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Farewell Letter: Writing Tips (with Format & Samples)

The time has come for you to write your farewell letter. While there are many reasons you may have to write this letter, they are never easy. For those of you who are asking, what kind of letter this is, that question is more simply answered with a definition.

Farewell letters are professional letters that are written to express gratitude and goodwill toward an organization with which you are parting. This parting may come in many forms, whether it is because of retirement, relocation, a new job offers or illness. While similar to a resignation letter, these letters usually go to co-workers whom you are close with.

Tips on Writing a Farewell Letter

Writing one of these letters is always difficult and emotional. No matter the reasons for parting, it can be difficult. How should you word the letter? How friendly and familiar should you be? Some people even face difficulty wrestling with their emotions and cannot complete their letter. This process can be made easier by doing a few things:

Personalize Your Letter: No matter who your letter is addressed to, you need to make sure that it is tailored to that person. If you are sending a farewell letter to multiple people, make sure that you change your letter continuously rather than sending them each a form letter. Address each person by name and include a personal message in your letter to them. This makes all of the difference when writing a letter to a colleague.

Be Brief: While you need to tailor your letters individually, it is important to note that you need to remain brief. Farewell letters should be no more than two to three paragraphs in length and you need not offer up unnecessary information. Along with thanking the company and your colleagues, you may include your contact information and potential plans for the future, such as where you have accepted a new position or where you will be relocating. Any information outside of this is unnecessary.

Don’t Send a Letter to Everyone: If you work at a large company, it can be tempting to simply send an e-mail out to everyone, thanking them for your time with the company. This is not advised, unless you have personally worked with every person at the company. Make sure to only send letters to colleagues that you have personally interacted with. First of all, this makes the letters more personal. Secondly, it is simply more professional.

Retain Your Coworker’s Contact Information: Whether you connect with your colleagues on LinkedIn or you have their personal phone numbers, it is important that you retain contact information for colleagues with whom you were close. There are several professional reasons for this. The first reason is that many jobs in modern society need to call and verify previous employment with some jobs even requesting you ask a previous supervisor to fill out forms to guarantee the wage you were promised. The second is that having these contacts in the professional world is lucrative. Even if your colleagues move on to different companies or positions, they can provide you with valuable leads on jobs and on the current market that is affecting positions similar to your own.

Use a Guide to Write It: When writing farewell letters, many professionals become emotional and find it difficult to finish their letters. Utilizing a sample letter to help you write your letter can benefit you. First, it can benefit you in that the professional language of the letter is already set. You simply have to add your own voice to it. These guides also keep you on track, rather than allowing you to free-write your thoughts. Sample letters help to keep your message clear, concise, and, overall, professional to make sure that you leave this company on a positive note.

Send the Letter Before You Leave: Ideally, your letter should be sent before you leave. The general time frame to send a farewell letter is one to two days before your departure from the position. Having this time frame will give you and your colleagues time to say your farewells to one another but allow you to complete all of your tasks associated with your job. If you need more time to say goodbye to coworkers, gauge your timeframe appropriately to make sure you are completing the tasks associated with your duties.

What Should I Include in My Letter?

  • All professional letters follow a strict code of conduct for formatting.
  • You will need to include your current contact information or your new contact information, if you have it available, and format the letter with professional headings.
  • You should make sure to include where you will be going next in your career so that coworkers may reach out, if they desire to. While you do not have to share this information, especially if you are parting with the company on a sour note, sharing this information helps colleagues answer questions about your departure (such as why are you leaving and where are you going?). People have a natural curiosity and providing this information in a positive way can help to quell any unnecessary gossip.
  • The last thing that you want to make sure you have done in your farewell letter is to express gratitude. Even if you did not always enjoy your time with the company, it is professional courtesy to thank your colleagues and express your appreciation for their friendship. If your colleagues fell that they are valued, they are more likely to become long-term professional connections for the future.

Farewell Letter Format

“When writing a professional letter of any kind, there is a specific format that you need to follow. The format follows professional writing rules, however, keep in mind that you do not need to include any information that you are not comfortable being public knowledge.

In this day and age farewell letters are mostly sent as e-mails, which is the format that we are going to be following. Mailing your letter follows a slightly different formatting rule and has your contact information above the body of your letter. In an e-mail, we need a subject line.

Subject: Your Name – Moving On, or, alternatively, Thank You

Address: Dear First Name: (Only utilize the first name here to create the sense of familiarity)

Your first paragraph is used to tell them that you are leaving the company. Here, you should write to tell your colleagues where you are going and what your new position will be. Make sure to remain positive and do not mention anything negative about your current employer. Make sure that you mention to them your last day so that they can stop by and say goodbye if they wish to.

The second paragraph should be where you thank everyone. Thank your coworkers in this paragraph. Tell them that you have enjoyed working with them and that you will miss them. If you are writing letters to multiple people within your company, it is a good idea to personalize this for every individual person.

Your third paragraph should include your contact information. This paragraph allows coworkers to reach out to you in the future if they desire. Include your personal e-mail address, your phone number and your LinkedIn URL, if you have one.

The fourth and final paragraph is optional and used more to wrap up the letter. Reiterate you thanks to your coworkers.

Signature:

Yours truly,

Your First Name (Only signing your first name gives it more of a personalized feel rather than signing your full name.)

Sample Farewell Letter/Email

Subject: Cassandra McLean – Moving OnDear John,

I would like to make you aware that I am leaving my position with CBA Corporation on January 11th.

I have enjoyed my time here at CBA and I truly appreciated the opportunity to work with you. Your support and encouragement have provided me with many skills and I want to thank you for taking me under your wing in this company.

I will miss all of my colleagues here at CBA, but I am looking forward to this next phase if my career.

Please Keep in touch. I can be reached at my personal e-mail address, CMcLean@email.com, or via my cell phone, 213-555-1234. I am on LinkedIn and would love to connect with you there, as well (linkedin.com/in/CassieMcLean152).

Thank you, again, for all of your support and encouragement. It has been a pleasure working with you.

Yours Truly,

Cassandra

Types of Farewell Letters

There are many types of farewell letters that you may choose to write when leaving a position. You may choose to write one of the following:

A farewell letter to employees from a manager: This type of letter is written if you are the supervisor and you are leaving your current position. These letters are more likely to be sent en masse rather than be personalized, due to the number of employees they may be trying to reach with one letter.

A farewell letter to colleagues: This letter is written when you are saying farewell to your former coworkers. This can include coworkers that you are not friendly with outside of a work setting and is generally more professional rather than personal. These letters are sent to people that you have directly worked with in some capacity.

A farewell letter to a friend: This letter is sent to a coworker with whom you are close. Whether they were your assistant, office mate, or cubicle neighbor, these letters are sent to the employees with who you have the best relationship. These letters should be more personalized and include more anecdotal information than others.

A farewell letter to the employees: These letters are sent to the entire staff, normally, including ones that you do not interact with. These are the e-mails that you see sent to everyone on the office list. They are less personal and more about professing professional gratitude and leaving the doors open for communication in the future.

A farewell letter to a boss: These letters are written after you have turned in your resignation. They express gratitude for your opportunity and are usually only written if you are familiar with your boss. These letters are not a requirement with your resignation letter but are utilized to make sure there are no hard feelings upon your leaving.