Lorelei Yang
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Wonky consultant with a passion for words

When you're getting ready to leave a job, sending farewell emails to the people you've worked with should be one of the items on your offboarding to-do list. Sending a good farewell email to the people who've contributed to your success at the company and passing on contact information to stay in touch aren't just good manners — there are also concrete benefits to this practice as well. Learn why farewell emails are important and find six templates for the most common types of farewell emails you'll write.

Why should you write a farewell email?

There are three key reasons for sending a farewell email. First, it's just good etiquette. Whether you've been at the job you're leaving for a few weeks or a few years, odds are you've come to like each other and regard each other as friends. Just as you wouldn't leave a party without saying goodbye to your friends, so should you say goodbye to your coworkers before leaving a job. Second, sending a farewell email is a good way to tie up loose ends and ensure that people are on the same page with regard to your transition plan (you can share information about who will take on your tasks and projects after you've left, the location of your important files in your farewell email or information about the handoff plan for processes or systems that you were in charge of). Finally, a farewell email is an opportunity to give your soon-to-be-former colleagues your contact information so you can stay in touch. 

How do you write a farewell message?

1. Make a list of the people you need to send farewell emails to after you've given your two weeks' notice. 

After you give notice, you should start thinking about your transition plan. As part of this, you should start planning out the people who you need to write farewell messages to. At a minimum, think about colleagues, bosses, direct reports and senior team members. If you work with clients or vendors, you should probably also write farewell emails to them. Make a list and consult it a few times over the course of your last two weeks, adding to it if you realize there's anyone you missed in your initial pass-through. 

2. Draft templates for each email type. 

For the sake of efficiency, you probably won't want to write totally new emails for every person you're sending a farewell email to (the key exception to this is if you're at a very small company, in which case you should write individual emails because it's easy enough to do, and odds are you have something personal to say to each person), so you should put together a template for each type of farewell email you plan to send. There are some helpful templates to get you started below.

3. Customize the templates as needed for specific recipients.

If there are specific people you want to say specific things to, tweak the templates for the emails to them or write unique emails for those people. 

4. Send your farewell emails 1-2 days before your last day.

Sending your farewell emails one or two business days before your last day gives people to say goodbye to you, wish you luck in your next steps and ask you any questions that they need to clarify with you before you've left. It also gives your soon-to-be-former coworkers time to react and respond to your leaving. 

5. Be prepared for follow up discussions in person.

Some of your coworkers will certainly seek you out to discuss your departure with you. This is normal and to be expected, so plan on discussing your departure with coworkers after you've sent the emails out, especially if you hadn't discussed your departure with them yet.

6. Thank your coworkers and bosses in person on your last day.

On your last day, it's a nice touch to seek out people to say goodbye face to face.

Templates.

The following six templates cover the major types of farewell emails you may be asked to write. 

Boss (personalized).

Dear [boss' name],

As you know, [insert your last day] is my last day working for [company]. I want to express my appreciation for our time spent working together over the last [length of time you've been at the company]. I've been incredibly lucky to learn from and grow under your tutelage and want to take the time to express my appreciation. 

Your teaching and guidance have been incredibly helpful to me over the course of my time here. Thanks to you, I've been able to grow professionally and learn [things your boss taught you]. 

While I'm sad to be leaving, I hope we'll be able to stay in touch, so please feel free to contact me at (your personal email address). Thank you again for everything.

Best,

[Your full name]

Direct report (personalized).

Dear [direct report's name], 

As we've discussed in crafting my transition plan, [insert your last day] will be my last day working for [company]. Before I leave, I want to personally think you for the time we've spent working together and wrap things up with an email. Getting to work with you and watch you come into your own here has been incredible — I couldn't have asked for a better member of my team, and I know you'll only continue to excel.

While I'm sad to be leaving here, I know that you'll be in excellent hands with [new manager]. 

I hope we'll be able to stay in touch, so please feel free to contact me at [your personal email address]. Again, it's been great to be your manager, and I wish you nothing but the best in the future.

Best,

[Your full name]

Colleagues (generic, for mass distribution).

Everyone,

I'm writing to let you all know that I've accepted an opportunity at a new company, and my last day with [your current employer's name] will be [insert your last day].

Although I'm excited for this next step in my career, I'm also sad to be leaving here. I've enjoyed working with every one of you. If you have any questions about [what you work on], please reach out to [whoever's taking over your job responsibilities] until [expected date of a new hire or, if one isn't known, "someone new takes my current role."]

I'd love to stay in touch. You can reach me at my personal email address, [insert your personal email].

Thank you all again, and best of luck in your future endeavors!

Best,

[Your full name]

Senior team members (personalize).

Hi [Name],

As I know you've heard, I'm leaving [company] on [your last day]. 

Before my departure, I want to reach to and thank you for the time we've spent working together. I really enjoyed learning from and working with you on [things you worked on together]. You've taught me so much about [skills or things the senior team member gave you guidance on]. Working here has been incredible, and you played an integral part in making this a great place to work.

Although I'm excited for this next step in my career, I'm also sad to be leaving here. I hope we'll stay in touch, so please always feel free to reach out. You can reach me at my personal email address, [insert your personal email].

 Best,

[Your full name]

Client (personalize).

Hello [name],

I'm writing with a bit of personal news for you: I'll be leaving [company] on [your last day]. Your new point of contact here will be [name of colleague who will be taking over the client relationship], and I'll send a separate email introducing the two of you.

Before I leave, I wanted to reach out to let you know that I've truly enjoyed working together. It's truly been a pleasure to get to know you over the course of our work together.

Please don't hesitate to reach out if there are any loose ends you'd like me to tie up before I leave — I'd be happy to do so.

Best,

[Your full name]

Vendor (personalize)

Hello [name],

I'm writing with a bit of personal news for you: I'll be leaving [company] on [your last day]. Your new point of contact here will be [name of colleague who will be taking over the vendor relationship], and I'll send a separate email introducing the two of you.

Before I leave, I wanted to reach out to let you know that I've truly enjoyed working together. It's truly been a pleasure to get to know you over the course of our work together.

Best,

[Your full name]

With these six templates, plus the six-step guide to drafting and sending your transition emails, you're well on your way to wrapping up your time at your former employer with grace. With any luck, passing your personal contact information along to your colleagues, bosses and clients will allow you to keep these contacts in your next job.

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Lorelei Yang is a New York-based consultant and freelance writer/researcher. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.