How to Say Goodbye When You're Leaving Your Job

The Best Way to Say Farewell When You're Moving On

Business people walking and talking in office corridor

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You have found a new job and are ready to give two weeks' notice to your current employer. Or you've lost your job. Now you're wondering, what's the best way to say goodbye when you leave a job?

If you are about to resign, your first responsibility is to let your employer know that you are leaving. Take the time to formalize your departure by writing a resignation letter that includes the details of your plan, like the last day you'll be working and how you can be contacted.

It's important to part on good terms. You don't want your boss hearing rumors of your departure through the grapevine.

The next step is to send a farewell message to co-workers to let them know that you are moving on to a new position, starting a job search, retiring, or doing something else with your life. It's appropriate to send an email farewell letter and to include your contact information so you can stay in touch.

How to Say Goodbye When You Leave a Job

Handle your departure as carefully as you would handle any other business endeavor. It's always wise to not burn bridges because you don't know when you will need your past employers for a reference.

Review what to say and how to leave so your departure is polished and professional. If you're not sure what to write in your goodbye letter, review sample resignation lettersresignation email messages, and goodbye letters, then tailor one to meet your circumstances.

Tips for Bidding Farewell to Co-Workers

leaving a job infographic

Once your boss knows you are leaving, it's fine to let your co-workers and colleagues know that you're moving on. Here are tips for saying goodbye.

  • Tell close colleagues in person: It's fine to email or message most people you've worked with. However, have a personal conversation with any co-workers you're close to. This is especially important if your departure is going to have a significant impact on their working life.
  • Connect on LinkedIn: If you're not already connected with your colleagues on LinkedIn, now is an excellent time to add them to your network.
  • Say goodbye via email: Send an email announcement or a LinkedIn message to co-workers you know well, or to your department. You don't necessarily need to send your goodbye note to the entire company, especially if there are thousands of employees. 
  • Keep your message brief and to the point: Do not include a long dissertation on how you hated your job and couldn't stand working for the company. Don't include the fact that you're making oodles of money at the new job, even if it's true. There is no need to criticize or brag. You want to move forward and say farewell in a positive manner.
  • Remember the good times: Mention joint projects you have worked on or special times you've enjoyed together. If you are sending individualized goodbye emails, tailor your message to your relationship with the colleague. This farewell letter is casual and personal, rather than official.
  • Stay in touch: Share personal contact information including your email address and phone number, so your co-workers can stay in touch.
  • Review sample farewell letters for help: Refer to these farewell letters to get an idea of how to say goodbye when you're not sure what to write.

When You Have Been Fired or Laid Off

If you've been fired or laid off, and want to let your co-workers know you're leaving, you can send an even briefer email letter, if you still have company email access.

Let your colleagues know you'll be moving on. Ask for job search assistance, if it's appropriate, and provide your personal contact information so that they can get in touch.

You can also include a link to your LinkedIn profile page. Do not vent or complain in this email even if you are feeling sad, frustrated, or angry about leaving. 

Keep Your Goodbyes Short

In summary, when leaving a position, keep your goodbyes short and sweet. Don't go overboard. There's no need to give out too much information about why you're moving on. Do make sure you notify co-workers that need to know you're leaving, with information on how to get in touch with you after you're gone.

Review Goodbye Letter Examples

Here's a list of goodbye letter examples to say farewell to co-workers, clients, and business contacts to let them know that you have accepted a new job, are retiring, or resigning. There are also letter examples you can send to colleagues, clients, and customers to congratulate them and wish them well as they move on to a new opportunity.