Skip to content

Notes to Friends Who Have Lost Their Jobs

Friends and colleagues who have lost their jobs need to hear from us. But it can be challenging to decide what to say, with job loss having so many sides to it: stress, opportunity, rest, disillusionment, freedom, fear, elation. Or all of the above.

Yes, it’s difficult to know what to say, but we must say something that shows we care.

Graphic illustrating how to talk to a friend who has just lost a job. Friends and colleagues who have lost their jobs need to hear from us. Yes, it’s difficult to know what to say, but we must say something that shows we care.


Here are a 10 examples you can adapt when friends, coworkers, clients, and vendors find that their jobs are gone. Send cards, notes, or emails with messages like these:

Dear Dale,
I spoke to Julie last night, and she told me you had lost your job. I am sorry to hear that! Knowing how much you enjoyed your job, I am guessing the loss hurts. Please accept my sympathy.
I would enjoy talking to you about what you are planning next. Please give me a call when you are ready.
Best regards,

Dear Zoe,
When I returned from my vacation and saw your office empty, I was surprised and saddened. Please accept my sympathy. I don’t know how you are feeling about leaving, but I do know change is stressful. I hope everything is going well for you.
I will be thinking about you as you go through this transition.

Hi, Sheng. I was sorry to learn that your job was eliminated in the layoff. I know you were hoping to miss that bullet, and I am sorry it hit you.
You are an extremely talented designer, and I hope this layoff will not shake your confidence. If you need a dose of praise and support, give me a call. I will be glad to tell you how terrific you are, any time.
Take care.

Sweta, I am sorry you lost your job in the recent cuts. It was always a pleasure to work with you, and I will miss seeing you at the Tuesday meetings. You are always positive and professional.
I hope your search for a new position is short and as pleasant as possible!

Hello, Beth. I just received your out-of-office message stating that you have left the company. That is the reason I am using your Comcast address. I don’t know what your situation is, but I wanted to let you know I enjoyed working with you over the past two years.
I wish you much success.
Best wishes,

Dear Victor,
I just heard the sad news! Please accept my condolences. I know how much you wanted to keep that job.
If there is anything I can do to help you land a new position, let me know. I have contacts in the city, and I would be happy to make introductions. Just let me know if you are interested.
Warm regards,

Hi, Zuhair. I just heard you were let go, and I wanted to wish you good luck. I know you were expecting the worst, so the situation was not a surprise. Still, it’s a change, and I hope you will get through it well.
I want to stay in touch. I have made a note in my calendar to call you next month.
Until then,

Dear Amanda,
Rudy told me you left your position last month when the company was sold. I wish you much success in your next endeavor, whatever you choose to do. Your skills are many. You have much to offer your next employer.
Best of luck,

Hi, Fawaz. I just learned you were part of last week’s reduction in force. If there is anything I can do to help you look for a new job, please ask me. I would be happy to recommend you.
I hope you will find a great opportunity that matches your skills.

Dear David,
I am sorry to hear your job was eliminated, and I am hoping this situation turns out to be a wonderful opportunity for you. Although change can be difficult, sometimes changing jobs is the best thing that can happen to us. I trust your future will be bright!

If you email your message, use a subject line such as:

Best of Luck to You, Renee
Wishing You All the Best
Goodbye and Good Luck, Mark!
Sympathy on Your Job Loss
Kendra, Let’s Stay in Touch
Good Luck in Your Job Search

Avoid talking too much about the depressed economy. That kind of news is everywhere. After all, your friend needs only one job–not an entire economy.

Here is a guide for other, general situations when our friends need us to reach out to them, but where we cannot change things to help. I hope you could use it as an aide to write something meaningful when the time calls for it.

Syntax Training

Posted by Avatar photo
By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English.

6 comments on “Notes to Friends Who Have Lost Their Jobs”

  • One thing not to say: “I’m sure something will come along!” as though new jobs materialize out of nowhere. My response to that (as one currently unemployed) is: “Oh? Do you know something I don’t?”

  • Its better to start with good news even if its recession.

    Great to save these templates.

    Whats the best to write for employee left the work for personal reasons not lay-off.


  • I am a member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) and received job postings regularly. A friend of my daughter’s recently lost her job and I sent her the postings as I received them. She sent me a nice email to say she got the job! Now that has a nice ring to it…
    Show people you care by sending opportunities their way. They will appreciate it when your words are followed by helpful actions.

  • Hi, Lynn David Newton. Thanks for cautioning us on being too chipper.

    I wish you much luck in your job search!


  • Hi, Mohammed. If someone leaves a job for personal reasons, just eliminate or replace the phrases about job loss. Mention “your leaving” and wish the person well.

  • Hi, Patricia. Sending people opportunities is a terrific step to take. Thanks for suggesting it.

    As someone who believes networking is the best way to land a job, I also invite people to professional events. I try to help them expand their job-search strategy beyond job listings, resumes, and cover letters. Connecting with others is always a good idea, once someone is ready.

    Thanks again for commenting.

Comments are closed.