues can reach you once you leave. Include an email address (a non-work email) and/or your phone number. You might also include your LinkedIn profile address. Remember, you won't have access to your work email system once you've moved on.

Keep It Positive

Again, the goal of the letter is to stay connected with your former coworkers; you do not want to leave a bad impression. Even if you're leaving on bad terms, you don't need to mention it to the people you worked with.

Keep It Short

Write no more than a couple of paragraphs. Along with saying thank you and including your contact information, you might want to mention your plans for the future. However, beyond this, keep it short and to the point.

Start With a Sample Letter

You can use a sample farewell letter or email message to help you write your own goodbye note to coworkers. However, be sure to change the details of the message to fit your particular situation.

Review Sample Farewell Messages

Review sample farewell letters, email message, and subject lines for letting your colleagues know that you're moving on.

Dear John,

I wanted to take a moment to let you know that I am leaving my position at ABC Corporation. I will be starting a new position at XYZ Company next month.

I have enjoyed my tenure here, and I appreciate having had the opportunity to work with you. Thank you for the support, guidance, and encouragement you have provided to me during my time at ABC Corporation.

Even though I will miss my colleagues and the company, I am looking forward to this new challenge and to starting a new phase of my career.

Please keep in touch: I can be reached at my personal email address (samantha83@gmail2.com), on LinkedIn (linkedin.com/samanthasterling) or on my cell phone (555-555-2222).

Thanks again for everything. I wish you all the best.

Yours truly,

Samantha

Sending an Email Farewell Letter

It is often a good idea to send your letter via email. That way your colleagues will receive the message quickly. This will also help you to easily tailor each message to fit the individual recipient.

When you send your farewell message by email, include your name and the reason you're writing in the subject line of the message to help ensure that your email gets opened.

Farewell Message Subject Lines

Here are examples of what you might write:

  • Subject: FirstName LastName – Staying in Touch
  • Subject: FirstName LastName Update
  • Subject: FirstName – Moving On
  • Subject: FirstName Update
  • Subject: News From FirstName LastName
  • Subject: Update From FirstName

If you know the person well, it's fine to include just your first name. Use your first and last name for recipients with whom you only have a professional relationship.

Sample Farewell Email Message

Sample Farewell Email

Subject: Tyrone Garrett – Update

Dear Linda,

I am writing to let you know that I am retiring at the end of the month.

I have so enjoyed working here these past ten years. I am grateful for having had the chance to work alongside you. I will never forget your kindness and professionalism whenever we worked on team projects together.

My wife and I will be moving to Seattle in three months; however, I hope to keep in touch. You can reach me at my email address (tgarrett@email.com) or on my cell phone, 555-555-5555.

Thank you again for a terrific ten years. I wish you all the best and hope to stay in touch.

Sincerely,

Tyrone

Don't Forget to Connect on LinkedIn

If you haven't already, connect with your coworkers on LinkedIn. This will help you stay connected after you leave.

More Ways to Say Goodbye

In addition to saying goodbye to your soon-to-be former colleagues, there are other people you may want to let know you're moving on:

The Best Way to Move On From a Job

Take the Time to Say Goodbye. Regardless of the reason you're moving on, say goodbye to all the people who have supported you at work.

Share Your Contact Information. Include your personal contact information in all the correspondence you send to make it easy for the recipient to stay in touch.

Keep it Concise. Your farewell emails don't have to be lengthy. A couple of paragraphs is plenty.