How to say farewell to your boss

Most people change jobs in their lifetime and saying goodbye to your boss is often challenging. Whether you are leaving or it is your boss departing the company, it is important to remain professional and positive regardless of your personal feelings or reasons for the change. You and your boss may cross paths again in the future.

If your boss is leaving

Send a greetings card or write a personalised letter to say thank you if your boss is leaving. Many employees opt to send a group card, but taking the time to personalise your own farewell message goes a step beyond a generic goodbye.

Include only positive words based on your relationship or work history. If you are grateful for their mentoring skills or have learned from their management style then construct your message around a compliment. Thank your boss for their leadership and wish them all the best for the future. Keep your message brief and factual. Include your contact details if you would like to keep in touch.

Give your boss the card in person and use the time to shake their hand and reiterate your thanks and best wishes. You may also like to give your boss a small gift.

If you are resigning

Let your boss know your intentions as soon as possible and before any of your colleagues. Check your employment contract first to establish the notice period you are required to give. PR Futures recommends letting your boss know you are resigning in person first. Your boss may be surprised, disappointed or angry so whatever happens, remain calm and polite.

Back up your conversation with a letter citing this as the most important part of the resignation process. Keep it simple and to the point while avoiding negative comments. Include the date you will be leaving and any details you may have of time frames for handing back company property such as a company car, laptop or mobile phone. Type your resignation letter on A4 white paper and hand to your boss in a sealed envelope.

Complete your work contract. This may include performing extra duties such as a handover of your workload to colleagues or your boss. Keep your level of professionalism high at all times so you leave the company as being memorable for all the right reasons. You may need a reference from your boss so remain positive and upbeat until the end.

Take the time to thank your boss in person on your last day. Total Jobs advises refraining from being emotional. Spend some time going through what you want to say in your head and keep it positive.


Never speak negatively about your boss to your colleagues.


If you feel uncomfortable talking to your boss about your plans to leave, ask a member of the HR team to accompany you.

Things You'll Need

  • Farewell card
  • Employment contract
  • A4 white paper
  • Envelope
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About the Author

Jules Halliday is a writer, coach and public speaker with more than 20 years experience of recruitment, training and management in a variety of sectors. Passionate about career and personal development, Halliday is director of TMS Coaching Ltd and founder of All UK Jobsites.