How to Deliver a Farewell Message and Other Tips for Leaving Your Job Gracefully

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

As you’re preparing to leave your job, discover how to construct a farewell message to your boss, say goodbye to colleagues, and make your transition smoother.

[Featured Image] After writing a farewell message, an employee shakes hands with three smiling colleagues as he prepares to leave his job.

According to the Annual Good Work Index by The Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), one in five workers in the UK expect to leave their jobs in 2022 for various reasons [1]. Whether moving up your career ladder or just needing a change of scenery, there's no better time to make a graceful exit. For a smooth transition when you leave your job, you can use this guide to learn how to deliver a farewell message to your boss, say goodbye to your colleagues, and more. 

Your farewell message to your boss

Transitioning to a new job starts with informing your current boss about your decision. If you need help with the right way to do it, take advantage of these tips:

Notify your boss in person.

When you decide to leave your current job, schedule an appointment to talk with your boss in person. Meeting face-to-face shows proper professional courtesy and lets you say goodbye to your coworkers.

Your notice period may be between a week and three months, but try to give as much notice as possible beyond that. This should allow you to wrap up any outstanding work and give your boss ample time to hire and train (or promote) someone to take your place.

How much detail should you provide about your reasons for leaving your job?

The amount of detail you provide about leaving your job depends on your relationship with your boss. You'll likely feel comfortable providing more detail if you have a friendship. If you have a strained relationship, it's okay to offer a brief explanation like:

  • "I've really valued my time working here, but I'm ready for a change."

  • "My new position gets me closer to my career goals."

  • "I'm looking for a better work-life balance, which I think I can find with my new job."

  • "I just can't pass up the (better pay, flexible hours, chance to work remotely, benefits) my new position offers."

What to do if your boss gets angry.

Thankfully, people promoted to supervisory roles generally know how to behave respectfully. However, occasionally, bosses can feel overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of losing an employee, or they can take a resignation personally. 

If your boss responds angrily, you should end the meeting positively with a response like: "I can see you're upset, but I'd like to focus on making this transition as smooth as possible. Please let me know if I can help train my replacement or if there's anything else I can do."

Write a formal resignation letter.

After your in-person meeting with your boss, you should follow up with a formal resignation through email or in writing. Details to include in a formal resignation letter include:

  • Your plan to resign and your final day of work

  • An expression of appreciation for the job

  • How you can help with the time you have left

  • Farewell wishes 

Example of a formal resignation letter

If you need help writing a letter, you can use this example for inspiration.

[Feature image] Example of a formal resignation letter
Example of a formal resignation letter

Your goodbye message to colleagues

When it's time to say goodbye to coworkers, take advantage of a few tips:

  • Only tell the colleagues you work with regularly that you're leaving, and thank them for their help and support.

  • If you're particularly close to a coworker, tell them about your resignation in person.

  • It's okay to tell other coworkers that you're leaving by email. 

  • Remember to exchange contact details with the coworkers you wish to keep in touch with.

Ways to ensure an easier transition

Leaving a job can be difficult, but there are ways to make the transition easier. Consider these strategies:

Tie up loose ends.

Be open with your boss about projects you're working on and tasks you still need to accomplish. Do your best to meet any urgent deadlines and offer to help brief your replacement on upcoming work. If you have time, help train your replacement to make the transition easier for your coworkers and boss. Even if you can't accomplish everything you hoped for, you can leave your job feeling satisfied if you do your best. 

Stay positive. 

Regardless of your feelings about leaving your job, you can exit positively. You may have friends who still work for the organisation or need a reference or two down the road, so it's best to keep any communication positive and avoid gossip.

Say goodbye to clients, customers, and vendors.

After you've notified your boss and coworkers of your plans, say goodbye to clients, customers, and vendors you encounter before you leave. This will facilitate a positive transition, and one may be a valuable contact in the future. 

Prepare for your next role.

Allow yourself a few days (or even a week) to relax and recharge before you start your new job. A little decompression will allow you to get into the right emotional and mental frame of mind for a new position and start your new role with vigour.

Your next steps

Consider taking the Career Discovery Specialisation on Coursera to ensure success in your next job. Offered by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, USA, this three-course Specialisation delivers information to help you make the most of your current job and advance your career ladder. You'll learn to identify and maximise your strengths and skills, become a better leader, network, find a mentor, and more. You'll walk away with a shareable certificate after completing your coursework. 

Article sources

  1. CIPD. "CIPD Good Work Index 2022," Accessed June 19, 2024.

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