Career Development

How to Write a Goodbye Email When You Leave Your Job

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It’s likely you’ll have many in-person conversations before your last day at your current company. However, writing a goodbye email is an excellent way to call attention to some of the things you most appreciated about your colleagues as well as provide details to help people stay in touch with you.

What is a goodbye email?

A goodbye email is a message you write to your colleagues before leaving an organization. Writing one is considered standard practice once you’ve decided to end your time at your job. Not only is it a polite gesture, it also leaves a good impression on everyone you worked with during your time there.

How to write a goodbye email

Writing a farewell email is not always easy, and that’s usually because of the mixed emotions you may feel about leaving your job. Follow these steps to write a goodbye email when you leave your job:

1. Decide how close you are to the recipient

The first thing to do before you compose a goodbye email is to figure out whether the recipient is one of the people you were closest to at your job or a casual acquaintance. It’s common practice to send goodbye emails to both categories of people, but the tone you use for each group will be different depending on the level of closeness.

When writing an email to someone close, you might bring up relatively specific examples of how that person made your time at work better. For example, ‘I appreciated how you always knew how to cheer me up on stressful days, whether that meant cracking a joke or bringing me my favorite coffee from the shop around the corner.’

If you only worked with someone occasionally, it’s better to bring up statements that are more generalized. Consider something like, ‘Your steadfast belief in me helped me feel more confident about every task I performed during the workday.’

2. Mention the specifics of your departure

As you get into the first part of your goodbye email, greet the person by name and create a simple sentence that informs them that you’re leaving and when. For example, you could say, ‘Hi, Kennedy. As you may have heard, I’m leaving my position as social media manager at Brown Agriculture, and my last day is next Friday.’ Giving this kind of clarity reduces the chances of the recipient feeling uncertain about or surprised by your departure. It also gives them time to make plans to mark your last day, like with a card or dinner.

3. Add positive and honest statements about your colleague and how they influenced your time at work

Although a part of you may feel sad about leaving the workplace, the recipient will likely be upset learning the news, so it’s important to keep the content of the message as upbeat as possible.

Talk about how the person helped you have a more favorable view of your overall time at work. Refrain from saying anything untrue or that doesn’t relate to the working relationship you had with them. Instead, try to use unique examples they might remember.

If you’re close to the recipient, you might say something like, ‘You played a big part in my enjoyment at work. With you as my coworker, I always looked forward to coming into work each day and seeing your welcoming smile.’ And, if you’re not as close to the person, it’s acceptable to say something like, ‘I’ve really enjoyed working with you and getting to know you during my time here.’

The goal with this part of the goodbye email is to make it clear that the person played a definitive role in your positive memories of the workplace. Then, they’ll recognize that you valued them.

4. Show your desire to keep in touch and provide contact details

Once you talk about how the person made your time at the company better, let them know the relationship can continue even though you’re leaving and you’d love to maintain contact. Start by saying something simple, such as, ‘I’d like to stay in touch after my employment ends here, and I hope you’ll want to do the same.’

You can also specify some ways to keep the relationship going outside of work. For example, ‘Let me know when you’re free to grab a coffee, or I’d love to join you for another spin class at the gym.’

After that, let the person know the best way to get in touch with you. That might mean providing your personal email since your work address likely won’t work after you’re gone. Or, provide a phone number if calls or texts are more convenient.

5. Sign off with an appropriate greeting

In the last part of the goodbye email, sign off by saying something like ‘All the best’ or ‘Sincerely,’ and then type your name.

You may need to write multiple goodbye emails throughout your career, even if you don’t change jobs often. If you follow these steps and examples when writing your goodbye email, the task should be easier than you may expect. 

Goodbye email template

Dear [Recipient Name],

As I mentioned to you yesterday, my time at [Company Name] is coming to an end and my last day as [position name] is [Date].

I wanted to take the time to let you know how you helped me have a more favorable experience during my time here. [Insert a positive story or example of a workplace memory, or make a comment regarding the recipient].

Even though I’m leaving, I hope we can stay in touch. You can contact me at [email and/or phone number]. [Add an extra note about activities you’d like to do with your colleague.] Thanks for everything! I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]

Goodbye email example

Dear Harper,

As I mentioned to you yesterday, my time at Harrison Catering is coming to an end and my last day as team leader is Friday, Aug. 12.

I wanted to take the time to let you know how you helped me have a memorable experience during my time here. I’ll never forget how you showed me a more efficient way to clear away used dishes and prepare for the next courses. That was one of the most useful tricks I’ve ever learned, and I’ll certainly use it the next time I host Thanksgiving dinner, if not before!

Even though I’m leaving, I hope we can stay in touch. You can contact me at leesmith48@mailextra.com or 555-555-5555. I’d love to grab a coffee sometime or try that new tapas restaurant downtown. Thanks again for everything! I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,
Alex